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Holistic Approach to Ankylosing Spondylitis and Gut Health


ankylosing spondylitis

Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) affects thousands, causing pain and stiffness. While traditional treatments help, a holistic approach focusing on gut health can offer significant benefits. This blog post goes into how the foundational holistic principles can make living with AS more doable for you.


Ankylosing Spondylitis and Gut Health

Ankylosing Spondylitis entails spine and joint inflammation, leading to pain and stiffness. Alongside genetic and immune factors, emerging research spotlights gut health potential impact on the condition.


Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) is a chronic inflammatory autoimmune disease primarily affecting the spine and sacroiliac joints, which connect the lower spine to the pelvis. This condition leads to inflammation, pain, and stiffness in these areas, often causing reduced mobility over time. AS belongs to a group of conditions called spondyloarthritis, which involve inflammation of the joints and ligaments around the spine. It typically starts in early adulthood and can progress gradually, causing the vertebrae to eventually fuse together, resulting in a stooped posture and decreased flexibility.


The exact cause of AS is not fully understood, but a combination of genetic and environmental factors is thought to play a role. The presence of the HLA-B27 gene variant is strongly associated with a higher risk of developing AS, although not everyone with this gene variant will develop the condition.


The hallmark sign is persistent lower back pain that is often worse in the morning or after periods of rest. Since our bodies are fully connected to each system other areas of the body, like your hips, shoulders, and other joints could also suffer.

ankylosing spondylitis Xray

Diagnosis of AS involves a combination of medical history, physical examination, imaging (like X-rays and MRI scans), and blood tests. While there is no cure for AS, various treatments aim to manage symptoms, slow down disease progression, and improve quality of life. These treatments could include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs), biologic medications, physical therapy, and the right exercise.


Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) is often preceded by a condition known as "undifferentiated spondyloarthritis" or "non-radiographic axial spondyloarthritis." These terms refer to a stage of the disease where individuals exhibit symptoms and characteristics of spondyloarthritis, including inflammatory back pain and certain genetic markers like the HLA-B27 gene, but do not yet show the specific structural changes visible on X-rays that are associated with fully developed AS.


Undifferentiated spondyloarthritis is considered a precursor or an early stage of AS. Not all individuals with undifferentiated spondyloarthritis will progress to develop ankylosing spondylitis, but some may eventually exhibit the typical features of AS, including sacroiliac joint inflammation and spinal fusion.


It's important to note that the progression from undifferentiated spondyloarthritis to Ankylosing Spondylitis varies from person to person. Regular monitoring and proper medical management are crucial in detecting any changes and ensuring timely interventions to manage symptoms and potentially slow or prevent disease progression.


Studies Shaping the Landscape

Several studies have highlighted the significance of gut health and ankylosing spondylitis.

  • A 2013 study published in the journal "Nature" revealed a strong association between HLA-B27 and gut bacteria, further suggesting a link between genetics, gut microbiome, and AS.

  • A 2020 study in "Arthritis Research & Therapy" identified specific microbial patterns in AS patients, providing insights into potential therapeutic interventions.

  • Research published in "Frontiers in Immunology" in 2021 explored the gut-joint axis and its impact on AS, underlining the role of the gut microbiota in immune regulation.

The Holistic Approach

The holistic method considers mind, body, and spirit, seeking to address the root cause rather than just symptoms. This comprehensive approach acknowledges the interconnectedness of health aspects. This method can help any person who suffers from Ankylosing Spondylitis.

ankylosing spondylitis and gut health

Gut Health and Ankylosing Spondylitis

The gut-brain-axis highlights the gut's influence on the central nervous system. Research suggests the gut microbiome can modulate inflammation, affecting autoimmune disorders like AS. A holistic strategy prioritizes gut health optimization to mitigate the symptoms and progression of AS.


  1. Nutrition: A whole food diet is critical in managing your AS symptoms. Eating to your primal diet type, eliminating certain foods like gluten, and eating nutrient dense foods will be a great thing for you.

  2. Gut Health: Beneficial bacteria in fermented foods like yogurt and sauerkraut nurture a diverse gut microbiome. Prebiotics and probiotics can aid in gut balance restoration as well.

  3. Stress Management: Stress worsens autoimmune symptoms. In fact it is the number one cause to gut irritation.

  4. Physical Activity: Getting your inner-unit working properly and enhancing your breathing mechanics is going to go a long way for you.

  5. Herbal Supplements: Herbal supplements have long been used to help optimize humans and our health.

  6. Sleep: Sleep profoundly influences immunity and well-being. Establish a sleep routine and create a comfortable sleep environment.

  7. Hydration: Proper hydration is critical to any human. If you're reading this, it's likely that you are experiencing unintentional chronic dehydration.

chek practitioner with client

The Chek Method

A Chek Practitioner will collaborate with you and your doctors for a tailored treatment plan that integrates medical and holistic strategies. Holistic approaches complement traditional treatments and vice versa and it's important not to alienate either one.


Conclusion

The challenges of Ankylosing Spondylitis span beyond physical symptoms. Embracing holistic strategies that prioritize gut health, stress management, and balanced nutrition empowers AS individuals. Recognizing health's interconnections, individuals can proactively manage AS, enhancing life quality. Remember, balanced conventional and holistic treatments are vital. Consult healthcare professionals to forge a comprehensive, effective plan that garners holistic benefits while addressing the core of AS management.


Book a Free Consultation with one of our Chek Practitioners Today!


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