Why Chiropractic Care is so Important for sufferers of Ankylosing Spondylitis 

If you suffer from Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) then you need to know about a study by Shaheed Shaikh, M.D., that proves that Chiropractors are pivotal in the early diagnosis of AS so that early treatment can be performed to slow down the progression of the disease.

Early Diagnosis of Ankylosing Spondylitis by a Chiropractor can make a long term difference.

Spondylitis is grossly under diagnosed in the early stages. On average it can take up to 8-11 years until a diagnosis is made. This equals years of suffering and progression for the individual. Diagnosis is made via X-ray and with advances in MRI can now be detected much earlier. A recent study indicates that Chiropractors play a pivotal role in early detection of Ankylosing Spondylitis using MRI. This is how it works. Traditionally, Ankylosing Spondylitis has been diagnosed using x-ray imaging to visualize the fusion of spinal segments. Now, MRI can show chiropractors, who are trained to look for it, the inflammation of the tissue that would end up causing the eventual fusion long before the fusion occurs. This early diagnosis can be a game changer for early treatment that can slow the progression and preserve quality of life for the person.

How is Ankylosing Spondylitis treated?

Chiropractic Care: Manipulation of the joints, especially during the early stage of AS, to keep them mobile and lubricated can significantly reduce pain. Chiropractic care can help keep the spine straighter over time preventing the degree of curvature that would lead to the stooped appearance as the disease progresses.

TENS Electrical Stimulation Therapy: Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) therapy can help reduce joint pain from the inflammation, especially in the morning. TENS works on the same principle as acupuncture, allowing for natural pain relievers of the body to be released into the system.

Food Sensitivity Testing & Gut Repair: Inflammation can be worsened by a sensitivity to foods that you may not even be aware of. IgG Food Testing can show you what foods are causing increased inflammation in your system that can be making your pain worse. Once you know which foods are creating more inflammation you can take those specific foods out of your diet without having to do an elimination diet of all foods. Dr. Cosmas Leigh, at Leigh Brain and Spine, says “Our patients feel much better overall once we do a gut repair through food sensitivity testing. Their pain decreases significantly and they are able to do the things they love again.”

Heat/Cold Therapy: Applying heat to areas of tenderness and soreness can make them feel better while cold can reduce inflammation and decrease pain.

Medications: Infliximab has been shown in a recent study to reduce inflammation and pain.

 What is Ankylosing Spondylitis?

Ankylosing Spondylitis therapy

Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) is an arthritis of the spine that can cause segments, called vertebrae, to fuse together over time. This results in a very rigid spine and can cause pain and stiffness for the sufferer. The pain can range from mild to severe and in more severe case can cause a stooped posture at the segments that are fused.

Dr. Cosmas Leigh at Leigh Brain and Spine, is very knowledgeable about the consequences of living with Ankylosing Spondylitis and how to prevent its progression.


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What does AS feel like?

Pain in the lower back, hips, and buttocks that gets worse with rest and better with movement.

 What are early signs of AS?

Early signs include pain and stiffness in the lower region of the back near the hip joints. The pain tends to worse while sitting or sleeping and improves with movement throughout the day. This is due to inflammation in the joints between the low back and the pelvis. This is called the sacroiliac joint.

How does this disorder progress?

As the inflammation progresses it begins to affect the segments of the spine and can affect the joints between the spine and ribs, making it hard to breathe. Other joints can be impacted as well such as the hips, shoulders, and sometimes the knees. As the disease advances people become susceptible to fractures of the vertebrae. 

What causes AS?

Ankylosing Spondylitis is an inflammatory disease and is systemic in nature, meaning it is not just reserved for a person’s back but can causes inflammation in other areas of the body as well. A person’s eyes tend to be susceptible to this inflammation

Who is at risk for AS?

Most commonly men in their teens to 30’s develop AS, although women can be affected too. People of Native American descent are at greater risk.

Is Ankylosing Spondylitis genetic?

People who carry the HLA-B27 gene are at greater risk for developing Ankylosing Spondylitis, however, just because you have his variation of the gene does not mean you will develop Ankylosing Spondylitis.

Can Ankylosing Spondylitis be cured?

No, there is no way to cure Ankylosing Spondylitis, but specialized treatments are available to slow the progression and significantly reduce the pain and stiffness that results.

There is no cure for ankylosing spondylitis, but treatments can lessen your symptoms and possibly slow the progression of the disease.