What is Ankylosing Spondylitis?
Ankylosing Spondylitis (or AS) is an inflammatory arthritis that affects the joints. Primarily the spine and pelvis, but it can also affect other joints, such as the wrists and ankles, and in rare instances organs such as the heart, lungs, and intestines. Most cases typically present with bouts of pain and stiffness followed by periods of remission.
What causes AS?
There is no definitive cause of AS. There has been a genetic link found in recent years with the gene HLA-B27. As the disease progresses, new bone forms at areas of inflammation in an attempt to heal the area causing fusion of joints.
Onset is usually in young adulthood between the ages of 17-45. It is more common in men, and those with a family history of the disease as there is a genetic link.
Is there a cure?
AS is a chronic, degenerative disease that currently has no cure. Western Medicine treatment typically involved the continuous use of NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). Catching the disease early is very important for treatment. With proper diet, exercise and in some cases physical therapy, the disease can be managed.
Diet: Eating a low inflammatory diet is very important. You can undergo a blood test that will help you identify any food allergies you may have. Food allergies can be unexpressed, or mild in symptoms and you may not have a anaphylactic reaction to them. So, testing is an important step. There are also certain foods that can create inflammation in the body and should be avoided.
Exercise: The goal when exercising as therapy for AS, is the maintain posture and joint flexibility. Exercises such as Yoga can help avoid complications with curvature of the spine, and can help keep joints open.
Surgery: In extreme cases surgery may the last option in the form of joint replacements,, or correction of spinal curvature. Surgery is risky and should be used as a last resort.
So, where does Acupuncture fit into the picture?
Other therapies such as Massage, Tui-Na, Acupuncture, Moxibution and Electro-Acupuncture can offer relief from pain, and decrease inflammation in the body.
A meta-analysis published in the Archives of Internal Medicine concluded that, "Acupuncture is effective for the treatment of chronic pain and is therefore a reasonable referral option."
When we are treating a client with Acupuncture for inflammatory arthritic conditions such as AS, we are treating the body as a whole. We are treating any imbalanced that may be attributing to bouts of inflammation and we are treating acute flare ups with Acupuncture Needles, Electro-Acupuncture and Moxibustion. All of these have different effects on the body.
Acupuncture: depending on the presentation points will be selected that balance the immune system response, reduce inflammation and easy pain. Acupuncture causes neuropeptide release from nerve endings which subsequently have vasodilative and anti-inflammatory effects through the calcitonin gene-related peptide. 
Electro-Acupuncture TENS: Electro-Acupuncture significantly increases the plasma levels of natural corticosterone, and suppresses inflammation by activating the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA) and the nervous system.5]
Moxibustion: With Arthritis moxibustion at BL 23 can lighten local inflammation, eliminate swelling, prevent and/or reduce polyarthritises. It can help with recovery and promote the effects of concanavalin, inducing splenic lymphocyte proliferation 
References and Studies