Ankylosing spondylitis is an inflammatory disease that causes some bones of the spine to fuse. This fusion of bones makes the spine less flexible and results in hunched postures. When ribs get affected, it can affect the breathing of a person deeply. The early signs of ankylosing spondylitis include stiffness in lower back and hips, which is also accompanied by pain. The most commonly affected areas are- joint between base of spine and the pelvis; vertebrae in lower back; cartilage between the breastbone and ribs; hips and shoulders, etc.
According to Ayurveda, Ankylosing spondylitis falls under the category of Ama Vata and is primarily caused due to the imbalance in the Vata and Kapha dosha. This further affects the pitta dosha which encourages the condition.
The treatment of Ankylosing spondylitis in Ayurveda comprises of diet modifications, lifestyle changes, stress management, intake of herbal medications and Ayurvedic therapies, yoga asanas, pranayama and meditation; that help body to get back normal and in syncing all the functions in the body. Based on the symptoms a person is having, the above therapies are also accompanied with dhanyamla dhara, podikkizhi, ilakkizhi and oil massage with a steam bath. All these therapies balance the vitiated doshas and reversing the symptoms of Ankylosing spondylitis.
Treatment focuses on balancing the irritated doshas, strengthening the spine and neurological system, and increasing immunity in the early stages. Good outcomes are attainable with prompt treatment. Panchakarma, in combination with tailored herbal remedies, can also aid in the strengthening of the nervous system and spinal column.
Chronic stage - With the help of special Panchakarma therapies, treatment for the advanced stage includes multiple remedial aspects that work simultaneously in strengthening the joints of the spinal column as well as the back and hip muscles, balancing aggravated Vata dosha, and rejuvenating the asthi and majja dhatu. Treatment takes longer at this stage than it does at the earlier stages.
According to Ayurveda, the damaged joints are the result of a Kapha dosha imbalance. It can be found in classical ayurvedic writings, albeit it does not specify which one. Inflammation and degradation of the joints occur as a result of this disorder, leading to a progressive loss of mobility. Other doshas, such as Vata and Pitta, will be stressed by the discomfort, resulting in muscular spasms and general weakness. There may be a sense of coolness in vulnerable regions such as the hands and feet as a result of Vata aggravation. Due to the intense coldness reported by certain patients, Ayurveda refers to this as an increase in 'Vata-Agny.'
According to Ayurvedic medicine, everyone is predisposed to particular ailments depending on their physical and mental "design" as a result of their parents' activities (karma). This results in a dosha imbalance, which appears as changes in one or more areas of personality, body type, physical attributes, thinking style, conduct, and even illness propensity. These imbalances, according to Ayurveda, can be repaired through a procedure known as 'Prakriti-Vighat.' Patients are offered supplements such as herbal medications and meals throughout this phase. These factors work together to improve health while also reducing the aggravation of any existing disorders. Three techniques are thought to be effective in controlling AS:
Due to cartilage deterioration, most individuals with AS have weak joints in their hips and lower spine, which can cause inflammation and discomfort. This illness is linked to a disordered Kapha dosha, according to Ayurvedic medicine (primary tissue of bone). A Kapha imbalance can result in general weariness (muscle weakness) as well as muscular spasms that produce stiffness or deformity. These causes combine to cause decreased mobility; however, further information on how Ayurveda addresses these symptoms is available.
As I previously stated, nutrition and exercise are equally vital in the Ayurvedic treatment of AS (assuming no other health issues) since they help the bodily systems run more efficiently. This will help to alleviate Vata dosha aggravation by helping the body to conduct normal processes more effectively and efficiently, minimizing joint and muscle inflammation. Healthy eating is referred to in Ayurvedic words as 'Rakta-Shringanashana,' or cleansing for blood problems. During this time, patients are required to follow particular dietary guidelines based on their constitutional type.
To ensure that symptoms resolve fast, the diet should be adjusted on a regular basis in accordance with particular criteria laid out in traditional ayurvedic literature like the Charaka Samhita. This includes reducing or eliminating hot and black pepper intake (particularly if the patient had a severe episode), as well as introducing foods rich in Kapha dosha, such as fish, yoghurt, ghee, rice (in moderation), honey, dates, cinnamon spice, and so on.
“The ayurvedic approach of disease looks for the root cause and not merely the symptoms. The basic principles of Ayurveda consider an individual human a specific identity and hence his treatment giving importance to the treatment of the patient rather than the treatment of the disease.”
“Since Ayurveda focuses on the root-cause of the disease, it effectively reduces the risk of severe health complications arising out of the untreated underlying cause. Patients who complete their Ayurveda treatment have a reduced risk of health complications later.”
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