Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Ankylosing Spondylitis? Homeopathy or Conventional Drugs?


Ankylosing spondylitis (or AS) is a long-term or chronic condition in which the spine and other areas of the body become inflamed. NHS Choices state that the symptoms of AS can vary but usually involve:

    * back pain and stiffness that improves with exercise and is not relieved by rest.
    * pain and swelling in other parts of the body, such as the hips, knees and ribs.
    * fatigue (extreme tiredness).

These symptoms tend to develop gradually, usually over several months or years, and may come and go over time.

Conventional Medical Treatment
NHS Choices says this about conventional medical treatment for AS

               “There is no cure for ankylosing spondylitis (AS), but treatment is available to help relieve the symptoms. Treatment can also help delay or prevent the process of the spine fusing (joining up) and stiffening. In most cases, treatment will involve a combination of exercise, physiotherapy and medication.....” 

The treatments outlined by NHS Choices are:

1. Physiotherapy an Exercise.

2. Painkillers
These include NSAID painkillers, Paracetamol, and Codeine, all of which have serious adverse reactions, especially if taken over a long period of time. Click on each one, above, to see a description of the dangers of these painkillers. 

3. Anti-TNF Medication.
Apparently only used if painkillers do not work, and “their long-term effects are unknown”. NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) have produced guidelines limiting their use, as this description in NHS Choices indicates how cautious (and therefore how dangerous) these drugs can be.

“If your rheumatologist recommends using anti-TNF medication, the decision about whether they are right for you must be discussed carefully and your progress will be closely monitored. This is because anti-TNF medication can interfere with the immune system (the body’s natural defence system), increasing your risk of developing potentially serious infections”.

Steroid drugs also need to be recognised for the harm they can do. Click on the link for an explanation of the dangers of Corticosteroids.

5. Disease-Modifying Anti-Rheumatic Drugs
NHS Choices says that DMARD drugs are an alternative type of medication often used to treat other types of arthritis, but may be prescribed for AS, “although they are only beneficial in treating pain and inflammation in joints in areas of the body other than the spine”. NHS Choices make no comment about the adverse reactions to these drugs.

6. Surgery
NHS Choices says that in cases where a joint has become severely damaged, joint replacement surgery may be recommended to improve pain and movement in the affect joint. It also says that in rare cases, corrective surgery may be needed if the spine becomes badly bent.


The Homeopathic Treatment of Ankylosing Spondylitis
Important Note. 
Homeopathy does not treat illness or diseases. It treats the individual who has been diagnosed with a particular illness or disease. The distinction is important, and if you wish to read more about this, click on the chapter “Illness Diagnosis” above. 

Homeopathy provides an alternative to conventional medical treatment of AS, and is, of course, a lot safer.

One excellent description of the homeopathic treatment of AS can be found on Dr Nancy Malik’s website (see Homeopathy and Ankylosing Spondylitis). Here are brief descriptions of some of the remedies that are often used in the treatment of AS.

Aesculus hippocastanum
Important remedy in ankylosing spondylitis. Marked stiffness and pain over the sacroiliac joint. Worse: Rising from a seat or from stooping.

Aurum metallicum
Serious or advanced rheumatism with marked stiffness. Rheumatism with stiffness or spasms of the chest wall. Severe spasm or tearing pains. Pains also described as “paralytic.” An important remedy in ankylosing spondylitis. Wandering arthritis; moving spot to spot from one week to next. Worse: Night. Morning in bed. Hip pain worse rising from a seat or from walking. Chest wall pain and spasm worse first motion and inspiring. Better: Motion. Location: Wandering arthritis. Back. Chest and ribs. Hip.

Bacillus 7
Sensation of stiffness and ankylosis of the articulations. Shoulders painful, stiff, movements limited and difficult. Dorsal pains, aggravated by movements. Pains of all the articulations, drawing with the sensation of being drawn and rigid, aggravated when waking up after a long rest. Aponeurotic and ligamentary retraction.

Butyricum acidum
Morbus coxae senilis. Ankylosing spondylitis. Tired feeling and dull pain in small of back, worse walking. Pain in ankles and up back of leg. Pain low down in back and limbs.

Colchicum autumnale
Pain with ankylosis of the back and neck. Burning pain in the neck, ameliorated by movement. Pain in the renal region. Pain in the left scapula, aggravated on waking, by movement, and by lying on the left side. Ankylosing arthritis of the vertebral joints. Non-inflammatory chronic rheumatism of the hip and knee.

Cuprum metallicum
Cramps in calves and soles. Jerking, twitching of muscles in hands and feet. Clenching of thumb in palms. Cramps in palms, calves and soles. Coldness of hands. Joints contracted. Great weariness of limbs. Ankles painfully heavy. Ankylosis of shoulder joint. Knees double up involuntary when walking, bringing him down.

Dichapetalum
Fatigue and rheumatic pains in the limbs, and legs feel like rubber. Heaviness in the calves. Stiffness at the nape of the neck , with pain starting at the 7th cervical vertebra, spreading up the nape and accompanied by right frontal hemicrania. Pain between the shoulders. Pain in the right shoulder, spreading towards the neck. Dorsal pain and stiffness, like ankylosis. Severe pain, and stiffness in the lumbar region, when seated or when walking. Pain in the lumbar region , with drawing pains around the thighs. Drawing pains in the sacrum , ameliorated by urinating or expelling wind, worse when standing.

Ferrum metallicum
Partial immobility of the arm and slight ankylosis of the wrist.

Kalium iodatum
Weakness, emaciation. Arteriosclerosis. Cachexia. Contraction of muscles and tendons, chronic arthritis with spurious ankylosis.

Mercurius solubilis
Local signs of inflammation, marked deformity, extreme atrophy of muscles, swelling of soft parts, subcutaneous nodules, fibrous or bony ankylosis. Marked deformity, extreme atrophy of muscles, swelling of soft parts, subcutaneous nodules, fibrous or bony ankylosis. Marked pain.

Phosphorus
Paralysis of spine, especially the sacrum, from spondylitis. The chest becomes rigid or immovable. Pain, heat and burning in the spine and sciatic nerve. Sensitive, tender spinous process – especially the dorsal spine. An important remedy in ankylosing spondylitis with rigid spine and fixed chest wall. Worse: Cold. Rising from a seat. Lying on the left side.  Laughing. Crossing the legs in bed. Better: Heat. Lying on right side or on back. Rubbing. Motion.

Radium bromatum
In Europe, Ra-224 [isotope with a half-life of about three and a half days] was used for more than 40 years in the treatment of tuberculosis and ankylosing spondylitis. The treatment of children was abandoned in the 1950s, but the ability to relieve debilitating pain from ankylosing spondylitis in adults has prolonged its use.

Rhus toxicodendron
Numbness and formication, after overwork and exposure. Tension as from shortening of muscles. Numbness of limbs on which he lies; esp. arms. Stiff and paralysed sensation in joints from sprains, over-lifting and over-stretching. Of internal coldness in limbs. As if skin around diseased parts were too tight. PA Tearing, in tendons, ligaments and fasciae. Rheumatic, spread over a large surface at nape, loins, and limbs; amel. motion [Agar.]. Soreness of condyles of bones. 5 Rheumatic gnawing, & desire to move limbs frequently, which amel.. Drawing or tearing, in limbs during rest. OB Hot, painful swelling of joints. Limbs stiff, paralysed. Paralysis; trembling after exertion. Paraplegia; after parturition; sexual excess; fevers. Lameness, stiffness and pain on first moving after rest, or on getting up in morning; amel. continued motion; but soon fatigued, requiring rest again. Cold hands and feet. Cracking of joints when stretched. Synovitis; spurious ankylosis.

Sarcolacticum acidum
Cramping pains predominantly in the back and lumbar region, aggravated when standing. At the extremities : cramp, paraesthesia, articular numbness and pains. Difficulty in brushing hair. Tiredness of the wrist when writing. Ankylosis , muscular contracture and jerking, paresis (partial paralysis) when trying to climb.

Silicea terra
Synovial cysts.  Enlarged bursa over patella.  Large cyst on patella; not inflamed but extremely sensitive.  Chronic synovitis of knee with great swelling and ankylosis. Icy coldness of feet; or foot-sweat, often very offensive; or suppressed foot-sweat.

Thuja occidentalis
Here, Dr Nancy Malik provides some case histories using this remedy.

Spinal Curvature - The spine from the fifth to the twelfth vertebra bent backwards, the lung dorsal muscles in the region atrophied. The patient, a boy, aged eleven, cannot stand erect, is bent forward and supports his body by putting his hands upon his knees. When sitting upon a chair, he supports himself by holding fast to the back of the chair; when sitting upon the floor, his head sinks down upon his knees. His hair is thin and of slow growth; the urethra is reddened; his belly is enlarged (pot-bellied) and his nose is always stopped up. I gave Thuja 3c. A month after this he was much better; he moves about more handily and can sit erect in a chair for a short time; the improvement continued, but the restoration of the back to the normal state took about two years. C. Kunkel.

Paralysis- A woman, aged twenty-two, of feeble constitution and earthy, pale countenance came to me with stooping gait and faltering steps. Since her fourteenth year, she has had frequent vomiting and water-brash. For two months the vomiting has ceased and she now complains of her back and legs being very weak, almost paralyzed; her eyesight is very poor and she can only read a line at a time. For some time past she has had urinary tenesmus and incontinence. Menstruation has always been irregular and is sometimes suppressed; she often has leucorrhoea. Thuja 30th first relieved the urinary symptoms, then the leucorrhoea and menstruation returned regularly. Then the paralytic symptoms were much relieved and there developed much desquamation of the skin. In four months the patient was well, except slight anæsthesia of the legs. Dr. Rueckert.

Tuberculinum residuum Koch
Acts primarily on the fibrous tissues and produces fibro-chondro-osteo-mesenchymatic sclerosis! Lean weak people with grey colour of face and blue lips. Cicatrices. Dupuytren’s contraction. Chronic rheumatism with ankylosis. Periarthritis. Arthrosis. Ankylosis of the vertebral column. Tubercular rheumatism.

Viscum album
Arthrosis. Painful post-traumatic osteoporosis, linked with vaso-motor and tropho-cutaneous complaints. Dupuytren’s disease. Periarthrosis of the scapula and humerus. Arthrosis of the hip. Ankylosing spondylitis. Gonococcal rheumatism. Juvenile growth disorders.

Wiesbaden aqua
Rheumatism and gout. Abdomen full and tense. Passive or atonic gout. Contractions of muscles and tendons. Complete ankylosis. Stiffness of old fractures.