Spondylitis is a chronic inflammatory disease of the spine. It occurs due to fusion of adjacent vertebrae in a section of the spine. Spondylitis reduces the flexibility of the spine, causing pain and difficulty in movement. The hips, lower back and the neck are commonly affected by spondylitis.
The exact cause of spondylitis of the hips and lower back, also known as ankylosing spondylitis, is unknown. Researches suggest a possible involvement of genetic factors in inducing the condition. Wear and tear of the bones and cartilages cause cervical spondylitis, an age-related spondylitis that affects the vertebrae in the neck.
Reducing pain and stiffness and preventing deformity of the affected section of the spine are the goals of spondylitis treatment. To prevent damage to the spine, treatment should begin at the earliest stage of the disease. Apart from pharmacological drugs, physical therapy and alternative treatments provide relief from the debilitating symptoms of spondylitis.
Treatment For Spondylitis
Spondylitis pain is treated with over-the-counter and prescription nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. The dosages of the drugs depend upon the severity of the condition.
Severe pain that do not respond to conventional pain-relief medications is treated with steroid injections or narcotic medications.
In case of ankylosing spondylitis, medications known as TNF blockers that suppress activities of a pro-inflammatory protein called TNF are injected to provide relief from pain, inflammation and stiffness of the spine. Muscle relaxants and anti-seizure drugs are also used to attenuate pain.
Physical therapy is the most effective treatment option for spondylitis. The stretching and strengthening exercises help to improve the flexibility of the section of the spine affected by spondylitis.
Physical therapy is essential for improving posture, reducing pain and arresting progression of the disease.
Heat Or Cold Compress
Heat and ice compresses help to lessen pain and soreness in the muscles around the section of the spine affected by spondylitis. Applying heat to the affected area stimulates circulation, which helps to relax the muscles. Cold compresses or ice packs help to numb the pain and reduce swelling.
Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplement
Omega-3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fats found in fish oil, flaxseed, walnut and whole grains.By suppressing activities of pro-inflammatory substances, they provide relief from inflammation. Supplementation with fish oil pill or flaxseed oil helps to alleviate the symptoms of spondylitis.
Herbs with anti-inflammatory property are widely used in treatment for spondylitis. Studies suggest that spondylitis pain can be lessened with the help of boswellia. Boswellic acids, the major active constituents of the herb, provide relief from inflammation by impairing activities of inflammatory immune cells.
Turmeric can also be used for reducing pain and inflammation in the spine and adjacent muscles. Turmeric contains a potent anti-inflammatory component called curcumin. Mild pain can be treated with ginger extracts containing the anti-inflammatory oleo-resins.
Therapeutic massage, especially deep tissue massage, is also beneficial for people suffering from spondylitis. It improves circulation and flexibility.
In the traditional Chinese medicine system, acupuncture is recommended for treating spondylitis. In acupuncture, needles are inserted in specific locations, which induce secretion of pain reducing chemicals that help to lessen pain.