Did you know?
- Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is the most common type of spondylo arthritis.
- Up to 50% of all patients with ankylosing spondylitis may have osteoporosis (Where bones break easily)
- AS affects young males — Symptoms start late teens to early 20s, with the avg. age of onset being 24
- The current avg. delay to diagnose AS is 8.5 years (from when symptoms start), by which irreversible damage to the spine may have occurred
What are the types of spondyloarthritis?
1) Axial spondyloarthritis (Symptoms affect axial joints like chest, spine & hip bone)
a. Ankylosing spondylitis (AS)
b. Non-radiographic axial spondyloarthritis (nr ASpA)
2) Peripheral spondyloarthritis (Symptoms affect peripheral joints like fingers, knees & toes)
- Psoriatic arthritis (PsA)
- Enteropathic arthritis (EnA) — Arthritis associated with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
- Reactive arthritis (ReA)
- Acute anterior uveitis (AAU)
- Juvenile spondyloarthritis (JSpA)
- Undifferentiated spondyloarthritis (USpA)
What are the stages of ankylosing spondylitis?
- Early stage — Inflammation of joints without hardening of elastic tissue
- Advanced stage — Hardened elastic tissue lead to fused joints (bamboo spine on x-ray)
Causative & Risk factors
What are the causative & risk factors of ankylosing spondylitis?
Although the exact cause of spondyloarthritis isn’t clear. Your risk may be higher if you:
- Are a young male
- Have a family member with spondyloarthritis
- Are of Alaskan, Siberian Eskimo, / Scandinavian Lapps descent
- Test positive for the HLA-B27 gene
- Have frequent bacterial infections in your gut
- Have another inflammatory condition, such as psoriasis / inflammatory bowel disease
Reactive arthritis — Only type of spondyloarthritis known to be triggered by a bacterial infection. It most commonly results after chlamydia / a food-borne infection
Signs & Symptoms
What are signs & symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis?
- Main symptoms of spondyloarthritis — Pain, stiffness, & swelling
Symptoms depend on the type of spondyloarthritis:
- Ankylosing spondylitis — Pain often starts in the buttocks & lower back. It may spread to the chest & neck. Tendons & ligaments may also be involved. In rare cases, AS will impact the heart & lungs
- Enteropathic arthritis — Pain in the spine, arms, & leg joints. It may also cause bloody diarrhoea & abdominal pain due to inflammatory bowel disease
- Psoriatic arthritis — Pain in the neck & spine
- Reactive arthritis — Inflammation of spinal joints, urinary tract, the joints, & the eyes
- Juvenile arthritis — Pain in the pelvis, hips, ankles, & knees. Also causes fatigue
- Undifferentiated arthritis — Symptoms similar to AS (includes pain in the lower back, buttocks, & heels)
3 clinical stages of ankylosing spondylitis include:
- 1st stage — Patients are symptomatic (chronic low backache) but there is no evidence of joint involvement on x-rays (“radiographic evidence”). MRI may show abnormalities in this early stage
- 2nd stage — Joint involvement, particularly in the sacroiliac joints is visible on x-rays. Along with the symptoms of AS, these features make AS easily diagnosed at this stage
- 3rd stage — Joint damage is irreversible. Appearance of bamboo on x-rays (“bamboo spine”). The presence of bamboo spine increases a person’s risk of fractures in the vertebrae
What happens if ankylosing spondylitis is left untreated?
- Uveitis — Inflammation that spreads to your eyes may cause pain, sensitivity to light, & blurred vision
- Difficulty breathing — Rigid joints in your ribs & breastbone may prevent you from breathing normally
- Fractures — Damaged, weakened bones fracture easily which may result in damage to your spinal cord & the nerves around it
- Heart damage — Inflammation that spreads to your heart can cause an inflamed aorta. A damaged aortic valve may impair your heart’s ability to function properly
- Osteoporosis — People with ankylosing spondylitis have weakened bones. Half of all patients with ankylosing spondylitis almost have osteoporosis. These weak, fragile bones give way to osteoporosis, a condition that raises your risk of spinal fractures.
How to diagnose spondyloarthritis?
Your homeopathic doctor may suspect you have spondyloarthritis based on your symptoms, medical history, & a medical exam. The condition may be confirmed with:
- Sacroiliac joints X-ray in the pelvis
- Magnetic resonance imaging
- check for the HLA-B27 gene through blood test.
Homeopathic over Allopathic
What are the advantages of homeopathic medicines over allopathic treatment?
Possible side-effects of allopathic treatment
Advantages of homeopathy
Symptomatic treatment (NSAIDs)
Immune modulators (Biologics & DMARDs)
Surgical interventions (Joint replacement, arthrodesis & synovectomy)
* Treatment results may vary from person to person
Treatment at Drs Homeo International
Identify root causes & eliminate them with constitutional treatment
Natural oral medicines (Dilutions, tissue salts & mother tinctures) & ointments
Holistic approach — We focus on identifying
the exact root cause of arthritis & then treat the patient as a whole.
A detailed history of medical, genetical, lifestyle,
work, home environment, emotional well-being & causative factors are
taken into account to select the most appropriate constitutional medicine
which stimulates your body’s own healing ability that eliminates the root cause
Mind-fullness — Patients should be extremely attentive to diagnose
AS early because the interval between the first symptoms & diagnosis may take, on average, 4-9 years
1) Foods to eat (Natural anti-inflammatory diet):
- Fruits & vegetables — They contain vitamins, minerals, & phytochemicals (natural chemicals that are found in some plant foods) to help you fight joint pain & inflammation. Berries, cherries, grapes, & peppers are some fruits & veggies that may have anti-inflammatory effects
- Beans — Black beans & kidney beans may help fight inflammation in the body
- Omega-3 fatty acids — Essential fatty acids that can help reduce inflammation & RA-related pain. Naturally found in salmon, flaxseed, walnuts, & olive oil
- Herbs & spices — Adds a lot of flavour & have anti-inflammatory benefits without adding calories. Try seasoning your food with spices such as curry, ginger, & turmeric (Turmeric contains curcumin, a compound that can help protect joints from inflammation)
- Nuts / Seeds — Nuts are full of protein, fiber & monounsaturated fats, which help fight inflammation
- Lean protein — Essential at every meal because it gives you energy to fuel your day. Examples of lean protein are boneless, skinless grilled chicken, fish, & nuts. Since fatigue is a common rheumatoid arthritis symptom, adding more protein to your diet is essential
- Vitamin D diet — Get more vitamin D in your diet by eating salmon, eggs, & mushrooms. Many brands of milk, yogurt, orange juice, & breakfast cereals are also fortified with vitamin D
- Whole grains — Brown rice, whole grain pasta, & whole grain bread, give you the energy you need to get through your day. Try replacing white rice, pasta, & bread with the whole grain versions
- Green tea — Has substances in it that may be helpful in reducing RA-associated inflammation
A 2003 study — To support the idea that omega-3s decrease RA symptoms & omega-6s aggravate them, a 2003 study looked at the anti-inflammatory effects of a low arachidonic acid diet (a diet low in omega-6 fatty acids), as well as fish oil in patients with RA. Researchers found that a diet low in arachidonic acid reduces inflammation in patients with RA. Patients who ate an anti-inflammatory diet, which included taking fish oil, had a major decrease in tender, swollen joints
2) Foods to avoid (Foods that cause inflammation):
The foods below may exacerbate pain & other rheumatoid arthritis symptoms. Pay attention to how your body reacts to these foods. You may need to limit them in your diet to help you cope with RA.
- Omega-6 fatty acids — Omega-6 fatty acids which promotes inflammation & are found in highly processed foods, full-fat dairy foods, & red meat
- Foods that contain aspartame — Chemicals found in this man-made sweetener can trigger the neurons in your brain & increase pain perception. Aspartame is found in soft drinks, ice cream, bubble gum & mints
- Highly processed foods — Fast foods & foods that contain monosodium glutamate (MSG) / nitrates (both are chemicals used as flavour enhancers) can aggravate RA symptoms. Diets high in refined sugar, frozen dinners & asian foods contain MSG, while lunch meats & hot dogs can contain nitrates
- “Nightshade” vegetables — Includes eggplant, potatoes, & tomatoes. These vegetables are very nutritious, but they can trigger rheumatoid arthritis flare-ups
- Foods that contain high-purines — Seafood, red wine, & meats, can trigger a gout flare-up. Vegetables & other plant foods that contain high levels of purines do not appear to exacerbate gout symptoms
3) Guidance for supplementation — Fish oil capsules may ease morning stiffness. Vitamin C boost your immune system & helps deals with RA symptoms.
4) Regular exercise in moderation — Regular, low-impact exercise is the golden ticket when it comes to living well with both RA & OA.
5) Sleep — Aim to sleep a minimum of 8 hours every night. Maintain a sleep rhythm with a daily schedule.
6) Yoga poses — Surya Namaskar; Bitilasana; Marjaiasana; Supta Matsyendrasana; Setu Bandha Sarvangasana; Adho Mukha Shvanasana; Anjaneyasana; Balasana.
Note: Yoga poses are not recommended in pregnancy.
7) Stress management — Stress can exacerbate RA symptoms & there are numerous stress management techniques. Some common ones are deep breathing & meditation.
8) Manage occupational risks — Jobs that involve a lot of repetitive motion can be hard on your joints. Talk to your doctor about ways to reduce your OA risk if your job involves a lot of kneeling, lifting, twisting, walking etc.,
*** Constitutional homeopathic treatment, along with these diet & lifestyle changes, can work wonders in treating arthritis & controlling the symptoms
Why Drs Homeo?
At Drs Homeo, we have treated ankylosing spondylitis patients effectively with a success rate of 94%. Pie diagram — Cured (94%); No significant change (5%); No change at all (1%)
How can backache be prevented?
There are a number of ways to help prevent tennis elbow, including:
- Make sure you’re using the right equipment & proper technique for each sport / task
- Performing exercises that maintain the strength & flexibility of the forearm
- Icing your elbow following intense physical activity
- Resting your elbow if it’s painful to bend / straighten your arm
If you take these steps & avoid putting strain on the tendons of your elbow, you can lower your chances of getting tennis elbow / prevent it from coming back.