What is Ankylosing Spondylitis?

Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) is one of many forms of chronic inflammatory and degenerative arthritis, affecting the spine A.S. especially affects the joints between the vertebrae of the spine and the joints between the spine and the pelvis (sacroiliac joints). It may also affect other joints of the body. The joints are initially inflamed and this may be followed by progressive stiffness and inflexibility.

Ankylosing Spondylitis is commonly misspelled as ankylosing spondyliti, anyklosing spondylitis, ankylosing spondylitiis, ankylosig spondylitis, ankyllosing spondylitis. Ankylosing Spondylitis is called as achalatakarak kasherukashoth in Hindi and akyanna aleli suja in Marathi. It eventually leads to the fusion of the spine, giving permanent painful stiffness of the back. It is often called bamboo spine, as the spine tends to get stiff like a bamboo. This condition is more common in males as compared to females and usually occurs in individuals between 16-40 years of age.
Ankylosing spondylitis can briefly be summarized as under:
  • Ankylosing spondylitis belongs to a group of arthritis conditions which tend to cause chronic inflammation of the spine as well as degeneration.
  • Ankylosing spondylitis is a cause of back pain in adolescents and young adults.
  • The tendency to develop Ankylosing spondylitis is genetically inherited.
  • The HLA-B27 gene can be detected in the blood of most patients with aS.
  • Ankylosing spondylitis can also affect eyes, heart, lungs, and occasionally the kidneys
  • The optimal treatment of Ankylosing spondylitis involves medications that reduce inflammation or suppress immunity, physical therapy, and exercise.
  • Homeopathy offers encouraging results, significant disease control, and pain relief. .

The site of disease:

The sacroiliac joints are located in the low back where the sacrum (the bone directly above the tailbone) meets the iliac bones (bones on either side of the upper buttocks). Due to chronic inflammation in these areas, there are symptoms like pain and stiffness of the spine. As this condition is chronic one with time this leads to fusion of the vertebrae i.e. complete cementing together of vertebrae.

This process is known as Ankylosis. Due to this condition, there is a loss of mobility if spine. The stiffness could eventually be very severe making the spine resembling a bamboo. Hence it is also called a bamboo spine.

Ankylosing spondylitis can affect other tissues throughout the body. It can cause inflammation in or injury to other joints away from the spine, as well as other organs, such as the eyes, heart, lungs, and kidneys.