Ankylosing spondylitis causes are the topics of heated debate in many medical circles. AS is difficult to positively identify in many patients, especially during the preliminary stages of the disease. Although officially classified as an idiopathic inflammatory syndrome, much research has been done into the pathology of ankylosing spondylitis, providing scientists with some clues about its true nature. However, even with the latest data available, the schools of thought are sharply divided, especially among those who maintain there is a definitive physical causation as opposed to an interactive mindbody origin.
Since no theory of causation is universally applicable or accepted, this discussion provides a contrasting analysis of the most common reasons which are suspected of causing spondylitis in the spine.
There are several genetic and chemical clues found in many AS patients. It has long been speculated that a genetic predisposition is the main driving facet to developing ankylosing spondylitis. This contributory gene has been identified as HLA-B27. However, some patients break the mold and do not show these same DNA markers. Furthermore, most patients who do display identical gene coding do not get AS. Research shows there are far more people without AS who do have the HLA-B27 gene, although most people with AS also demonstrate its existence in their particular anatomies.
There are certain theories about particular genes or bodily chemicals reacting with various bacteria which may have been associated with exposure in certain patients. However, medical technicians have not been able to verify any reaction to these bacteria, even when exposure is known to exist. Therefore, it is not presently known why some people with HLA-B27 get spondylitis, but most will not develop it now or ever.
It is well known that ankylosing spondylitis is an autoimmune disease, much akin to rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, gout and Lyme disease. In these cases, the body turns on itself and begins to destroy its own healthy tissues.
Why this occurs is puzzling to doctors, but a psychosomatic causation has been brought to the table on many occasions. While it may be impossible to prove this theory in the lab, research has shown that patients in tune with mindbody processes can effectively treat and even resolve symptoms of all these conditions using purely psychoemotional treatments, such as knowledge therapy.
I am inclined to believe that ankylosing spondylitis, like other autoimmune disorders, may well be the result of both physical and psychoemotional contributors. Some mindbody medicine purists believe that AS is yet another ultra severe expression of tension myositis syndrome, particularly in cases where symptoms are aggressive for a time and then completely resolve.
Ankylosing spondylitis stands a very good chance of never being completely understood. It is a highly variable condition which takes such different paths in individual sufferers, making it even more likely to have a significant psychological component. Understanding the link between the mind and body is well documented to be beneficial to patients with virtually any problematic health condition, from back pain to cancer to AIDS.
The mind and body work together to create and resolve all matters of health and disease, so it is entirely possible that AS is merely an extremely virulent form of mindbody pain syndrome. However, the physical possibilities for causation can not be ruled out either.