Researchers found that acupuncture is effective for the treatment of a type of chronic inflammatory arthritis known as ankylosing spondylitis (AS). Ankylosing spondylitis commonly affects the spinal joints, pelvis, sacroiliac joints, eyes and intestines. Long-term, AS causes fusion of the anterior aspect of the spinal vertebrae. Ligaments and tendons are also affected and tendonitis may occur. This condition is both genetic and related to autoimmune dysfunction.
Ankylosing spondylitis is categorized in Traditional Chinese Medicine in several domains: lower back pain, kyphosis, spinal rigidity. In the advanced stages of the illness when bone fusion is present, it is categorized as bamboo spine.
The research finds that acupuncture needles applied to Du Meridian (along spine) combined with moxibustion therapy significantly reduce pain levels in ankylosing spondylitis patients.