Ankylosing Spondylosis

Ankylosing Spondylosis (AS) is a chronic inflammatory condition affecting the spine and joints, often causing pain and stiffness. While conventional medicine offers treatment options, Ayurveda provides a unique perspective on managing and alleviating AS symptoms. In this comprehensive guide, we delve into the intricacies of Ankylosing Spondylosis through the lens of Ayurveda.

I. Introduction

Ankylosing Spondylosis is a form of arthritis that primarily impacts the spine, leading to inflammation and fusion of the vertebrae. This condition can result in reduced flexibility and severe discomfort.

Ayurveda, an ancient system of medicine, views health holistically. Exploring Ayurvedic insights into Ankylosing Spondylosis unveils alternative approaches to managing the condition and improving overall well-being.

II. Ayurvedic Perspective on Ankylosing Spondylosis (A.S.)

A. Ayurvedic Causes of A.S.

Here are the Ayurvedic causes associated with Ankylosing Spondylosis:

  • Vata Imbalance:
    • Ayurveda attributes AS to an aggravated Vata dosha, which is responsible for movement and governs the nervous system. When Vata is imbalanced, it can lead to dryness, stiffness, and pain in the joints, including the spine.
  • Pitta and Kapha Involvement:
    • While Vata is often the primary dosha involved, Ayurveda acknowledges that Pitta and Kapha doshas can also play a role in aggravating the condition. Pitta’s involvement may contribute to inflammation, while Kapha may lead to stiffness and congestion.
  • Digestive Weakness and Ama:
    • Impaired digestion, leading to the formation of undigested food particles (ama) in the body, is considered a precursor to various diseases in Ayurveda, including AS. The formation and accumulation of ama, or toxins, is a key factor. Ama can disrupt the normal functioning of joints and tissues, contributing to inflammation and stiffness seen in AS. Addressing digestive health is essential in preventing ama accumulation.
  • Inappropriate Diet and Lifestyle:
    • Consuming foods and engaging in activities that aggravate Vata dosha, such as dry and light foods, irregular eating habits, and insufficient rest, may contribute to the development of AS.
  • Genetic Factors (Svabhavaja):
    • Ayurveda recognizes the influence of genetic factors (Svabhavaja) in the manifestation of certain conditions. A family history of AS may indicate a predisposition.
  • Occupational Hazards:
    • Prolonged exposure to cold, damp environments or engaging in occupations that involve repetitive stress on the spine may be relevant.
  • Physical and Mental Stress:
    • Physical and mental stress, leading to an imbalance in the nervous system, can contribute to the aggravation of Vata dosha and the development of AS.

B. Ayurvedic Symptoms 

Common Ayurvedic symptoms associated with Ankylosing Spondylosis include:

  1. Stiffness and Pain:

    • Increased Vata dosha leads to stiffness, especially in the lower back and spine. Individuals may experience pain and discomfort, particularly in the morning or after periods of inactivity.
  2. Reduced Mobility:

    • As AS progresses, there may be a gradual reduction in the flexibility and range of motion of the spine. The fusion of vertebrae contributes to limited movement.
  3. Fatigue and Weakness:

    • The accumulation of ama and dosha imbalances can lead to generalized fatigue and weakness, impacting overall energy levels.
  4. Digestive Disturbances:

    • Impaired digestion, a common precursor in Ayurveda, may manifest as digestive disturbances such as bloating, gas, and irregular bowel movements.
  5. Radiating Pain:

    • Vata imbalance can cause pain that radiates from the spine to other areas of the body, including the hips and buttocks.
  6. Sleep Disturbances:

    • Individuals with AS may experience difficulty in getting restful sleep, often due to discomfort and pain during the night.
  7. Swelling and Inflammation:

    • Pitta dosha’s involvement may lead to localized inflammation and swelling in the affected joints, contributing to pain and discomfort.
  8. Ama-Related Symptoms:

    • Ama accumulation can manifest as a feeling of heaviness, lethargy, and a sense of stickiness in the joints.
  9. Pain Aggravation with Weather Changes:

    • Vata dosha, being influenced by weather changes, can cause an increase in pain and stiffness during changes in climate, especially in cold and damp conditions.
  10. Emotional Impact:

    • The chronic nature of AS can impact mental well-being, leading to stress, anxiety, or depression. Ayurveda recognizes the interconnection between the mind and the body.

C. Diagnosis

Here are key aspects of the Ayurvedic diagnostic process for Ankylosing Spondylosis:

  1. Pulse Diagnosis (Nadi Parikshan):

    • Ayurvedic practitioners often use pulse diagnosis to assess the balance of doshas and identify any irregularities. Changes in the pulse may indicate the presence of doshic imbalances associated with AS.
  2. Tongue Examination (Jihva Parikshan):

    • The appearance of the tongue can provide insights into digestive health and the presence of ama (toxins) in the body, which is relevant to the Ayurvedic understanding of AS.
  3. Physical Examination (Rogi Parikshan):

    • A thorough physical examination includes assessing the spine’s flexibility, range of motion, and any signs of inflammation or tenderness in the affected joints.
  4. Detailed History and Symptoms (Roga Nidana):

    • Gathering a detailed medical history and understanding the specific symptoms experienced by the individual are crucial. This includes information about pain, stiffness, digestive disturbances, and other associated symptoms.
  5. Dosha Assessment:

    • Understanding the predominant dosha involved in the manifestation of AS is essential. Vata dosha imbalance is often a primary factor, accompanied by contributions from Pitta and Kapha doshas.
  6. Ama Evaluation:

    • Assessing the presence and extent of ama in the body is integral to Ayurvedic diagnosis. Signs of ama may include a coated tongue, digestive issues, and a sense of heaviness or lethargy.
  7. Prakruti Analysis:

    • Evaluating the individual’s inherent constitution (Prakruti) helps determine their natural tendencies and susceptibilities. It provides a baseline for understanding how doshic imbalances may contribute to the development of AS.
  8. Mental and Emotional Assessment:

    • Recognizing the impact of mental and emotional factors on the condition is vital. Stress, anxiety, or depression can exacerbate symptoms and influence doshic imbalances.
  9. Diagnostic Tools (Ashtavidha Parikshan):

    • Ayurveda employs various diagnostic tools, including examining urine (Mutra Parikshan), stool (Mala Parikshan), and assessing factors like pulse, voice, and body constitution (Prakruti).
  10. Imaging and Laboratory Tests:

    • While Ayurveda primarily relies on traditional diagnostic methods, modern diagnostic tools such as X-rays or blood tests may be used to complement the Ayurvedic assessment and confirm the diagnosis.

III. Ayurvedic Treatment Approaches

A. Herbal Remedies

It’s important to note that individual responses to herbs may vary, and it’s advisable to consult with a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner for personalized recommendations. Here are some commonly used herbs for AS:

  • Guggulu (Commiphora wightii):
    • Guggulu is renowned for its anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. It is often used to reduce pain and inflammation associated with AS. Guggulu also supports joint health and mobility.
  • Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera):
    • Ashwagandha is an adaptogenic herb that helps the body cope with stress. It has anti-inflammatory effects and supports the immune system, making it beneficial for managing AS symptoms.
  • Shallaki (Boswellia serrata):
    • Shallaki is recognized for its anti-inflammatory properties. It helps reduce inflammation in the joints and promotes joint flexibility.
  • Turmeric (Curcuma longa):
    • Turmeric contains curcumin, a potent anti-inflammatory compound. It helps alleviate pain and stiffness associated with AS. Combining turmeric with black pepper enhances its absorption.
  • Triphala (Emblica officinalis, Terminalia chebula, Terminalia bellerica):
    • Triphala is a combination of three fruits known for their detoxifying properties. It helps in eliminating ama (toxins) from the body and supports digestive health, which is crucial in managing AS.
  • Giloy (Tinospora cordifolia):
    • Giloy is an immune-modulating herb that helps in reducing inflammation. It supports overall immune system function and can be beneficial in managing AS.
  • Eranda (Ricinus communis):
    • Eranda, or castor oil, is used in external applications such as castor oil packs. It is believed to have anti-inflammatory effects and can provide relief from pain and stiffness.
  • Nirgundi (Vitex negundo):
    • Nirgundi has anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, making it useful in managing joint pain associated with AS. It may be used externally as an oil or in the form of capsules.
  • Punarnava (Boerhavia diffusa):
    • Punarnava is known for its anti-inflammatory and diuretic properties. It may help in reducing swelling and inflammation in the joints.
  • Amalaki (Emblica officinalis):
    • Amalaki, or Indian Gooseberry, is rich in vitamin C and antioxidants. It supports the immune system and aids in the elimination of toxins from the body.


B. Dietary Recommendations

Here are some Ayurvedic dietary guidelines for individuals with AS:

  • Warm and Nourishing Foods:
    • Emphasize warm, cooked, and nourishing foods. Opt for soups, stews, and well-cooked grains, which are easier to digest and help balance Vata.
  • Ghee (Clarified Butter):
    • Incorporate moderate amounts of ghee in the diet. Ghee is considered beneficial for lubricating joints and supporting digestive function.
  • Anti-Inflammatory Spices:
    • Include spices such as turmeric, ginger, cumin, and coriander in your meals. These spices have anti-inflammatory properties and can help manage symptoms of inflammation.
  • Avoid Cold and Raw Foods:
    • Minimize the intake of cold and raw foods, as they can aggravate Vata dosha. Choose cooked vegetables over raw salads and opt for warm beverages.
  • Adequate Hydration:
    • Stay well-hydrated with warm water, herbal teas, and warm soups. Avoid excessive intake of cold or iced drinks, as they may increase Vata.
  • Avoid Heavy and Difficult-to-Digest Foods:
    • Steer clear of heavy, fried, and difficult-to-digest foods like meat, chicken, fish, bread, biscuits, sago, curd, spicy food, junk food etc. These can contribute to the formation of ama (toxins) and aggravate digestive issues.
  • Whole Grains:
    • Include whole grains such as quinoa, brown rice, and oats in your diet. These provide sustained energy and are easier to digest.
  • Lean Proteins:
    • Choose lean protein sources like lentils, beans, and lean meats. Avoid excessive consumption of red meat, as it may contribute to inflammation.
  • Dairy in Moderation:
    • Consume dairy in moderation. Warm milk with a pinch of turmeric or ginger can be beneficial. Avoid excessive dairy, especially if it causes digestive discomfort.
  • Herbal Teas:
    • Sip on herbal teas with anti-inflammatory properties, such as ginger tea or turmeric tea. These can support digestion and provide additional benefits.
  • Avoid Nightshades:
    • Some individuals with AS may find relief by avoiding nightshade vegetables like tomatoes, potatoes, and eggplants, as they are believed to contribute to inflammation in certain cases.
  • Regular Eating Schedule:
    • Maintain a regular eating schedule with two main meals and avoid skipping meals. This helps in balancing Vata and supporting digestive health.

It’s important to note that individual dietary needs may vary. Consultation with a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner is recommended for personalized dietary recommendations based on your unique constitution (Prakruti) and current imbalances (Vikruti).


C. Ayurvedic Therapies

These therapies are often personalized based on the individual’s constitution (Prakruti) and the specific imbalances present (Vikruti). Here are some commonly used Ayurvedic therapies for managing AS:

  • Panchakarma:
    • Basti (Enema Therapy): Basti involves administering medicated enemas to eliminate ama (toxins) and balance Vata dosha. This therapy is particularly beneficial for disorders related to the musculoskeletal system, including AS.
  • Abhyanga (Oil Massage):
    • Regular oil massage using warm Ayurvedic oils, such as sesame or medicated oils like Mahanarayana oil, helps lubricate joints, reduce stiffness, and improve circulation.
  • Swedana (Sweating Therapy):
    • Swedana involves inducing sweating through various methods, such as steam or herbal poultices. This therapy helps in detoxification, alleviating stiffness, and promoting joint flexibility.
  • Pizhichil (Oil Bath Therapy):
    • Pizhichil involves pouring warm medicated oil over the body while simultaneously massaging. This therapy is beneficial for reducing inflammation, nourishing joints, and improving mobility.
  • Shirodhara (Oil Pouring on Forehead):
    • Shirodhara involves a continuous stream of warm oil poured onto the forehead. It helps calm the nervous system, reduce stress, and promote overall relaxation.
  • Nasya (Nasal Administration):
    • Nasya involves administering herbal oils or medicated powders through the nasal passage. This therapy helps in clearing nasal passages, improving respiratory function, and balancing Vata.
  • Lepa (Herbal Paste Application):
    • Application of herbal pastes, especially those with anti-inflammatory properties, directly onto affected joints can provide relief from pain and reduce inflammation.
  • Kati Basti and Greeva Basti:
    • These localized basti therapies focus on the lower back (Kati Basti) or neck (Greeva Basti) regions. Warm medicated oils are retained in a dough dam on the affected area to alleviate pain and stiffness.

IV. Yoga and Ankylosing Spondylosis

Yoga plays a significant role in managing Ankylosing Spondylosis (AS) by improving flexibility, reducing stiffness, and promoting overall well-being. Regular practice of yoga can help individuals with AS maintain joint mobility and alleviate symptoms. Here are specific yoga poses that may be beneficial for individuals with Ankylosing Spondylosis:

  • Tadasana (Mountain Pose):
  • Marjarasana (Cat-Cow Pose):
  • Balasana (Child’s Pose):
  • Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog Pose):
  • Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose):
  • Setu Bandhasana (Bridge Pose):
  • Supta Matsyendrasana (Supine Spinal Twist):
  • Virabhadrasana I and II (Warrior I and II Poses):
  • Uttanasana (Forward Bend):
  • Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation):
  • Matsyasana (Fish Pose):
  • Vrikshasana (Tree Pose):


Understanding the root causes according to Ayurveda.

Exploring the possibilities and limitations of Ayurvedic interventions.

Addressing concerns related to the safety of Ayurvedic treatments.

Setting realistic expectations for individuals seeking Ayurvedic alternatives.

Considering individual variations and suitability for Ayurvedic approaches.

Uniqueness of our therapies  

At Arogya Mandir – Shri Siddhanath Ayurvedic Hospital, Miraj, we delve deeply into the ayurvedic examination of each patient. Utilizing noninvasive Ayurvedic diagnostic tools such as Ashtavidha Parikshan and Nadi Parikshan, we precisely determine the pathogenesis of the disease and then prescribe therapies tailored to the specific condition. This approach leads to expedited results.

Our therapies boast the following distinctive features:
– Tranquil and hygienic therapy rooms staffed with trained therapists in a positive environment.
– Selection of appropriate massage oil based on the patient’s Prakruti and the condition of the disease.
– Complimentary Prakruti and Dhatu Sarata examinations before the commencement of therapies.
– Authenticated procedures for each therapy.
– Judicious use of herbal medicines and instruments during the therapy sessions.
– Specialized rooms equipped with all facilities for inpatient care.

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