In the summer of 2016, I was struck with a severe onset of a type of arthritis which was later diagnosed as Ankylosing Spondylitis. From the onset of my condition, I recorded daily my symptoms, medications taken, diet, changes in exercise and activity, my blood test results, and a pain rating on a scale of 10. It took me about a year and a half to claim a ‘recovery’ from AS, to the point where I can thrive and live actively without medication. However, I often feel the AS not too deep under the surface and I have had to make many lifestyle changes to keep the condition under control. This website is a summary of the information I collected, as a way to share my experiences to hopefully make it easier for others experiencing the same challenges.
Abstract (In Brief):
Over the course of a year and a half, since the onset of my AS, I went from needing two hands to turn the key in my car ignition, limping when I walked, and unable to sit for more than 1/2 an hour at a time, and unable to pickup my children, to recovering all my past physical activities (cycling, swimming, playing with my kids, rowing, even some light running), although I feel I have to manage the condition on a daily basis to keep it under control. I received various medications through the course of my treatment, and they helped with my recovery, but due to the long term nature of the condition I was motivated to substitute medication with supplements, and eventually supplements with diet. Physiotherapy was also an important factor in recovery and led me to take up stretching and pilates on a daily basis. Maintaining good posture is also important when managing AS. Sitting on a swiss ball and using a standing desk at work have been positive contributors to rebuilding strength in my back. Dieting also had a positive effect, eliminating inflammatory foods, stacking my diet with anti-inflammatory foods, and using fasting therapeutically to reduce inflammation. I eventually found research by Dr. Alan Ebringer, investigating the possibility that Klebsiella Pneumoniae, a bacteria in the gut, combined with a gene (HLA-B27, which I tested positive for, and has a clear association with AS) was the trigger for the arthritic inflammation. Furthermore, the Klebsiella was fed by Amylose starch. Once I cut this type of starch out of my diet, it helped greatly and virtually eliminated all arthritic flareups.