Everyday Tasks Made Difficult By Ankylosing Spondylitis
A few days ago, I was asked how I knew my backache was something more than just that. Other than my rapid decline in mobility, I told them I began noticing that tasks that were once a breeze were becoming nearly impossible. These are things no one would think of as being difficult or could probably even imagine as being difficult, but AS makes them so.
The most frustrating part about this is that when I tell people these things bring me discomfort or just aren't "doable," they don't understand why. I hope by writing articles like this, I can shine a light on the things that people wouldn't typically think of as being problematic for those living with a chronic illness but unfortunately are.
Some of the most AS difficult tasks for me
- Showers- I used to love a good, long, hot shower, but since developing AS, I sort of dread them. They deplete what little energy I do have, and I usually have to lay down for at least an hour afterward just to regain my strength.
- Carpool line- Sitting in the kid's carpool line for 45 minutes can be absolutely excruciating. This was a huge red flag for me as I noticed every day when I sat in the carpool line pain would shoot down my left hip into my thigh and all the way to my ankle. I was so confused and had absolutely no idea what was happening.
- Getting out of the car- As if sitting in the car isn't bad enough, getting out can be an even bigger struggle for those of us living with AS. There have been several instances where I have had to call my husband while sitting in the car in the garage to come help me get out. This is sometimes really embarrassing, and not to mention super frustrating.
- Standing in line- Standing in line for anything is pretty much off-limits. While a lot of AS patients find relief through walking and moving their bodies, standing stationary in one place for a long period of time can be exhausting to the joints and leave us frantically searching for a place to sit.
- Getting dressed- Dressing ourselves can be extremely challenging. Have you ever tried to pull on a pair of skinny jeans mid-flare? Yeah, it's both a workout and a form of torture. Don't even get me started on trying to tie shoes. Youch.
- Using stairs- This one I really, really hate. The stairs are my nemesis, and I'm sure eventually it will lead us to selling our home. It can take us several minutes to get up or down a flight of stairs, so please be patient with us!
- Socializing and going out- Being present in general can be extremely exhausting for those of us living with AS. While the pain is bad, the fatigue can be just as debilitating. A night out could mean the next three days we're not leaving our beds.
Share your experience
I could go on and on, but I'll stop here. Please feel free to share your experiences and what you find to be the most difficult things to do that maybe the typical person wouldn't.
Other than back pain and fatigue, what is the most common symptom that AS patients experience?