I wanted to create a page here at Everyday Battle of ankylosing spondylitis resources that have helped me in my fight and can, hopefully, help you. As I continue to learn how to cope with this disease, I plan to make updates here, so don’t hesitate to bookmark it for later use.
Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links that, at no additional cost to you, will earn me a commission if you use them to buy something. If I’m linking a product or service here, it means that I have experience with it and stand by it as a recommendation, not because I’m going to get rich any time soon off of it. As always, don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ankylosing Spondylitis Exercise Resources
As with all exercise-related advice you receive after getting diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis, it’s important to get your doctor’s approval, above anything else. If you are contemplating taking on a regular exercise program to target your ankylosing spondylitis (or for any other reason), I insist that you get your doctor’s approval first.
Sworkit [iTunes Link] is a fitness app that is available on most smart phones and tablets. It’s been my go-to for low-impact stretches and exercises and is the only app that meets the American College of Sports Medicine guidelines for physical activity. It features custom and randomized exercises with video examples to help you with your form. If you don’t have a smartphone, I was able to locate a mobile version of the app online, but it’s a little outdated and may not be available for long.
The MoveWell app [iTunes Link] is another fitness app I use regularly but is, unfortunately, only available through the iTunes App Store as of the time of writing this. It focuses on mobility stretches using a foam roller or a lacrosse ball. Some of the best pain management on my back has been done using this app.
The Arthritis & Osteoporosis Foundation of New South Wales provides a spectacular PDF for exercises you can do for your ankylosing spondylitis, produced in conjunction with the Australian Physiotherapy Association. Each exercise outlined here targets key areas in the body affected by this type of arthritis.
Naomi Ban is a personal trainer from Quebec who was recently diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis. Instead of giving up, she started carefully crafting training programs, writing the Training with AS blog and bringing more mainstream attention to the ankylosing spondylitis sufferer’s plight. Find your inspiration by taking a look at her startup guide to running with AS, her client website (if you’re in the Quebec area) and her Facebook group.
The National Association of Ankylosing Spondylitis in the UK has a series of pages dedicated specifically to exercise options available to ankylosing spondylitis sufferers. Pages include exercise videos, a swimming summary, a golf summary, high impact sports summary and even using video games like the Wii Fit.
Ankylosing Spondylitis Exercise Equipment
I spend a lot of time and money testing out different exercise equipment options and how they effect my ankylosing spondylitis. Per the links in the section above, you absolutely don’t need to spend money on equipment if you want to exercise as a means of finding relief. However, the equipment listed below has helped me to exponentially improve my my outlook.
Foam Roller: this device is as simple as they come, but it packs a serious punch as a workout tool. Also often referred to as a torture device, foam rollers are a great way to provide a full massage experience and fascia bodywork from the comfort of your own home. I first heard about this equipment in the MELT Method book by Sue Hitzmann and use it daily. For more information, give ‘What’s Fascia Got To Do With It?‘ a quick read.
Lacrosse Ball: another simple piece of equipment that packs a punch. Armed with the MoveWell app and a Foam Roller, I’ve found this to be among the most effective equipment I own in my battle against ankylosing spondylitis.
Pull Up Bar: don’t worry, this isn’t just about doing a pull up. Pull ups are an excellent way to strengthen your back. However, incorporating a simple dead hang into your daily routine has been shown to help decompress spinal discs and strengthen the muscles in your back, as well.
Balance Board: inflammation and pain in the sacroiliac joint is one of the main diagnosis factors among ankylosing spondylitis sufferers. I’ve been using this piece of equipment to help me recover some of my mobility by simply standing on it for 15 to 20 minutes a day.
Ankylosing Spondylitis Informational Resources
There are a lot of informational resources out there for ankylosing spondylitis (besides EverydayBattle.com, obviously). However, these are a few of my ‘go to’ resources whenever I have a question or want to be able to provide a concise explanation to someone who’s unfamiliar with it.
Wikipedia’s Ankylosing Spondylitis article is packed to the gills with information related to this disease. Surprisingly, this is one of the few places on the web where you can read about the history of AS. As with any Wikipedia entry, all information that you read in the entry should have a reasonable source that it’s cited from. If not, be aware that the page can be edited by the public at any time.
WebMD has a quick roundup and definition of what ankylosing spondylitis really is, as well as a great series of links for treatment options, a questionnaire for your doctor and a slideshow of starter exercises. This is a great site to help familiarize yourself with any number of symptoms and illnesses tied to ankylosing spondylitis.
The Mayo Clinic is another go-to online resource to get a great initial look at ankylosing spondylitis symptoms, a semi-frequent news page, common drugs used in treatment and more. The Preparing for your Appointment page was very useful for me when I first had to follow up with my rheumatologist.
Ankylosing Spondylitis Diet Resources
I’m a firm believer that your diet is a great weapon in your fight with ankylosing spondylitis. Anecdotal evidence suggests that, in tandem with medical treatment, cutting out carbohydrates and starches can be a great way to minimize flare ups and slow the progression of the disease. While it’s no silver bullet, the following links can certainly help you gain more control.
Forest and Fauna is a website run by a brilliant woman by the name of Andrea Wyckoff. Through years of testing on herself, she’s managed to help contain her ankylosing spondylitis symptoms using diet. Personally, I recommend her Flax Jacks Pancake recipe. If you’d like even more recipes from her, her cookbook, Pure and Simple Paleo, is awesome.
Carol Sinclair suffers from IBS and ankylosing spondylitis. Years ago, she began researching diet and it’s impact on both diseases before successfully overcoming the majority of her symptoms using a low starch diet. Her book, The IBS Low Starch Diet, is a classic amongst ankylosing spondylitis sufferers who use diet to help manage their pain.
The Paleo Mom website is run by Dr. Sarah Ballantyne, an expert in autoimmune diseases like ankylosing spondylitis. At her site, she’s got tons of resources on the paleo diet and an adjusted paleo diet targeted specifically at autoimmune sufferers called the Autoimmune Protocol. The downloads section of her site is riddled with free recipes and mealplans. If you want to go truly in-depth, The Paleo Approach is great read with an excellent accompanying cookbook.
Ankylosing Spondylitis Support Groups
Studies have shown that the larger and more high quality the social support you receive, the better. The psychological effects of chronic pain can be huge, and finding quality support is important. The following links are excellent places to go to remind yourself that you aren’t alone with you ankylosing spondylitis.
KickAS.org bills itself as the largest ankylosing spondylitis support site on the web, and if you were to judge by it’s design, you’d think it looks like it’s the oldest, too. Not only is the KickAS Forum an amazingly vast resource with an active support group, but the site features in-depth dietary information, an exercise guide and even a preparation guide for your doctor to aid in your diagnosis.
Reddit is an excellent (and very active) forum-style community that features a number of places to discuss anything in the world, let alone ankylosing spondylitis, medications, diet and general health. The subreddits I subscribe to include Thritis, ChronicPain, and AnkylosingSpondylitis, amongst others.
If you have a Facebook account, then you’ve got access to tons of support options. From the main Ankylosing Spondylitis group to Training with AS to Living with Ankylosing Spondylitis, there are literally thousands of people struggle with the same disease you are, and they’re using Facebook to connect, organize and support. Simply log into your account and search for ‘ankylosing spondylitis’ to get started.
The Spondylitis Association of America Support Group Directory is a great resource for helping you find local support groups around the country. Groups meet on a regular basis and feature education, outreach and a chance to connect with others fighting the same fight you are with ankylosing spondylitis. There’s also an excellent forum to find advice and information at. Not in the US? Try one of these: Canada, UK, Australia. (Email me at email@example.com if you need help finding an official group elsewhere in the world)
The Faces of Ankylosing Spondylitis is a project started by Cookie Hopper, aiming to bring awareness to the struggle of being diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis. It’s a site after my own heart, in that Cookie’s aim is to remind everyone that they are not alone with this disease. If you’ve been diagnosed with AS, you can submit your photo and your story to Cookie via email to be added to the 1,500+ faces.