My Ankylosing Spondylitis story
After a terrible nine months of pain and immobility, I have been diagnosed with an autoimmune / arthritic condition called Ankylosing Spondylitis. AS is deemed an autoimmune condition whereby the immune system attacks the joints or rather the sites where joints meet cartilage called the enthesis. The pain which at times rendered me pretty much immobile started in my sacroiliac joints (SIJ) as it often does with this disease. It then progressed into my thoracic spine and then into my neck and TMJ, and lastly, the inflammation went into my right eye. The condition had me visit A&E several times in 2019 before my official diagnosis. The pain was often unbearable, it affected my breathing, my ability to walk and stand, I also suffered from terrible debilitating fatigue.
Months of research
My experience has prompted months of research into this condition specifically but a lot of the information I have gathered is applicable for other autoimmune conditions also. Using my knowledge as a therapist I have developed a treatment protocol that is gradually working for me. I am currently not taking any prescription medications, function is returning very slowly to my joints and both my Rheumatologist and Physiotherapist confirm that my range of movement is very good. I work at this daily, however, with my diet and my exercise and stretching routines, my sleep regime and my intense supplement protocol. My pain levels vary daily. I have found that this really does depend on my diet. I can eat the smallest amount of a substance that is a known trigger and boom I’m in pain the whole of the next day or days in some cases. I have also noticed that pain levels vary due to my hormonal cycle.
My learning through this experience has been vast, not only the specific aspects of what can be done to get well but the emotional aspects of dealing with the diagnosis of a chronic condition. Over the course of the year, I have looked into and tried many different approaches including strict veganism, Ayurveda, no sugar, no gluten, the plant paradox which eliminates lectins and eventually the no starch diet specifically for AS along with the Keystone Approach. These approaches have all had an impact and helped but the approaches that helped me the most are the no starch diet and the Keystone Approach which both aim to heal the gut.
Sharing my knowledge
As a therapist, my goal is to help as many people as I can and ultimately empower them to better health. In my clinic I see a lot of clients with musculoskeletal issues and with the therapies that I offer I get real and lasting results for these clients, this work really is my passion. My own experience with AS has made me determined to help people with the disease, the research has taught me so much and my aim is to share my knowledge as far as possible with those who can benefit from it.