Ankylosing spondylitis – Overview, complications, symptoms, and home remedies

Ankylosing spondylitis, also known as Bechterew disease, is a form of arthritis that affects the spine and other joints. It is a rare condition that causes severe inflammation of the spinal cord and can lead to the fusing of smaller bones in the vertebrae. This fusing is an excruciating process and can cause extreme discomfort and pain as it results in a forward hunched position. In certain cases, it even affects the ribs, leading to difficulty in breathing.

The condition starts in the lower back in the sacroiliac joints, where the spine is connected to the pelvis. It then slowly moves upwards and affects tendons and ligaments that attach the bones.

Complications due to ankylosing spondylitis

The disorder can lead to many complications, including inflammation and pain throughout the body. Although the disorder affects many parts of the body, these are more vulnerable than the rest:

  • Spine: While fusing of the bones in the spine is a common symptom, in rare cases, the bones in the spine may also become weak. This makes them more prone to fractures or breakage. Fractures can cause pressure on the nerves leading to damage. This damage can cause trouble controlling the bladder and bowels, loss of reflexes, and more.
  • Eyes: Many individuals who suffer from the condition have uveitis. This condition is characterized by inflammation in the eye, resulting in blurred vision and sensitivity to light.

Other complications of ankylosing spondylitis include cancer, enlargement of the heart valve, and more. Men and women with the disorder are also prone to bone and prostate cancer. It also causes heart and lung damage and can lead to difficulty in breathing and poor lung function if the inflammation spreads to the ribs.

Signs and symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis

Individuals who are suffering from the disorder will experience pain and stiffness in their lower back. Neck pain and fatigue are also common. Other common areas of pain include:

  • The base of the spine
  • Tendons and ligaments that attach the bones
  • Cartilage in the breastbones and ribs
  • Hips and shoulders

Other common symptoms include:

  • Fatigue
  • Anemia
  • Weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Decreased lung function
  • Trouble breathing and swallowing
  • Bad posture and morning stiffness

Home remedies for ankylosing spondylitis

There are a wide range of home remedies available to treat the disorder. They are:

  1. Exercise: Exercising is important for staying healthy and helps to ease the symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis. It helps strengthen joints and stay flexible. It is best to consult a physical therapist to ensure one is doing the exercises correctly and safely.
  2. Stretching: Another important element for ensuring your joints stay healthy and flexible is stretching. This ensures that there is less pain and free movement.
  3. Posture training: The disorder is known to affect the posture of an individual. The bones in the spine begin to fuse, leading to a hunch in the vertebrae. But, this can be reduced by practicing proper posture. One must Keep reminders to ensure that they are correcting their posture regularly and using support devices.
  4. Acupuncture: Another excellent method of treating this disorder is acupuncture. It has been shown to reduce the symptoms by increasing blood flow throughout the body and releasing pain-relieving hormones in the body.
  5. Massage therapy: One of the best ways to treat the disorder at home is massage therapy. Massages are one of the most relaxing experiences that help with movement, flexibility, and pain by increasing blood flow throughout the body.