Why you should stop putting up with the pain of Ankylosing Spondylitis

It can be hard to get an objective measure of Ankylosing Spondylitis pain when you live with it on a daily basis.

For people with pain-related chronic health issues like AS, it’s also possible to lose perspective on quality of life and when it’s time to seek help.

The pain of Ankylosing Spondylitis doesn’t just feel bad, it can actually be doing you damage.

I often come across people who are keen to find their own way through pain, often because of a bad past experience with medication, a fear of side effects or a lack of faith in the conventional medical approach.

This can result in a belief that tolerating high levels of ongoing pain is an acceptable alternative.

While I’m a huge advocate of natural solutions and finding what works for you, research on chronic pain is very clear; pain is a warning sign that we would do well not to ignore.

How can staying in pain be harmful?

The experience of ongoing pain is both a physical and mental stressor. It impacts quality of life in many ways, affecting your mood, your ability to think clearly and your sleep. It can be extremely isolating to remain in a constant state of pain, which then impacts relationships, work-life and self esteem.

Severe, unchecked pain over time can create its own pathways in the brain. This ultimately makes treatment more difficult and can result in the experience of pain continuing, even when its source no longer exists.

With AS there is some evidence that ongoing high levels of inflammation increase the likelihood of bone growth and calcification. Trying to tough it out or applying the “no pain, no gain” mentality when it comes to AS can seriously backfire when it results in fusion.

Chronic pain is often accompanied by fear or hyper-vigilance which creates avoidance around doing anything that might create more pain. This limits the willingness to incorporate otherwise helpful strategies like exercise and socialising, and further adds to the cycle of stress.

Is it time for you to re-think your approach to pain?

Pain can shrink your world down to just getting through the night, day or even hour. It’s hard to think clearly, and even more difficult to express to others what’s happening inside your body and mind.

If you feel you are currently living with a level of pain that is potentially harmful I would strongly encourage you to reach out to a health professional you trust. This might be a health coach like me, a doctor or a psychologist with experience in chronic illness.

Getting out of pain might mean investigating a new medication, or exploring ways to support your general health which allows your existing medication to become more effective. It might mean becoming open to ideas you have previously not been willing to consider, even as a short-term circuit breaker.

You deserve to be as free from pain as possible, especially as it’s in the interest of your long term health and wellbeing. If you’d value my support in figuring out your next steps please get in touch.