Spondylitis is an inflammation of one or more human vertebrae which reduces the joint space and, in turn, compresses the peripheral nerve. The stiffness and the immobility of the spine also increase if the condition does not come under control and slowly degenerative changes continue to occur. These two disorders, commonly referred to as Spondylitis are not normally differentiated. The common age group suffering from this condition is middle age or people who are engaged in prolonged sitting jobs.
There are three major types of Spondylitis. These are as follows:
1. Cervical Spondylitis
It is characterised by pain and spasm of muscle in upper back, back of the neck and back of the head. There is stiffness in the neck region, restricting the movements of the neck and head. It causes gradual degenerative process or wear and tear of the joints, bones, muscles and ligaments of the neck. The usual cause for Cervical Spondylitis is osteo-arthritis of the vertebral bones in the neck region. It might have developed after whiplash injury in the past. Precipitating cause may be the habit of using thick pillow during sleep. Similarly sitting on table job in an improper posture also may lead to cervical Spondylitis. Tension headache, restriction of neck movements from stiffness and pain in the neck region are the main symptoms for this kind of spondylitis.
2. Lumbar Spondylitis
Degenerative changes take place at lumbar region i.e. in lower back leading to nerve compression. Degenerative changes gives rise to narrowing of the disc space that can also occur due to accidental injuries, compressing the nerve root, spasm of the muscles of the lower back region leads to bad posture, which in turn aggravates the spasm further. There is a pain in the lumbar region. Restriction of forward bending of the back, heaviness, numbness, cramps in legs and tingling sensation results from compression of the spinal nerve are the signs of Lumbar spondylitis. Inability to walk for long distance, inability to stand or sit for long time compels one to restrict all the activities.
3. Ankylosing Spondylitis
It usually leads to total stiffness of the back restricting all movements due to pain. This condition also occurs in the middle aged people. Exact cause is not known but usually weak muscles of the back, constant wrong sitting posture, heredity, extra calcium intake, lack of exercise or movements are blamed to produce this disability. Stiff back leads to inability to turn the neck and therefore patient has to turn whole body to look back. Pain persists in upper / lower and /or middle back. Patient is unable to sit, stand or even sleep comfortably for a long time due to pain and heaviness in legs.
The different kinds of spondylitis can be treated by practicing yoga. The yoga asanas can strengthen the back muscles and to improve their flexibility. Asanas provide natural traction. It helps to reduce the pain caused by compression of the nerve root. The selection from the following asanas is advised according to the site of the defect. Pavana muktasana
, Ardha-halasana, Setubandh-asana, Naukasana
, Makarasana, Niralambasana, Ardha-shalabhasana, Vakrasana, Brahma Mudra, Parvatasana, Bhadrasana, Yogamudra, Shashankasana, Chakrasana
, Supta-tadasana are instrumental in treating spondylitis. Besides these there are kriyas
, like, agnisara. Anuloma-Viloma and the chanting of Om mantra also helps in controlling spondylitis.