When typically presented, ankylosing spondylitis is a chronic inflammatory arthritis that mainly affects sacro-iliac joints and spine. There is progressive stiffening and fusion of vertebrae.
The reason to consider this disease on priority is that with the increase in sedentary habit, this problem is increasing in younger population, right in their twenties and thirties. However, the reason behind this type of spondylitis is the histocompatibility antigen HLA-B27. Some Indian communities typically show high prevalence of this disease. Inflammatory foci in the vertebral column lead to fibrous deposits in the intervertebral discs leading to new bone formation (called syndesmophytes). This is the characteristic feature of this disease upon investigation.
Signs and Symptoms of Ankylosing Spondylitis-
(1) Recurrent episodes of low back pain and stiffness are the prime features.
(2) The pain may radiate to buttocks or thighs.
(3) There might be involvement of upper (thoracic and/or cervical) spine too but usually the lumbar and sacral stiffness occur earlier than upper spine involvement.
(4) If there is involvement of costo-vertebral joints, chest pain is the presenting symptom.
(5) Many patients develop tendonitis and fasciitis (plantar) over a period of time.
(6) Restriction of movements of vertebral column in all directions is visible.
(7) Characteristically, the pain is aggravated in the morning immediately after getting up and is better as the activity level increases during the day.
(8) Extra-articular features like iritis (inflammation of iris), pulmonary fibrosis occur is critical cases.
(9) Osteoporosis may be a sequel too.
Radiological investigation is must to diagnose a case of ankylosing spondylitis. But it is extremely crucial for a homeopath to collect the totality of symptoms and the characteristic symptoms, as there are high chances of labeling the common symptoms of the disease as characteristic and missing on to homeopathic remedial diagnosis.
Homeopathic medicines useful for ankylosing spondylitis—
As usual, homeopathic treatment must be based on individual case-history and not on the diagnosis of the case. The pain-relief should be the topmost agenda. The medicines like Bryonia, Rhus tox, Bellis perennis, Paris q, Lachnanthes, Calcarea phos, Kali carb, Hypericum, Ledum pal, Kali phos, Kalmia, Phytolacca, etc can be used for acute prescribing. It is absolutely must to know the physical characteristic symptoms, the aggravating and ameliorating factors, and associated symptoms of the patient to formulate acute prescription for him.
The family history of ankylosing spondylitis should trigger bells for a homeopath to take precautionary measures and preventing steps in any probable cases. This is one of the crucial points for a homeopath to be able to prevent the disease before it locates itself and creates further complications.
The syphilis and tubercular miasms dominates Ankylosing spondylitis. Therefore, one can base their homeopathic prescription upon the miasmatic diagnosis too. The ability of a physician to take note of miasmatic disposition and prescribe accordingly is one of the key factors that can save the patient from developing complications.
(1) Exercise- This is the primary line of treatment for any type of spondylitis prior to medicine. Let’s make it clear that without physical exercise, no patient of ankylosing spondylitis can feel better in long run. Therefore, it is every homeopaths duty to educate the patient about certain exercises those will help them avert further damage to their spine. Some yoga postures are tremendously beneficial for these patients.
(2) Non-contact sports like swimming are highly effective too.
(3) Posture training is must. Avoiding bad postures while at work can contribute to a great extent in the patients as well as in those who want to permanently keep this disease at bay!