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Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is a progressive autoimmune disease and is a type arthritis that creates inflammation and subsequent swelling between the spine and large joints. The term Ankylosing spondylitis is derived from ankylosing, or hardening, of the ligaments and tendons where they attach to the bone (enthesis). AS is a systemic disease, in that it affects the whole body. AS occurs three times more frequently in young white males than women or other ethnic groups.
Causes of ankylosing spondylitis
The medical literature states that the exact cause of AS is unknown. There is a genetic component, as well as possibly a bacterial infection component. Some suggest that AS starts when the body’s intestinal defenses are lowered during an infection, allowing bacteria to pass from the intestines into the blood stream and settle in the spinal area.
Patients with AS who gradually overstretch the ligaments of the low back and the pelvis as a result of repeated injuries such as during athletics, or work requiring duties that can cause back injury, may gradually start to experience low back problems in the 20s and 30s, with a typical onset under age 40 . If the overstretched ligaments are not treated and “tightened,” the symptoms may last for months or years (gradual onset and duration greater than three months).
Symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis
Early symptoms include back pain and stiffness in the middle part of the spine or the entire spine, typically around the age of 23. Usually the diagnosis doesn’t occur until 8-10 years after the onset of symptoms because those symptoms are not specific just to AS. Patients with ankylosing spondylitis usually suffer from moderate to severe stiffness and pain in the low back (morning stiffness), which will improve during the day with activities (better with exercise). However, pain is often severe even at rest.
It is well documented in the medical literature that an individual who presents with the symptoms, without suffering any trauma to the lower back, has an 80 percent chance of having the diagnosis of ankylosing spondylitis:
- onset under age 40
- gradual onset
- duration of low back pain over three months
- morning stiffness and better with exercise
Diagnosis and treatment of Anklyosing spondylitis
AS is typically treated with physical therapy and exercise prescriptions, in combination with anti-inflammatory medications. The goal is to use therapies that reduce inflammation, pain, and stiffness. More aggressive medications include immunosuppressive drugs, tumor necrosis factor-alpha blockers, and anti-interleukin-6 inhibitors. Some AS patients end up having surgery in the form of joint replacements, especially in the knees and hips.
How Comprehensive Prolotherapy can treat ankylosing spondylitis
Ankylosing spondylitis is a condition that requires a comprehensive treatment approach. First and foremost, a natural medicine evaluation should be performed where the patient is assessed for food allergies, presence of infection, low hormone levels, and other tests that may determine why the body is attacking itself. After that assessment has been completed and addressed with changes in diet, elimination of food allergies, and the addition of supportive supplements or medications, then the spine, joints, and ligaments and tendons can be addressed with Prolotherapy. Prolotherapy stimulates the body to repair the painful, injured area(s) and helps the body repair itself. Prolotherapy can be given to the joints and spinal area(s) that have become lax over time and help the AS patient live a more pain-free life!