Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is a type of arthritis that affects the spine. This chronic disease is caused due to inflammation of the joints in the spine and usually affects young men. It causes the vertebrae to grow or fuse together, causing a rigid spine. Actually, it affects the discs in between the vertebral column. These discs get swollen, causing a limitation of spine motility. It is an autoimmune disorder and its symptoms are lower back pain and stiffness, which usually moves to the legs.
- The deformity due to AS can be mild or severe. In extreme cases, the patient gets a stooped spine.
- Early diagnosis can prevent significant deformity as well as help in controlling the pain and stiffness.
- Allopathy doesn’t really know the real reasons for this disease and here is where Ayurveda scores.
- According to Ayurveda, AS is caused due to aggravated vata or wind, which causes an imbalance in vata dosha.
Ayurvedic treatment starts with detoxification and elimination of toxins. It relies heavily on the right diet and lifestyle as well as Ayurvedic herbal preparations. The panchakarma techniques called kati vasti, sarvangadhara and patrapinda svedana are very beneficial too. The basic explanation for the disorder is that AS occurs due to an accumulation of ama or toxins in the body. Where ever ama deposits in the body, pain is caused. Ayurvedic treatments aim at digesting the ama by using herbs as medicine and balancing the aggravated vata.
- Herbs used in the treatment of AS are dry ginger (saunth), guggul, turmeric, fenugreek, ashwagandha and giloy. Gugul, curcumin, amlaki, haritaki, and ashwagandha are all very effective in treating AS.
- Avoid getting constipated and ensure proper evacuation of bowels.
- Include ghee in your diet for lubrication and for lowering the vata dosha.
- Apply heat on the affected areas to control the pain and stiffness.
- Eat light foods and strictly avoid oily foods and curd which increase ama.
- Avoid sleeping during the daytime.
- Yoga asanas like pawana muktasana, bhujangasana, dhanurasana, paschimottanasana and vakrasana should be practised regularly.
- The practice of pranayamas such as and shodhana, chandrabhedi sheethali and bhramari also helps.
- Chewing 2–3 raw garlic buds on an empty stomach in the morning with water helps in alleviating lumbar pain in AS.
- Use a powdered preparation of dried ginger root, celery seeds and cumin seeds in equal quantities with rock salt for taste, and have one teaspoon of this mixture with warm water at bedtime to reduce flatulence as well as lumbar stiffness. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult an ayurveda.