ANKYLOSING SPONDYLITIS (AS) / MARIE’s Disease / BEKTEREV’s Disease is a Chronic Autoimmune or Autoinflamatory systemic disease which predominantly affects joints and bones of Spine and Pelvis

It falls under AXIAL SPONDYLOARTHRITIS Category.


Causes are obscure, though Genetics Environmental Factors and Lifestyle in combination are believed to be involved in causation of Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS)

It falls under Sero-negative Systemic Rheumatic  disease where its believed to be mediated by Autoimmune or Autoinflamatory response.

Human Leucocyte Antigen HLA B27 subtypes B2701and B2759  are class I antigen encoded by B locus of Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) on Chromosome 6 and presents antigenic peptides (derived from self and non self antigens ) to T cells. HLA B27 is strongly associated  with Ankylosing Spondylitis as 90% of patient showing symptoms of Ankylosing Spondylitis has a genotype presenting it. and 2% of all having genotype expressing HLA B27 contracts Ankylosing Spondylosis.


Pathogenesis of AS is still not clear and many factors associated with the pathophysiology directly or indirectly  have been identified

  • Human Leucocyte Antigen (HLA B27 subtypes B2701and B2759)  are class I antigen encoded by B locus of Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) on Chromosome 6 and presents antigenic peptides (derived from self and non self antigens ) to T cells. HLA B27 is strongly associated  with Ankylosing Spondylitis as 90% of patient showing symptoms of Ankylosing Spondylitis has a genotype presenting it. and 2% of all having genotype expressing HLA B27 contracts Ankylosing Spondylosis.Now this association with HLA B27 suggests possible link with  CD8 T cells though not proven to involve self antigen it might also be due to reactive arthritis following infection and the antigen might be derived from intracellular microorganism; HLA B27 has many unusual varied properties also it has ability to interact with CD4 so possible association of CD4 in AS is also a probability.
  • Tumour Necrosis Factor α   (TNF α) is found to b implicated in Ankylosing Spondylitis
  • Interleukine 1 (IL 1) is also associated in pathogenesis of Ankylosing Spondylitis
  • Anti-Neutrophil Cytoplasmic Antibodies (ANCAs) are associated with Ankylosing Spondylitis but is not indicator of severity of disease
  • Autoantibodies Specific to Ankylosing Spondylitis have not been identified
  • PTGER4 gene codes for prostaglandin EP4 receptor(EP4). which is associated with bone remodeling and deposition and is highly expressed in those sites of vertebral coloumn which are involved in Ankylosing Spondylitis . Single Neucleotide Polymorphism (SNP) of A/G variant rs10440635a close to the PTGER4 gene on human chromosome 5  possibly influences excessive production of EP4  which causes excessive bone remodelling and deposition in Ankylosing Spondylosis ; though this type of SNP and its association with increased rate of Ankylosing Spondylosis is found only in few ethnic groups

All these and other unknown factors contribute in pathogenesis of Ankylosing Spondylitis which typically results in Annulus Fibrosus Disci Intervertebralis (fibrous ring) of intervertebral disc to OSSIFY which results in the formation of marginal SYNDESMOPHYTES between adjoining vertebrae giving rise to BAMBOO SPINE type appearance of spine


Genetic Testing For Ankylosing Spondylitis

HLA B27 is a non specific test For Ankylosing Spondylitis

As although 90% of those who have AS are HLA B27positive(50% in african-americans and 80% in mediterrenean)

But it has seen in many ethnic group ;esp north scandivanian;that Only 2 % of total HLA B27 positive have AS

Blood Test for Ankylosing Spondylitis

There are no specific Blood Tests Available for AS except for general inflamatory indicators like ESR and CRP which are elevated and tend to increase further on acute episode

Radiological Investigation For Ankylosing Spondylitis

There are no specific Blood Tests Available for AS So its diagnosed based on typical radiological changes but it takes 8-10 years for the disease to become evident enough to establish diagnosis neither CT or MRI can evaluate the disease in early stages

Typical radiological features are:-

  • Axial Spondyloarthritis
  • Early Xray changes include erosion and sclerosis of sacroilliac joints
  • in later stage that erosion increases resulting in pseudo-widening of joint space and Bony Ankylosis
  • squaring of vertebrae with spine ossification with fibrous band running longitudinally called syndesmophyte giving a bamboo spine appearance

Now in case where there are no evident radiological signs it becomes difficult to establish diagnosis as there are no specific blood tests for AS. In such cases clinical features signs symptoms and other non specific blood tests are conducted to evaluate the probability of AS; they are :

  1. Chronic backache with insidious onset before age of 40yrs which has peculiar modalities- Aggravates on rest ;at night and Ameliorates on moderate movement ;exercise ; after getting up from bed in morning
  2. History of inflamatory arthritis or tendinitis
  3. Family history of axial Spondylosis
  4. Positive HLA B27
  5. Responds well to NSAIDs
  6. Elevated ESR and CRP
  7. Other accompaning conditions like IBS Uveitis psoriasis
  8. Schober’s test is a clinical performed during physical exam which is measure of flexion of lumbar spine.


BASDAI index score is an index which is based on multiple clinical radiological genetic and blood parameters which helps in establishing stage and diagnosis and determine type of management and treatment required


BASFI index to acess functional impairment



HUNCHED POSTURE is a severe complication of AS resulting due to complete spinal fusion leading to increased spinal KYPHOSIS which results into forwar and downward shift of Center of Mass to compensate it the knee flexes and ankle dorsiflexes.Their gait has a cautious pattern as they have reduced shock absorbing ability and cant see horizon.



Rhus tox is the most common homoeopathic medicine which is very valuable in case of Ankylosing spondylitis, and is useful in various kinds of pains. Rhus tox affects the multiple systems of the body indcluding spine, joints, extremities, skin and mucus membrrane. Patient usually presents with stiffness of back associated with restlessness, is the key indication of this remedy. Pains are aggravated after a period of inactivity. There is marked stiffness, lameness, and pain in the lumbosacral area of back and hips to thighs. Rheumatic pains spread over a large surface area at the nape of neck, back, loins extremities. The small of back aches while sitting. Painfull stiffness on rising from seat. We are led to think of this remedy where we find an irresistible desire to move or change the position constantly. After
resting for a while, when he wakes up and takes a first move, a painful stiffness is felt.


Cimicifuga racemosa is one of the indicated remedy for ankylosing spondylitis where there is marked stiffness in the neck area. The patient usually presents with excessive stiffness in the neck with severe pain. The neck muscles feel retracted, neck stiffness is worsened by cold air. The muscular and crampy pains are primilarily are of neurotic origin, occuring nearly in every part of the body. Pains of Cimicifuga are like that of electric shock, which come and go suddenly. Violent lightening type of pain in posterior spinal sclerosis, stiff neck from cold air. Sensitiveness of spine especially in cervical and upper dorsal region. Severe aching pain in lumbar and sacral region.


Kalmia is a great rheumatic remedy. Dr Hering introduced Kalmia into homeopathic practice, he himself and his friends being the first provers. Kalmia is one of tbe efficient remedy in ankylosing spondylosis cases where pain and stiffness are marked in lower back,lumbosacral region and neck area. The pains are accompanied with heat and burning in affected area. Pain is attended with excessive stiffness in neck. The pain from neck often radiates down the arms or scapula. Violent pains in the upper dorsal vertebrae. Constant pain in spine. Sensation as if spinal column would break with an anterior convexity and feeling of paralysis in saccrum.


Guaiacum is one of the Hahnemans antisporics, is one of the beat known remedies in rheumatism, gout, ankylosing spondylitis. There is Pressure on the vertebrae of the neck. Stiffness in the back, extending from neck to small of back and saccrum, intolearable on slightest motion. Indicated when there are contractive pains between the scapulae. Stiffness from neck may extend to shoulder blades and its painful. All pains are aggravated from motion and heat and relieved during rest.


Kali carbonicum is very useful in deep seated diseases lime Ankylosing spondylosis. Kali carb patient presents with severe back pain with stiffness. Small of back feels weak. There is marked Stiffeness and paralytic feeling in the back. Marked indication of kali carb is severe backache during pregnancy and after miscarriage. Burning in the spine. Lumbago with sudden, sharp pains extending up and down of back to thighs. Weakness caused by all potassium salts is more pronounced in this typical salt of potassium
group. Sharp stitching, stabbing pain felt in various parts of the body. Severe backache must lie down for relief.


Aesculus is one of the indicated remedy in ankylosing spondylitis. The main feature of Aesculus is matked pain in lumbosacral area of the back and hips with extreme stiffness. Pain from back radiates to thighs. Lameness in neck. Aching pain between the ahoulder blades, region of spine feels weak. Backache affecting saccrum and hips worse walking or stooping. When walking feet turn under. Rising from seat seems difficult, has to make repeated efforts. Severe pain in lumbosacral region making movement impossible.


Silicea is a very valuable remedy in case of spondylitis. The action of silicea is slow. In the proving it takes long time to develop symptoms. It is therefore suited to complaints which develop slowly. Presents with ankylosing spondylitis with stiffness in nape of neck with severe headache. Coccyx painful as after a long carriage ride. Weakness and paralytic stiffness in back, loins and nape of neck. Swelling and distortion of spine.Aching, shooting, burning and throbbing pain in lumbosacral region with contussive pain between shoulder blades.


Colocynth has a long lasting action on the spine and nerves. The main feature of colocynth is severe pain in the back which finally settes down on the upper part of thigh and buttock. Pain usually confines to small spot making the patient limp and finally becomes so severe that he can neither stand nor walk. Severe burning pain along the saccrum, cramps in hip. Feels better by doubling up, hard pressure and warmth.


Conium maculatum is deep acting antisporic remedy, its action disturbs almost all the tissues of the body. Very well indicated in ankylosing spondylitis of back, weakness is the most striking feature with dorsal pains. Effects of bruises and shocks to spine. After injuries especially in lumbar region. Severe rheumatic pains. The pains are relievex by putting feet on chair. Pain between the shoulder blades. Dull aching pain in lumbar and sacral region.


Calcarea phos is a great tissue remedy, though it resembles calcarea carb in many aspects but has its own characteristic symptoms. The spher of phosphate of lime includes all bone diseases whether due to some inherited dyscrasia or defective nutrition in osseous and other structures. It is.a bone salt.without this element no bone is formed, hence it is a valuable remedy. Patient usually presents with weakness of spine, there is curvature of spine towards left , lumbar vertebrae bent towards left. Soreness in sacro iliac symphysis. Rheumatic pains from draught of air with stiffness of neck and back.

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