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Natural Ways to Ease Ankylosing Spondylitis

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If you favor a more natural approach to your ankylosing spondylitis (AS), there are some natural medicines and lifestyle changes that might help you.

AS is a disease of auto-immune origin. It commonly occurs after gastrointestinal disease such as colitis, or after a viral or bacterial infection. People with AS usually have high levels of C-reactive proteins in their blood that are indicative of inflammation and an immune system that is under stress, so the first thing that should be tackled is your lifestyle. For example:

Get plenty of sleep – your body needs sleep in order to regenerate tissues. Less than eight hours of sleep a night is bad for our health.

Don’t smoke – or if you do, try to quit. Smoking is responsible for a huge number of ill health conditions in those who smoke and in others around them.

Eat healthily – Have five portions of fresh fruit and vegetables every day and drink plenty of water. Try to eat as many raw foods as possible and avoid processed ready meals and microwaving your foods.

Reduce or stop your alcohol intake – and think about cutting down on tea and coffee, too.

Exercise regularly – Even if this is just going for a walk once a day.

Clean your home with non-toxic products – Since some cases of ankylosing spondylitis occur after an allergy, it’s important to have your home as free from chemical allergens as possible. Simple white vinegar can clean as well as any chemical product, if not better.

Try Ayurveda- Ayurveda is an ancient form of Indian medicine that has existed more than 5,000 years. It means ‘the science of long life’ and uses a combination of healthy lifestyle changes, healthy diet, positive thinking and herbal medicine to bring about total mind and body health. The herbal remedy Aaamvatantak Churna has been used successfully for arthritic conditions as well as curcumin, the principle component of the spice turmeric (which is responsible for turmeric’s yellow color). You can use the spice directly on foods such as curries or take the supplement curcumin that is available in tablet form.

Eat plenty of plant phytosterols (fats that come from plant foods)- The highest quantity of phytosterols comes from sprouting foods, for instance, sprouts, mung beans, sunflower seeds and sprouting broccoli. Do not cook the shoots as this will destroy most of the goodness. Instead, add olive oil and put them in a salad. Eat these regularly. They can also be taken in supplement form in higher concentrations. Phytosterols are vitally important as they help the immune system to function correctly.

Joanna is a freelance health writer for The Mother magazine and Suite 101 with a column on infertility, http://infertility.suite101.com/. She is author of the book, 'Breast Milk: A Natural Immunisation,' and co-author of an educational resource on disabled parenting, in addition to running a charity for people damaged by vaccines or medical mistakes.

Add a Comment9 Comments

This is a cruel disease, undiagnosed for decades (over 4) now what do I do? I have made most of the modifications, I have read about, I live a limited existence, no contact sports, or rough sports, don't ger me wrong, I am grateful for what I can do, but life is limited - now I know why. I feel Dad had this and so did his sister, red eye and arthritis in general. I just want to be able to cope with it.

April 17, 2012 - 4:12pm
EmpowHER Guest

Considering that hormonal changes (puberty, pregnancy and menopause) are a common trigger, I again disagree.

May 13, 2010 - 4:16pm

Yes, but what I mean is, if there are less triggers then there's less chance to get it and I would think there'd be more triggers in poor countries

May 13, 2010 - 11:09am
EmpowHER Guest

They have confirmed 3 genes and a 4 that has an influence, so the B27 gene is only part of the picture. It is the combo of the genes that causes AS. The only variable is the trigger that causes the disease to start.

May 13, 2010 - 5:10am

PS: and if I was comparing with other countries I would still be very careful in my interpretation. For instance, they might be malnourished, there might not be the same health and safety regulations and they might be exposed to chemicals we are not, do they have more childbirths than we do? All of these can act as a trigger. There are just such a lot of variables. We also have good access to doctors, whereas in a lot of poor countries they don't so they might not be able to access the medicines that help or even know what exercises to do and that could make their cases more severe.

May 11, 2010 - 5:15am

I am aware that in a lot of cases, the sufferer has the B27 gene. However, there are at least 4 out of every 100 sufferers that don't have the B27 gene at all and some people have the B27 gene but don't get AS.
Also, it still has to be 'triggered' by viruses or reactions to the environment and we all know that if you eat healthy and take care of yourself, you are less likely to get viruses and things that trigger the condition.

Exercise is also proven to help arthritis conditions in many cases and getting enough sleep and not smoking is common sense. These suggestions are meant to help ease the situation for people who already have it.

May 11, 2010 - 5:09am
EmpowHER Guest

It has been PROVEN that the disease is caused by genes. They have confirmed three genes (one related to Crohns) and two more with at least partial influence.

I find it incredible that you are calling my statement blanket, since your articles are simple uneducated blanket statements.

May 11, 2010 - 4:29am

I agree that genetics play a part but are not the sole cause. If one group of people, say from India, have it, you'd have to look at a variety of factors like nutrition, medical care, environmental pollution as well to see if their lifestyle factors are contributing to higher levels of the disease. It's a bit of a blanket statement to suggest that because so many people from India, it must be all down to their genes.

May 11, 2010 - 12:16am
EmpowHER Guest

Exercise is very important but none of the "natural" food suggestions will do more than mildly reduce the inflammation. Proof is how many people in India suffer from this terrible disease.

It is confirmed that Ankylosing Spondylitis is caused by genes inherited in various combinations. A trigger like an allergic reaction, or hormonal changes (puberty, pregnancy or menopause), or illness can "set it off" but the genes were just sitting there waiting to change.

May 10, 2010 - 8:40pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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