Ankylosing Spondylitis is an inflammatory disorder of unknown cause, that primarily affects the axial skeleton. Peripheral joints & extra articular structures may also be involved.
This disease is more common in men than women. Genetics play a key-role in the disease. A gene is a marker, called HLA-B-27 for this disease. However it may be absent in a case of Ankylosing Spondylitis & people with this marker may not develop Ankylosing Spondylitis. So scientist suspect additional genes as well as environmental factor in the form of bacterial infection triggering the gene. (commonly gastro-intestinal)
The disease often begins at Sacro-iliac joints & affect the spine thereafter. The changes in the joints & spine are in the form of swelling, erosion & bone formation. Bone formation in intervertebral disc and ends of ligaments leads to bony fusion in spine, hence the name Ankylosing Spondylitis ( Bamboo Spine)
Diagnosis of AS is done by clinical examination, x-rays, MRI & Lab tests.
Severity of AS may vary from person to person. It may be intermittent, chronic or progressive.
Patients of AS complain of pain in buttocks, low back ache with stiffness, neck & back pain with stiffness. They may complain of knee pain & shallow breathing.
There is no cure for AS, however care in the form of ‘education, motivation & exercise in the form of Medical Yoga’ is of immense value. Pain & swelling relieving medicines play an important role.
The goal of Medical Yoga is
- To reduce pain & stiffness,
- To maintain a good posture,
- To preserve the ability to perform day to day activities & effective breathing,
To begin with self traction with the help of Rope & Belt Therapy helps to reduce stiffness at pelvic & shoulder girdle.
Strengthening of core muscles help to restore good posture by practicing selective Yogic Postures.
Range of movement at various joints show improvement with practice of Yogic Postures.
With the help of props, like bolster, pillow, blankets, classical postures can be modified to suit the restrictions & limitations for the patient’s immobility. (Due to deformity)
Ambulatory belt designs help to reduce thoracic kyphosis & lumbar stiffness.
Breathing education for abdominal & thoracic breathing improves their capacity. Slow, sustained rib cage expansion in bucket handle & pump handle movement improve their confidence.
Thus Yogic schedule help AS patients at body, breathing & mind level
Adherence to its daily practice, forms their precious companion.
In last 11 years, we at Unnati Yoga Therapy & Training Centre, have offered passionate care to many patients of AS. Recently we have formed a support group called SAS – i.e. Support Ankylosing Spondylitis. This support group helps & motivates the patients of AS to adhere to Yogic Schedule & lead a ‘worry-free’ life.
* This information is applied in Medical Yoga Therapy to help the patients.