By Camellia Pratt
Definition: (Marie Stumpel disease) fixation of joint, often in abnormal position.
-Chronic inflammatory disease of unknown origin.
This disease first affects the spine and adjacent structures and commonly progresses to eventual fusion (ankylosis) of the involved joints. In extreme cases the patient develops a forward flexion of the spine, called a "bamboo spine". The disease affects primarily males under 30 years of age and generally burns itself out after a course of 20 years. In addition to spine, joints of hips & shoulders, the neck, ribs and jaw are often involved. Patient may have difficulty expanding the rib cage to breathe. Environmental and hereditary tendencies may be factors in this disease.
X- ray must confirm diagnosis. The earliest abnormalities occur in the sacroiliac joints and include pseudo-widening or narrowing from subchandral erosions sclerosis. Early changes in the spine are diffuse vertebral squaring and demineralization, spotty ligamentous calcification, and one or two evolving syndesmyphytes.
The E.S.R. is mildly elevated in most patients with active disease, as are other acute phase reactants such as serum IgA levels. Notably negative are tests for both IgM rheumatoid factor and anti nuclear anti-bodies. A positive test for HLA-B27 is usual, but not specific. A negative test is more useful in excluding AS than a positive test is, in diagnosing it.
To reduce pain and inflammation in the involved joints, usually with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Physical therapy aids in keeping the spine as erect as possible to prevent flexion contracture. In advanced cases surgery may be performed to straighten a badly deformed spine.
Radiotherapy to the spine, while effective, is recommended only as a last resort, as the result of subsequent acute myelogenous leukemia is increased 10 fold.
As characterized by mild or moderate flares of active spondylitis alternating with almost or totally inactive periods, so that in the majority with proper treatment minimal or no disability results and patients lead full productive lives. Occasionally, the course is severe and progressive, resulting in pronounced incapacitating deformities. The prognosis is bleak also for patients with refractory irites and for the rare patient who develops secondary amyloidosis- accumulation in the tissues of various insoluble fibrillar proteins (amyloidal) in amounts sufficient to impair normal function.
Alternative practitioners have successfully treated AS with various means. They advocate identifying gut problems first. Test stool sample and scrapings to identify amoebic, bacterial, fungal or other parasitic problems.
Alan R. Gaby has treated AS by identifying food allergies. Some have found digestive enzymes would help the condition. Researchers at King College Hospital in London have found a link between AS and bowel dysbiosis (incursion or overgrowth by undesirable bacteria) in this case Klebsiella. The hospital put patients on a low starch diet and the disease process halted. Leon Chaitow, N.D. of London, England feels an overgrowth of Candida Albicans ( also involved in creating damage to the GI tract), which allows klebsiella bacteria to enter the blood stream, is the main culprit.
It has generally been thought by Western Herbalists that it is caused by a build up of uric acid in the body. By using diuretic detoxicants that remove uric acid, urea and other toxic metabolites (by increasing renal efficiency), this disease can be halted, and sometimes reversed. Examples are Silver Birch Leaf, Pipsissewa or Wintergreen herb, Red Clover Flower, Juniper Berry, Horsetail Herb and Cowslip Root.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, there has been success treating this disease. Herbs for replenishing kidney essence can raise body resistance, promote metabolism, regulate the immune system, and correct adverse reactions to corticosteroids. In the Standards of Diagnosis & Treatment (1602) it states "In back-ache, wind, dampness, cold, heat, sprain, stasis of blood, stagnation of Qi, accumulations are all the manifestation, the root is always kidney deficiency". By making a T.C.M. differentiating diagnosis, practitioners can choose the best method of applying acupuncture, moxibustion, herbs, Qigong or massage. In the case of cold and damp invasion using acupuncture, use an even method with local points being primary ones in relation to distal ones. Si3 Houxi & BL62 ShenMai combo- opens the Du Channel to strengthen spine and tonify kidney. This is more effective if the ache starts on one side only, otherwise use other points. If the pain radiates outward toward the hip in a man use Shenmai Bl 62, first then Houxi Si3, on the right side, (opposite for women) which opens the yang heel vessel. Bl 60, Kunlun is an important distal pt. for chronic back pain in chronic cases and is used to replace WeiZhong Bl 40, which may sometimes aggravate backache if used. Kunlun also affects upper back and neck. K 4, Da Zhong is good if there is underlying kidney deficiency, & simultaneously tonifies kidney and affects bladder. SI 3 TaiBai influences spine, is good to select in chronic backache with obvious scoliosis of the spine. Du 20 BaiHai is used when there is pain in the lower part of lumbar spine and affects Du channel. H 7 Shenmen affects the back indirectly because of relation with kidney channel (lesser Yin), relieves backache by calming mind, relieves spasms, especially indicated in tense men with wiry fine pulse.
It is beneficial to treat and select points for general condition underlying back problem. Treat spleen to affect back muscles, the liver to affect the vertebrae ligaments, and cartilage and kidney to affect bones. Local point in chronic backache should be selected according to tenderness on pressure but Bl 23 Shenshu should be used in every case. Other important points are: Bl 26- GuanYuanShu, ShiQiZhuiXia, Bl 54- Zhi Bian if the pain radiates to the buttocks. TunZhong (extra) is effective for pain in buttocks that also radiates to the leg. YaoYan (extra) in depression lateral to the interspace between spinous process L4 -L5. This is a good local point for backache. In cases of Kidney Yang deficiency moxabustion is effective over Bl 26 and ShiQiZhuiXia
Herbal treatments that have been effective are:
For damp cold invading back channels -GAN JIAN LING ZHU TANG (modified)
1. Zhi Gan Cao & Gan Jiang expel cold and warm the center.
2. Fu Ling, Bai Zhu dry dampness, tonify spleen, and resolve dampness.
3. Gui zhi & Nui Xi benefit the channels and sinews and expel cold.
4. Du Zhong, Sang Ji Sheng & XuDuan tonify kidney yang. strengthen the lower back and benefit sinews and bones.
If damp heat invades the back channel use modified SI MIAO SAN
1. Cang Zhu, huang Bo, Miu Xi, YiYiRen resolves damp heat in the lower part of the body.
2. Wei Ling Xian and Hai Tong Pi expel wind damp from channels.
For stagnation of Qi and Blood use modified SHEN TONG ZHU YU TANG.
1. Dang GUI. Chuan Xiong. TaoRen and Hong Hua nourish harmonize and move the blood.
2. Mo Yao and Wu Ling Zhi move blood. eliminate stasis and stop pain.
3. Xiang Fu moves qi and stops pain
4. Nui Xi moves blood. tonifies liver and kidney. benefits sinews and bones and strengthens the lower back
5. Di Long expels wind damp and pain
6.Gan Cao harmonizes
7. Qiang huo and Qin Jiao have been eliminated from the original formula, which was for pain all over the body. Qiang Huo treats mostly the upper part of the body while the present variations are directed at the lower part.
With Kidney deficiency use DU HUO JI SHENG TANG
1. Du Huo expels wind damp, benefits the tendons, acts primarily on the lower part of the body.
2. Xi Xin scatters cold from the channels.
3.Fang Feng Qin Jiao expels wind and drains damp.
4. Sang Ji Sheng. Du Zhong and NiuXi nourish liver and kidney and benefits tendons and bones.
5. Dang Gui. Chuan Xiong. sheng Di huang. and Bai Shao nourish and harmonize blood, help to expel wind according to the principle that in order to expel wind it is necessary to harmonize blood.
6. Ren Shen and Fu Ling tonify qi and strengthen the spleen.
7. Rou Gui scatters cold and enters the blood vessels.
8. Gan Cao helps to tonify qi and harmonizes the actions of the other herbs.
With kidney yin deficiency use Zuo Gui Wan
1. Shu Di Huang Shan Yao, Shan Zhu Yu and Gui Ban Jiao nourishes kidney yin.
2. Gou Qi Zi nourishes blood and yin.
3. Niu Xi moves the blood and nourishes liver and kidney.
4. Tu Si Zi and Lu Jiao tonifies kidney yang.
Lu, male 34 years old. Five years ago, the patient began to experience aching in the spine associated with general weakness and lassitude. Over a period of 3 years, the pain gradually increased. The patient noticed that his spine protruded backward, and that there was difficulty in expanding the chest, and in bending forward. The condition worsened until he was unable to lie on his back. He was X-rayed at another hospital and the condition was diagnosed as ankylosing spondylitis. Various therapies were administered over the course of about 6 months, including periarticular block with steroids, oral administration of both Chinese herbs and western anti-inflammatory drugs, physical therapy and acupuncture. However, there was no improvement, and the patient was referred to this clinic.
Examination found that the patient lacked spirit, and had a lusterless face. He complained of pain in the back that radiated to the sides of the ribcage. There was marked tenderness over the spinous processes of the 5th through 12th thoracic vertebrae. The patient was bent forward, and full extension of the spine was impossible. He was unable to sleep when the pain was severe.
Accompanying symptoms included dizziness, decreased appetite, fatigue, thirst without desire to drink, and clear, copious urine. The tongue was pale, with tooth marks along the edges, and the coating was thin and white. The pulse was thin and wiry.
Laboratory tests showed Hgb 8.6, ESR 46 mm/hr, and antistreptolysin '˜0' titer less than 500 units. Otherwise, the blood tests were normal. Urinalysis and body temperature were also normal. X-ray findings of the heart and lungs were negative. X-ray of the thoracic spine showed blurring of the apophysical joints from the 6th through the 11th thoracic vertebrae, with generalized demineralization of their bodies, but no erosion.
The kidney controls the bones. When the Kidney is deficient, the bones are susceptible to invasion by external pathogenic influences. The Spleen and Stomach are the source of Qi and Blood. When the Spleen is deficient, the normal Qi will likewise be deficient, since it depends upon the nourishment of Qi and Blood. This also renders the body susceptible to invasion by external pathogenic influences. In this patient, the lusterless face, dizziness, reduced appetite, pain in the back, clear and copious urine, fatigue, pale tongue and thin pulse were all evidence of deficiencies of both the Kidney and the Spleen.
Deficiency of normal Qi led to invasion by Wind, Cold and Dampness. These pathogenic influences invaded the Governing vessel and Bladder channel, since this was the area in which the symptoms appeared. Because of deficiency of the Kidney, the vertebrae were specifically affected. With the flow of Qi and Blood obstructed in these two channels, pain and limited back motion resulted.
Treatment: Points selected: GV-14 (da Zhui); B-17(ge shu); B-20 (pi shu); B-23 (shen shu); R-6 (qi hai); S-36 (zusan li); Sp-6 (san yin jiao)
The points were needled once daily, and the needles retained for 20 minutes. The treatments comprised 1 course of therapy, with 2-3 days rest between courses. Tonifying manipulation was applied at all points except GV-14 (da zhui), where balanced tonifying-draining manipulation was used.
Discussion of points:
GV-14 (da zhui) intersect with all the Yang channels of the leg and arm. Since the bladder channel and Governing vessel are Yang channels, and because the condition appeared along the course of the Governing Vessel, GV-14 (da zhui) was chosen in order to clear the channels and restore the flow of Qi. B-17 (ge shu) is the meeting point of Blood, needling his point promotes the circulation of Blood, and thus relieves pain. B-20 (pi shu) and B-23 (shenshu) are the associated points on the back for the Spleen and Kidney respectively. When stimulated, both Organs are strengthened, which in turn strengthens the bones and sinews.
R-6 (qi hai) is the '˜sea' in which Qi is produced. In this case, it was needled to strengthen the deficient Kidney. (R-4 [guan yuan] could also have been used.) S-36 (zu san li) is a point which is commonly used for tonifying deficient conditions. Sp-6 (san yin jiao) is noted for its effect in strengthening the Spleen, tonifying the Kidney and resolving Dampness. The combined use of these three points were intended to tonify both the Blood and Qi.
After 30 treatments, some improvement was noticed, particularly in the patient's general condition. He appeared to be more spirited, slept better, and had a better appetite. The back pain was also somewhat alleviated; ESR was 32 mm/hr. The tongue and pulse remained about the same as before.
In order to hasten the restoration of channel flow and stop the pain, the following points were added: B-11[da zhu]; M-BW-35 [jai ji] from the 5th to the 12 thoracic vertebrae. B-11[da zhu] was chosen because it is the meeting point of the bones. The vertebral points M-BW-35 [jia ji] are local points adjacent to the affected area, and were used to promote the flow of qi. Balanced tonifying-draining manipulation was applied at these points; manipulation remained the same at the other points in the prescription. Treatment was administered once every other day.
After another two months of treatment, marked improvement was observed. The complexion became ruddy, and the dizziness disappeared. The pain in the spine was substantially reduced, and the difficulty in bending forward and expanding the chest was no longer noticeable. Laboratory tests then showed that Hgb had increased to 10.2 g, and ESR was reduced to 24mm/hr. The tongue was redder, and the pulse was moderate. It was evident that the normal Qi was being restored, and that the pathogenic influences were declining.
Efforts were then concentrated on relieving the stiffness and pain in the spine. The following prescription was used: B-11 [da zhu]; GV-14 [da zhui]; GV-10[ling tai]; GV-9 [zhi yang]; GV-11 [shenm dao]; GV-8 [jin suo]; GV-7 [zhong shu]; GV-6 [ji zhong], M-BW-35 [jia ji] from the 5th to the 12 thoracic vertebrae. These points were chosen in order to continue to promote the flow of Qi and Blood in the Governing vessel. Treatment was administered once every other day, and balanced tonifying-draining manipulation was applied at all points.
After another two months of treatment with this modified prescription, the pain subsided, and free motion of the back was restored. ESR was reduced to 10 mm/hr. The patient was followed up for one year, with no recurrence of symptoms.
(Stubborn Arthralgia) Zhao Runlai, Qi Van and Wei Beihai
Beijing Traditional Chinese Medicine Hospital, Beijing
Yan. 35. Male. Married. Cadre. Date of first consultation: April 19, 1986.
CHIEF COMPLAINT: Intermittent lumbosacral pain and stabbing pain in the neck associated with limited movement of the spine and extremities of 10 years duration.
HISTORY OF PRESENT ILLNESS: In winter of 1971, the patient's knee joints suddenly developed sharp pain. He was treated as a case of "acute rheumatic fever" in hospital. Treatment then afforded him relief from the symptoms. Two years later, he felt stiffness in the lumbosacral region, backache and limited spine movement. A diagnosis of "rheumatoid spondylitis" was given based on X-ray analysis of the lumbar and sacroiliac joints. The patient received treatment in the forms of anti-rheumatics, herbal medicine, acupuncture and massage, but no satisfactory result was achieved. In July of 1985, the condition worsened with severe neck pain and limitation of spine movement. Temporary relief was obtained when he was given dexamethasone. The dosage needed to continue to afford relief, had to be steadily increased, and side effects started to appear.
At the time of present consultation, the patient complained of persistent stabbing pain in his spine and limited movement, more marked in the cervical and lumbar sections. General fatigue, sweating and morning stiffness were pronounced. His face and back were fat and hirsute. Condition usually exacerbated during night time and cold weather. The daily requirement of dexamethasone now was 0.75 mg x 6 together with nine tablets of tripterygium hypoglaucum. His right ankle was swollen. The condition had progressed to such an extent that the pain was too severe to bear and he was unable to care for himself.
PERTINENT PHYSICAL EXAMINATION & LABORATORY FINDINGS: Temperature, 36°C; blood pressure, 130/70 mmHg. Lethargic, chronic, morbid fancies, moon-shaped face and buffalo back. Passive posture. No jaundice. No enlarged superficial lymph node. Head normal, chest flat, expansion in the fourth intercostal space was 2.5 cm, heart and lung negative. Abdomen soft, liver and spleen not palpable. Loss of physiological spine curvature with arch-shaped deformation and limited movement. Internal and external rotation of both iliac joints limited. Movement of the extremities passive. Right ankle swollen, not callus, but tender.
Cervical (CI-C7) X-ray showed calcification of the lower cervical Para vertebral ligament without changes in the intervertebral space and the physiological curvature. Thoracolumbar (T7-L3 ) X-ray showed calcification of the Para vertebral ligaments and a bamboo-shaped spinal column. The physiological curvature flattened with blurring of the intervertebral facets. Osteoporotic changes of the vertebrae. Pelvic X-ray showed fusion of both the sacroiliac joint spaces with small transparent ,areas in the sacrum.
RBC. 4.07M/mm; haemoglobin. 13.3 gm%; WBC. 11,300/mm; neutrophiles, 84%; lymphocytes, 16%;. ESR, 60 mm/hr, RF, (-). Immunoglobulin normal. ECG normal. HLA-B27 ( + ).
INSPECTION OF TONGUE: Enlarged and dark tongue with white, thin coating.
PULSE CONDITION: Deep and fine.
MODERN MEDICINE DIAGNOSIS: Ankylosing Spondylitis.
TRADITIONAL CHINESE MEDICINE DIAGNOSIS: Wan Bi (Stubborn Arthralgia ).
SYMPTOM COMPLEX DIFFERENTIATION: Insufficiency of Kidney Essence; stagnation of Phlegm and Blood.
THERAPEUTIC PRINCIPLES: Replenish Essence to tonify Kidney, relieve pain by dissolving Phlegm and remove Blood stasis and obstruction of the Channels.
Rhizome Cibotii, 30 gms. Tonifies liver & Kidney & strengthens sinews and bones. Expels Wind & dampness, stabilizes Kidneys
Semen Cuscutae, 45 gms Tonifies Kidney, benefits Essence, Benefits Spleen, Kidney, and stops diarrhoea [builds sperm]
Radix dipsacii, 45 gms; Tonifies Liver & Kidney, strengthen sinews & bones, Promotes circulation of Blood
Rhizome drynariae, 30 grms;
Radix rehmanniae praeparatae, 60 grm; Tonifies blood, nourished Yin
Radix Paeoniae alba 30 grms; Nourishes blood, pacifies Liver & Alleviated pain, Restrain Yin & adjusts Nutritive & Protective levels
Radix paeoniae rubra 30 grms invigorates blood & dispels congealed blood, clears heat & cools blood, Clears Liver fire.
Radix angelicae sinensis 45 grms tonifies blood, invigorates and harmonizes blood, moisten intestines and moves stool
Olibanum, 30 grms Invigorates blood, promotes circulation of Qi, releases sinews, activates channels, and alleviates pain. Reduces swelling and promotes healing.
Resina commiphora myrrha, 30 grms Invigorates blood, dispels congealed blood, reduces swelling, alleviates pain & promotes healing
Agkistrodon, 30 grms; Powerfully activated channels, extinguishes wind, expels wind from skin & sinews
Squama Manitis, 30 grms Disperses congealed blood , reduces swelling, expels wind dampness from channels
Spina Gleditsia, 45 grms; Disperse & expel Phlegm, open orifices, awaken spirit
Semen Sinapis alba 30 grms; Expels Phlegm, circulates & Warms lung qi, dissipates nodules, reduces swelling & alleviates pain.
Hirudo, 30 grms Breaks up, drives out congealed blood, reduces immobile masses
Scolopendra, 20 pieces; Extinguishes wind suppresses spasms, attacks poison and dissipates nodules
Colla cornus cervi, 30 grms Tonifies Kidneys, fortifies Yang, tonifies Du Mo, benefits essence and blood, strengthens sinews, bones and Dai Mo. Tonifies/Nourishes Qi & Blood
Colla plastrum testudinis, 30 grms; Nourishes Yin and settles Yang, Benefits Kidneys & strengthens bones. Cools blood, Add appropriate amount of pig spinal cord. Ground ingredients into powder and mixed with honey, made into 10 gm. Pellets. One pellet twice a day. Maintained the dosage of dexamethasone. The patient was asked to follow this therapeutic regimen for two months.
FOLLOW-UP/COURSE OF TREATMENT:
Second consultation on September 17, 1986: Marked improvement was observed with amelioration of pain and increasing freedom of spinal movement. Stiffness and soreness in the mid-section still present. ESR, 18 mm/hr. Dosage of dexamethasone was 0.75 mg x 4 daily and was reduced progressively. Tripterygium hypoglaucum discontinued.
Third consultation on January 2, 1987: Further improvement observed. Pellets were continued. Dexamethasone was on its maintenance dose (0.75 mg daily). No pain or other discomfort was noticed. Spinal movement tended to be normal. The patient was able to move actively. Swelling and tenderness had disappeared from his right ankle. Signs of moon-shaped face and buffalo back were remitting. The patient was vigorous and had a good appetite and enjoyed normal sleep. He was able to go back to work.
Fourth consultation on May 24, 1987: Disappearance of moon-shaped face and buffalo back and absence of discomfort made him a healthy person again. Mild soreness along the spinal column felt only during weather changes. X-ray film of the spinal column showed no deterioration from previous examination. ESR, 15 mm/hr. The patient was advised to take the pellets for another two months, then discontinue dexamethasone.
Follow-up on March, 1988: Medications discontinued. The patient was able to work without any discomfort.
DISCUSSION: Ankylosing spondylitis is a chronic progressive disease of the joints involving mainly the spinal column. It manifests clinically as pain and deformation of the spine. The involved joints tend to develop stiffness. It was categorized into arthralgia in traditional Chinese medicine and is closely related to the Bone and Kidney according to TCM teachings.
The Kidney stores the essence of life and dominates the bones. Kidney essence is of highest importance in promoting growth and development. If the bones are filled and nourished by marrow produced and supplied by the Kidney, then the functional activity of the bones and muscles can be well maintained.
The onset of this disease is usually characterized by lumbosacral pain and stiffness. As the disease progresses, it advances in a cephalic direction to the thoracic and cervical vertebrae. Movement of the back becomes limited. The waist is the residence of the Kidney and the Du channel passes along the spine upward to the top of the head. Insufficiency of Kidney essence leads to emptiness of the Du Channel. Pain in the spinal cord caused by obstruction of the Channels is often associated with invading exogenous evils, trauma and fatigue. Wind, Cold and noxious Dampness prevail, while body resistance weakens. Joints, muscles and bones are compromised, because the stagnation prevents them from being nourished properly, i.e., Blood and Phlegm in the Channels. TCM theory believes that 'emaciated patients must be treated with Qi- tonifying herbs to promote digestion; patients with deficiency of essence should be treated with animal or plant food or herbs rich in nutrients." Using "flesh and blood" food to nourish the body and 'insect and ant" medications to search out the evil in the body, we treated the case with medications, which strengthen the body resistance and dredge the stagnated Channels.
During the course of treatment, Radix rehmanniae praeparatae, Colla plastri testudinis, Rhizoma cibotii, Semen cuscutae, Radix dipsaciae and Rhizoma drynariae were used to tonify the Liver and Kidney and strengthen the muscles and bones; Radix paeoniae, Radix rehmanniae praeparatae and Radix angelicae sinensis to enrich the Blood; and Agkistrodon, Squama manitis, Scolopendra and Hirudo to dispel Blood stasis and promote the Channels. In addition, pig spinal cord was used to supplement the marrow and nourish the Kidney essence. Colla cornus cervi not only nourished the Kidney essence but also tonified the Du Channel.
Genetic factors, infection and auto-immunity are thought to be contributory to the pathogenesis of ankylosing spondylitis. Ankylosing spondylitis is a chronic inflammatory disease involving primarily the sacroiliac and apophyseal joints, intervertebral ligaments and tendovaginae. Adjacent cartilages and bones might also be destroyed with the formation of new bones. To date, there is no treatment of choice in modern medicine to effectively control the disease. Non-steroid, anti-inflammatory drugs are the drugs of choice to relieve pain. In unresponsive cases, analgesia can be afforded by corticosteroids, which, however, often cause severe and adverse side effects.
Chinese herbal medicine is of great importance in treating this disease. Herbs for replenishing Kidney essence can raise body resistance, promote metabolism, regulate the immune system and correct the adverse reactions to corticosteroids. Radix angelicae sinensis, Radix paeoniae. Hirudo, Scolopendra and Agkistrodon promote Blood circulation and disperse inflammation. Colla cornus cervi, which contains a large amount of ossein and Ca. ++, plays an important role in preventing bone destruction. Therefore, this comprehensive approach consisting of replenishing Kidney essence, regulating the Du Channel and relieving pain by dispelling Blood stasis and Channel obstruction was obviously an effective therapeutic regimen.
Ron, male, age 51, in 1980 diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis. X-ray reveals rib cage and spine was fused, hips were in process of being fused. Was on Surgam (anti-inflammatory) and Feldene (Anti-inflammatory.) Was allergic to Feldene, but had to take it until eyes and nose ran; then onto Surgam until eyes and nose cleared up. Had tried all anti-inflammatory, but adverse affects with all of them. Developed pulmonary fibrosis and advised to move to a cold dry climate (Fort Nelson, BC) Had chronic indigestion from anti-inflammatory, and sinuses had soured. Sinus linings were removed and grew back in too thin, patient advised he can never fly. Short of breath, fatigued, & irritable, could only sleep for two hours at a time. Had to move constantly or stiffened up.
In 1992, my husband's health was deteriorating, and I decided I must do some reading to try to find a folk remedy. During a trip to the interior of BC, we stopped into see a herbalist/ iridologist trained by Wild Rose Natural Healing School. He told us that Ron was not building bone, but that it was Uric acid and could be dissolved with Dandelion Tea.
My husband used Dandelion Root tea, and the fusing stopped and disappeared in his rib cage. An x-ray of his rib cage previously showed no demarcation between the ribs and he was unable to expand his chest to breathe deeply. To measure his stoop, the Rheumatologist would stand him next to a wall with his heels butted against the baseboard, and measure how far his head was from the wall. He was at 17 cm's, started with the dandelion tea, and went down to 11 cm's. He had been unable to bend laterally, or to run his hands down the sides of his legs. After the dandelion tea, he was able to bend and breathe. His Rheumatologist stated 'we must have measured this wrong, this is irreversible'. After one treatment of Acupuncture his stoop was reversed down to 4 cm's. (That was what started me on my journey to learning about alternative health). My husband's prescriptions were literally killing him and herbs worked, so we switched.
My husband had to go to Vancouver twice a year to see the Rheumatologist, and during those visits he complained about the lower back pain he was suffering, and how it radiated to the front of the body. The Rheumatologist would just up the dose of Surgam and let him go on his way. During a trip to Vancouver, when I was along, we stopped in to see a family friend, an MD and I quietly asked him to check on my husband's prostate. The exam revealed an abnormality and we discovered Ron had stage 3 Large C. prostate cancer. The Oncologist told him he had not seen a case as severe as that for over 15 years, and why didn't he complain about the pain??? The cancer had escaped the gland. But that is another story. All men over the age of 40 need to have the prostate examined yearly and if they have a medical condition they need an exam every 6 months. [Recommendations from the Oncologist]
Merck Manual sixteenth edition
Mosby's Medical. Nursing. & Allied Health Dictionary- 4th edition
Alternative Medicine (The Definitive Guide- The Burton Goldberg group