Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is an inflammatory disease that affects the sacroiliac joints in the lower back in between the spine and pelvis.
Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is an inflammatory disease that affects the sacroiliac joints in the lower back in between the spine and pelvis.
Hydrotherapy is the use of water to revitalize, augment and restore health. Hydrotherapy is a generic term for any type of therapy that involves the use of water to treat illness, manage pain, or relieve stress. Taking a shower or bath are the simplest forms of hydrotherapy and others would include sauna therapy, whirlpools, wraps, and foot baths.
By increasing the blood circulation in the body by using different temperatures it will stimulate the immune and nervous systems to assist in the healing of injured or tight muscles, energize the whole body and relax the mind. The temperatures utilized are important.
The alternation between hot and cold water will stimulate circulation, lessen pain, speed recovery time, and eliminate waste products from the body. Depending on what temperatures are utilized you could choose what outcome you experience. For instance, cold hydrotherapy is known to invigorate the senses and enhance the mind, while using hot hydrotherapy it is known to augment relaxation and encourage sleep.
There are many benefits to each specific type of hydrotherapy, but in general one can expect to experience:
If you are pregnant it is advised not to take hot baths. If you have any heart condition it would be wise to check with your doctor prior to engaging in this healing modality. Please be mindful that hot hydrotherapy treatments can lower blood pressure and should be limited to no longer than 15-20 minutes at a time.
Hydrotherapy is a wonderful way to relax muscular tension, ease pain and enhance the elimination of wastes from the body. It is a relatively economical way to engage in a healing modality right in your own home for the cost of some water and any additives you may choose to use like Epsom salts, aromatherapy or bath teas, all of which enhance the hydrotherapy experience.
We all know how important a varied diet is to our overall health but sometimes even good eating habits can use a little boost. Fortunately that’s where supplements come in.
Supplements exist in a variety of shapes and sizes from pills and powders to beverages and bars. Contents run the gamut from vitamins and minerals to herbs and enzymes to fish oils, probiotics and more.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, use of dietary supplements increased by over ten percent from 42 percent in the late 1980s to mid 1990s to 53 percent by 2003-2006.
Different supplements provide different benefits. Folic acid, for example, is important for pregnant women to take as it can lessen the chance of birth defects while calcium and vitamin D can help encourage bone health. Multivitamins which contain at least three vitamins are the most commonly taken supplement though many vitamins and minerals can also be purchased individually.
Supplements are not strictly limited to vitamins and minerals, however. Echinacea is an herb many swear by to help lessen cold symptoms and duration of illness. Fish oil can usually be found in a softgel tablet and may help with heart health. Probiotics may assist in improving digestive issues.
Benefits of supplements vary depending on the type and its designated purpose. It is important to note that the best way to meet daily nutritional needs is through a healthy diet featuring a variety of foods. When eating habits fall short, however, supplements can provide a useful nutritional edge.
Just because supplements can be purchased over the counter doesn’t mean buyers shouldn’t do their homework. Some can interfere with medications or increase the chance of bleeding.
Many are water soluble with extra amounts simply being excreted but a few exist that are not and can build up in the body to dangerously high levels. In addition, some foods like cereals and breads are fortified with extra vitamins and minerals so beware how much is being ingested through the daily diet before beginning supplementation.
Also, it’s important to keep in mind supplements are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration in the same way over-the-counter medications are and are not intended to actually prevent or treat diseases. To ensure the supplement contains what it says it contains (and not harmful contaminants), look for the seals of approval from U.S. Pharmacopeia, NSF International or ConsumerLab.com.
If in doubt be sure to discuss use of supplements with a medical professional.
While there is no substitute for a healthy diet, supplements can be useful for a variety of purposes including providing a nutritional benefit and addressing a specific issue like building stronger bones or fighting a cold.
Ankylosing spondylitis is an inflammatory disease that affects the joints (called the sacroiliac joints) in the lower back in between the spine and pelvis.
It is an inflammatory arthritis that particularly affects younger people, predominantly males, between the ages of 20 and 40.
Ankylosing spondylitis is an inflammatory disease that affects the joints (called the sacroiliac joints) in the lower back in between the spine and pelvis. These joints over time often become swollen and inflamed. One potential complication of this condition is that the spinal bones can fuse together.
This is a form of inflammatory arthritis that particularly affects younger people, predominantly males, between the ages of 20 and 40. Common symptoms include worsening lower back pain in the absence of trauma; others include stiffness, and decreased ability to bend forwards.
In addition to the spine, other organs of the body that can be affected by ankylosing spondylitis include the eyes, aorta, and the lungs. Remember that because this is an inflammatory condition, body areas other than just the spine can be involved.
In a young person, low back pain is often a self-limiting condition that gets better with conservative measures. In someone whose back pain still persists with some of the symptoms described above, it can and should be a red flag that further evaluation is needed.
Many of the medications commonly prescribed in the treatment of ankylosing spondylitis work by suppressing the immune system. They are often prescribed by a rheumatologist, who is a medical specialist trained in the evaluation and management of inflammatory conditions. Examples include:
Methotrexate: This medication is often given once a week and the dose is increased slowly.
There is a class of agents called biologic agents. One example is adalimumab (Humira). This medication inhibits a potent pro-inflammatory protein called Tumor Necrosis Factor (TNF). This is an injection that strongly suppresses the immune system.
Your intestine is the one of the main keys to fighting and reducing total body inflammation. Forming a solid nutritional plan is vital: one of the best nutritional plans for fighting inflammation is the anti-inflammatory diet.
Foods can be a source of inflammation, especially for people with food sensitivities. Because the etiology of ankylosing spondylitis is not known, you want your nutrition plan to be as inflammatory free as possible. This is a diet similar to other diets, including the DASH diet and Mediterranean diet in that it has a focus on fruits and vegetables which in general are non-inflammatory.
Many of the supplements below help normalize immune function and bowel flora as well as reduce inflammation and pain.
Probiotics: These should be a mainstay in any inflammatory condition. They can normalize the bowel flora and replace the bad bacteria with good intestinal microflora. Studies specific to their benefits in ankylosing spondylitis have been mixed, but they do have an effect on immune system modulation and are often included in any anti-inflammatory regimen.
A Western diet is high in Omega 6 and is pro-inflammatory. Changing your diet to reduce Omega 6 (which can be done with an anti-inflammatory diet) and supplementing with Omega 3 fish can help reduce inflammation and pain. In one study from 2006, the use of Omega 3 fish oil markedly showed a decrease in disease activity in patients with ankylosing spondylitis.
This is an enzyme supplement that is used in the treatment of inflammation and pain. Enzymes in this supplement include bromelain (from pineapple) and papain (from papaya).
It is a great anti-oxidant that can reduce inflammation and pain. It can be taken as a 400 mg capsule daily or as a powder that can be sprinkled on each meal.
Specifically Montmorency tart cherry extract is excellent for decreasing pain and inflammation.
There are some good, natural pain formulations that contain many potent herbs that are great for reducing pain and inflammation in one capsule. Examples include curcumin (the main ingredient in Turmeric), Boswellia extract and Devils claw. Examples of these formulations include Arthrocin and Zyflamend.
Magnesium deficiency can promote inflammation and pain. For sore muscle and/or joints, the use of Magnesium gel or oil applied directly to the area can promote healing and reduce inflammation and increase joint and muscle mobility and flexibility.
This is a tropical plant from East Asia that has been used for many years. It has anti-inflammatory properties and can help in the treatment of pain.
While physical activity and exercise can help in the treatment of ankylosing spondylitis, it does not mean that you will be able to tolerate any and all exercise regimens. Activities such as swimming and aqua-therapy, where there is not as much direct pressure placed on the back are preferred over running or jogging.
Updated: May 2013
Vitamins are wonderful adjuncts to complement your natural lifestyle. They can fill any nutritional deficiencies that you may not be fully obtaining from your diet resulting in greater energy and feelings of well being.
Vitamins work by replenishing deficient nutrients in the body that one may not be getting from nutrition.
Vitamin deficiencies can cause great disruption in the body. For instance, a deficiency of just vitamin B6 and Zinc can cause a condition called pyroluria which interferes with protein metabolism, dreaming, mental balance and much more. All that caused by just simple deficiencies of only 2 vitamins!
Consuming too much of any vitamin can also be just as harmful as having a deficiency. It is wise to consult with someone trained in nutritional response testing, who may be able to assist you in which nutrients would be most beneficial for your body. We are all unique, and should be treated as such. What the label states or what the recommended daily allowance recommends may not be correct for you.
Vitamins are a wonderful tool to add to your holistic wellness plan. Much should be taken into consideration when choosing which vitamins to take, and this challenge can be greatly lessened by obtaining the assistance of a professional nutritionist.
Juicing is the process that includes extracting juices and vital nutrients from vegetable, fruit, and plant sources. The process results in a nutrient-rich drink that is easily consumed and digested for optimum use of vitamins and food performance.
Juicing requires the use of a quality juicer that is designed to extract only the juice from its source. It is generally a mechanical operation that will result in a complete separation of juice from pulp, skin, flesh, and seed. Different combinations of vegetable, fruit, and plant juice are combined to create high-energy health drinks that are free of preservatives, colors, and additives.
One of the many benefits of juicing is the ease of digestion into the system. While the body can utilize vegetables, fruits, and plants efficiently in their whole form, eliminating the extra bulk from the source ensures that the body can use the nutrient rich juice to its highest capacity.
It also has a convenience factor when produced in advance for busy schedules. Preparing juice mixes is easy and can provide quick on-the-go nutrition and energy for busy lifestyles.
Juicing can make getting nutrition more palatable for those that are prone to food sensitivities by eliminating the texture, flesh, and skin components of the source. These are often the components responsible for digestion issues or distaste. Juice mixes can be combined with nutritional powerhouses such spinach and kale while being made more palatable by adding flavorful components such as apple, banana, and strawberry.
While juicing can provide quick delivery of nutrients and vitamins, it can also provide large quantities of natural sugar. It is important that those with diabetes or other sugar-based conditions use discretion when introducing juicing into a diet.
Juicing can give a quick natural energy boost to aid in workouts and daily routines, however as with any quick delivery method of energy there can be a “crash” associated with it as well. Without the pulp and body of the juice source, the body can digest the energy source much quicker resulting in a natural depletion of energy.
Juicing can be a healthy alternative to sports drinks, nutrition supplements, and artificial energy sources. Juicing combinations can treat an array of illnesses, diseases, and common ailments. It can also be used to increase the nutritional value of diet and provide supplementation for those who may otherwise forgo eating healthy fruits, vegetables, and plants.
Reviewed by Dr Jeffrey Lederman, DO
Ankylosing Spondylitis is a rare inflammatory condition that causes stiffness and pain in the spine and sacroiliac joints in the pelvis. Often characterized by a “bent forward” posture, Ankylosing Spondylitis usually occurs in males between the ages of 20 and 40.
Symptoms include worsening lower back pain in the absence of trauma, stiffness and a decreased ability to bend forward. Often, the pain initially comes and goes and then it worsens as the disease progresses. In later stages of the condition, the individual may notice very limited movement in the lower spine. Ankylosing Spondylitis can ultimately cause the spinal bones to fuse together, which can create a hunched posture and joint damage. The disease also can cause inflammation in other parts of the body, such as the eyes.
Because a top symptom of this condition is stiffness, it is important for an individual to stay active to maintain flexibility. Lack of movement, due to pain, stiffness or both, often causes the symptoms to worsen. An individual with Ankylosing Spondylitis should avoid high-impact activities, which may increase pain and inflammation.
Yoga provides a means for gentle movement that not only opens up stiff muscles and stalls further tissue degeneration but that helps create an overall condition of ease throughout the body. That sense of ease can lead to decreased pain and increased relaxation.
Yoga helps increase flexibility and range of motion in the spine, which can ease stiffness and pain in the back and improve physical strength and posture. Yoga is especially beneficial if the individual starts the practice during the early stages of the disease.
Yoga teaches the individual to pay attention to posture and alignment, not only when doing poses but throughout the day. This focus on being tall and straight may help prevent the spine from moving into a stiff, hunched position.
Another benefit of yoga for those with Ankylosing Spondylitis is that the practice can improve sleep quality. A regular yoga practice can help an individual sleep more soundly because the individual feels more grounded and has less pain. Those with Ankylosing Spondylitis often have trouble sleeping due to the discomfort of the condition.
Melissa Gutierrez a yoga instructor and co-founder of SmartiesBodies adds, “An individual suffering from A.S. could benefit from the meditative aspect of yoga that helps one become more aware of the connection between mind and body. Instead of focusing on specific postures, one could focus on creating a movement practice based on fluid motion both internal (i.e. movement of the breath in the lungs and sensing other organ participation) and external (i.e. how do the bones feel and move?). Using this keen awareness is critical for maintaining healthy spinal function by distinguishing pelvic, sacral and lumbar participation. Doing so will help keep the A.S. sufferer safe in any asana and, more importantly, any challenge in daily life that may be compounded by the illness.”
Select poses from the Yoga Journal that may help alleviate symptoms of Ankylosing Spondylitis include: (Check with a medical profession before starting a program.)
Yoga’s gentle poses can lead to increased range of motion, better posture, less pain and a healthier overall well-being for those with Ankylosing Spondylitis.
Written by Jessica Braun. She is a writer and an editor at WholesomeONE and can be reached at jessica.braun[at]wholesomeone[dot]com