Spondylitis is chronic inflammation of the spine (‘spondylos’ is Greek for ‘spine’). Ankylosing spondylitis is a chronic inflammation of the spine and sacroiliac joints which are located in the lower back where the sacrum (the bone directly above the tailbone) meets the iliac bones (the large bones of the pelvic girdle).
Chronic inflammation in these areas causes pain and stiffness in and around the spine. Over time, as inflammation subsides and healing takes place, bone grows out from both sides of the vertebrae and may lead to vertebrae fusing together – this stiffness, called ‘ankylosis’, leads to loss of spine mobility.
Indian Head Massage for Spondylitis Photo Gallery
Ankylosing spondylitis is also a systemic rheumatic disease, meaning it can affect tissues throughout the body. It can cause inflammation or injury to other joints away from the spine, as well as to organs, such as eyes, heart, lungs and kidneys. The condition predominantly affects young males. Symptoms include low backache, pain in buttocks and thighs, chest pain from joints between ribs and sternum, inflammation of iris of eye (red pupil), colitis and psoriasis.
Spondylosis is non-inflammatory degenerative (wear and tear) of the spinal column, such as degenerative disc disease. The discs between the vertebrae become narrower and osteophytes (extra bone growth on the edges of vertebrae which cause narrowing of nerve canals) form at the junction of the disc and vertebra. This can lead to stiffness and eventually, fixation of the joint. Narrowing of nerve canals puts pressure on nerve roots, leading to pain and tingling sensations. It commonly affects the neck (cervical spondylosis) in older people.
Note – Seek medical approval before treating anyone with these conditions. Avoid manipulating the neck as you may cause more damage. Ensure the client is comfortable during treatment.