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Regarding Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS)
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A brief history of my AS



talk before the movie starts (or during). I talk of course, but not with my head turned. I turn my shoulders and/or torso if I want to look to my side. The limited movement of my head is the most troublesome of my spinal column. We turn our heads probably hundreds of time a day if we can, and most people do it without thinking about it. Sometimes people have a stiff neck for various reasons, like sleeping on it wrong the night before, and people often think my stiff neck is temporary. I wish it were, but like my head's limited up and down movement, it doesn't stop me from doing what I want.

Walking is affected by my AS. Basically I walk fine, though in a stiffer manner than most people. Though I'm not in pain when I walk, the inability of my back to function normally in my walk causes me to move stiffly. The way that my body performs mechanically (its biomechanics) during its

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walk is not typical, and this causes it to compensate for this inability. The legs and arms move just fine most of the time, but because the vertebrae and pelvis aren't articulating well (if at all), the walk is more stiff than it is for most other people. I usually walk no slower than other people, and often times I'm at a faster pace.

However, other body functions work as well, if not better, than other people's. I have no disease in my fingers, hands, arms, legs, feet, or toes. Sometimes, my right knee will swell up due to my over-stressing it years ago. This is not related to AS at all; I don't know what causes it to swell up when it does. Medical tests on my muscle and nerve function give me a clean bill of health; no impairment in these regards at all, amazingly. My liver, kidneys, and blood are in great shape as well, despite years of my taking NSAIDs, ibuprofen, and/or



naproxen. I'm not in pain because I respond well to Vioxx ® and less so to ibuprofen. Because I stay active, I feel that I'm subtly getting stronger all the time. It's not affected by the weather as far as I can tell. But I do notice a marked increase in tightness in my trapezoid muscles (around the neck) and in my body in general when I feel stressed. There are stress-relieving techniques that I rely on. I'm confident about the future. I can do so many things I thought I wouldn't be able to, like scuba dive, and I'm only was constrained as I allow myself to be.


I first noticed arthritic pain as a teenager during long road trips with my family. After sitting in the back seat for hours, I'd feel a tightness or a pain along the upper part of my thighs. This would go away when we stopped and I got out. Of course, I didn't

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