Ayurvedic Treatment in Kerala for Ankylosing Spondylitis
UNDERSTANDING ANKYLOSING SPONDYLITIS
If you are suffering from ankylosing spondylitis or if you know someone suffering from it, then you would know how difficult it is to live everyday with such a chronic illness. The disease course is often unpredictable, with episodes of partial remission and flare-ups; there are days with incapacitating pain, tremendous fatigue and crippling immobility. It makes you want to rest the whole day, but yet you keep moving to avoid stiffness, and the body responds with severe joint pain due to exertion. Your daily dose of painkillers, corticosteroids and physical therapies fail to provide any lasting relief; personal, social and work lives are badly affected and many a time, you find yourself on the verge of depression. A course of ayurvedic treatment in Kerala for ankylosing spondylitis with about 4 to 6 weeks of inpatient treatment at an ayurveda hospital in Kerala could significantly reduce your pain, stiffness, inflammation etc. and improve your quality of life for the long term.
What is ankylosing spondylitis?
Ankylosing spondylitis is a type of arthritis. Spondylitis means inflammation of vertebra and ankylosis means fusion of bones. Ankylosing Spondylitis is a condition where the vertebrae ((bones of the spine) get inflamed and fused, leading to multiple problems like severe pain, stiffness, hunched posture, difficulty in breathing etc. Even though it is the spine that is most severely affected in ankylosing spondylitis, it affects different parts of the body as the disease progresses. Ayurvedic treatment in Kerala for ankylosing spondylitis aims to alleviate the severity of these symptoms, reduce disability and prevent further worsening of the disease.
What are the early symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis?
It often starts as a constant dull pain and stiffness over your low back region especially during the night, which gets better on waking up and moving. The usual tendency is to ignore this pain near your sacroiliac joint thinking it will resolve within a few days, but what actually happens is just the opposite. The pain and stiffness might spread to other areas like neck, shoulder, hip etc. and increases in severity over time. Kerala ayurvedic treatment for ankylosing spondylitis is most effective when it is taken in the early stages of the disease.
How does ayurvedic treatment for ankylosing spondylitis help with the bone fusions?
Over the years, you will find it difficult to perform normal spinal movements like flexion, extension etc. and a hunched posture starts to develop eventually. This is because of the overgrowth of the bones that results in abnormal fusion of the vertebrae. Similarly, fusions between ribs and spine result in breathing difficulty and reduced chest expansion. Ayurvedic treatment for ankylosing spondylitis in Kerala has many therapies and medicines that prevent the formation of further such bony fusions, to a large extent.
How does ayurvedic treatment for ankylosing spondylitis protect other parts of the body?
As ankylosing spondylitis progresses, inflammation could develop in any part of the body, especially where tendons attach to the bone (enthesitis). For example, you may develop heel pain, where achilles tendon meets the heel bone. Inflammation could also develop in the eyes (uveitis), heart lungs or the gut (IBS). In addition to all these symptoms, there could be extreme fatigue that makes daily activities very difficult. Undergoing ayurvedic treatment for ankylosing spondylitis and complying with the doctors’ advice helps in preventing the progress of the disease to different parts of the body.
What causes ankylosing spondylitis?
Ayurveda says that ankylosing spondylitis is caused by a disturbance in vata dosha, one of the three doshas of the body ( vata, pitta and kapha ). Vata could go out of balance due to genetic predisposition or wrong lifestyle. When vata thus gets aggravated, it lodges in the bone tissue and causes gradual depletion and degeneration of bone tissue. When this disease process is not addressed in time, it leads to pain and stiffness and subsequently to structural abnormalities and disabilities. Ayurvedic treatment for ankylosing spondylitis aims to correct the deranged vata dosha, thereby reducing the severity of symptoms and preventing further worsening of the disease.
AYURVEDIC TREATMENT FOR ANKYLOSING SPONDYLITIS
What are the benefits of Kerala ayurvedic treatment for ankylosing spondylitis?
Ayurvedic treatment for ankylosing spondylitis is decided based on the patient’s presenting complaints, its severity and the course of progression.
Reduce inflammation: Inflammation is an indicator of toxins in the body, so one of the first steps adopted by ayurvedic hospitals in Kerala for ankylosing spondylitis is to correct digestion and eliminate factors leading to inflammation. Associated complaints like IBS, eye inflammation etc. are also addressed.
Relieve pain, stiffness and other symptoms: Panchakarma therapies may be advised to restore the balance of vata dosha. This is important to relieve symptoms like pain and stiffness. Restoring dosha balance Is an important aspect of ayurvedic treatment for ankylosing spondylitis in Kerala since it goes a long way in preventing the depletion of bones and progression of the disease.
Increase spine flexibility: Another important aspect of ayurvedic treatment for ankylosing spondylitis is maintaining and increasing spine flexibility. Therapies used in ayurvedic centres in Kerala like njavara kizhi, elakizhi, pizhichil, kati vasti, greeva vasti etc provide nourishment to bones and muscles in the affected areas and help increase the mobility of the spine. These therapies also help prevent further bony fusions, to some extent.
How long is one course of ayurvedic treatment for ankylosing spondylitis in Kerala?
The first part of ayurvedic treatment for ankylosing spondylitis in Kerala requires an inpatient stay of 30 to 45 days at an ayurvedic hospital in Kerala. At the time of discharge, the patient will be advised to take medicines at home for a prescribed period. Outcome is best when treatment is taken in the early stages of the disease. In the later stages, Kerala ayurvedic treatment for ankylosing spondylitis helps in managing the disease, reducing disability and preventing progression.
AYURVEDIC DIET AND LIFESTYLE ADVICE
What is the role of diet in the ayurvedic treatment for ankylosing spondylitis?
Ayurvedic treatment for ankylosing spondylitis recommends a diet that does not aggravate vata dosha and instead, pacifies it. Since ankylosing spondylitis leads to weak bones, calcium rich food should be an important part of your diet. Greens like spinach and kale, broccoli, soaked almonds, dairy products etc. are rich sources of calcium that you may include in your diet. Since vata has a drying effect on the body, it is good to cook your food with a little oil or ghee. Use garlic, ginger, asafoetida, cumin seeds etc as these are anti-inflammatory in nature. Fresh, unprocessed non-vegetarian food may be had in moderation; avoid deep fried, frozen and canned ones. Completely avoid all dried varieties of pulses and legumes as they tend to aggravate vata, but include cooked, fresh, green lentils. This being the general dietary guideline, make sure you discuss your diet with your treating physician, before your discharge from the ayurvedic centre in Kerala.
What is the role of lifestyle in the ayurvedic treatment for ankylosing spondylitis?
During your stay at the ayurvedic hospital in Kerala, educate yourself on lifestyle factors that aggravate vata dosha and cause an exacerbation of the symptoms. Some common lifestyle factors that cause problems are long hours of sitting, exposure to cold air, having chilled water and cold food, going to bed late, poor sleep etc. It may help to start your day with mild stretching exercises; stretch during the day as well, but make sure you don't overexert. Practise mild pranayama, yoga and meditation, within your capacity.
Ankylosing Spondylitis is a progressive, inflammatory condition that affects the whole body. Ayurveda considers it a condition caused by disturbance in vata dosha - one of the three doshas of the body. Therefore, ayurvedic treatment for ankylosing spondylitis focuses on pacifying the aggravated vata dosha and restoring the dosha balance in the body. This goes a long way in relieving symptoms, reducing inflammation, preventing progress of the disease and improving the quality of life. Kerala ayurvedic treatment for ankylosing spondylitis requires an inpatient period of about 30 to 45 days during the initial stage of treatment. At the time of discharge, depending on the patient’s condition, they may be advised medicines to be taken at home for a few months. Results of the ayurvedic treatment can be sustained for the long-term by complying with the dietary and lifestyle guidelines.
Is there a possibility of complete cure with Kerala ayurvedic treatment for ankylosing spondylitis?
Kerala ayurvedic treatment for ankylosing spondylitis does not offer complete and permanent cure. Patients experience a relief in symptoms and improvement in their quality of life after ayurvedic treatment. Reduced disabilities and preventing the progress of the disease are key benefits of ayurvedic treatment for ankylosing spondylitis.
Can I stop painkillers and other medications after taking ayurvedic treatment for ankylosing spondylitis?
Yes, that is possible. Depending on your response to ayurvedic treatment, your ayurvedic physician will guide you on tapering those medications. Painkillers and other such medications may cause adverse effects in the long term, so one of the aims of ayurvedic treatment for ankylosing spondylitis is to help you withdraw from such medications.