Staying Active With AS
As I’m sure most of us know, movement is what helps us the most. If we don’t move, our joints stiffen up, pain sets in, and it’s all in all not great. I’ve seen people liken us to The Tin Man from Wizard of Oz. Movement gives us the oil to loosen up our joints, and overall feel better. Otherwise, we kind of feel like The Tin Man, or like we’re doing the robot 24/7.
Walking and physiotherapy
About a full month into being bedridden, my doctor suggested I start doing physiotherapy. It helped me tremendously. My pelvis at the time was extremely weak, and my therapist helped me to get it strong enough to not have to walk with such an intense limp. Physiotherapy was my gateway to more exercise while still being in pain.
I started walking. I would go for walks almost every day with my dad. Some days just around the block, sometimes further. The walks helped me so much. I started to realize that movement was a big factor is controlling the pain, so I tried to do it as often as possible.
Yoga has been my savior
In May of 2018, I discovered at-home yoga. I found a channel on YouTube, and I started just with beginner videos. Before I had AS, I used to work out all the time. I would do 60-day challenges, I loved to get my stress out by working out. It broke my heart when I realized I couldn’t do that anymore.
Yoga is kind of my middle ground between doing hard workouts and stretches. Some days, if I feel more energetic, I’ll push myself. Other days if I’m more tired, I’ll go easy. It’s great for both my self-confidence and my pain levels. Yoga also adds mindfulness and awareness to your life, and that has helped me through so much as well. I would recommend it to everyone!
I would definitely suggest taking it easy at first, get your body used to doing stretches, and work your way up from there if you want to. There are even beginner classes out there at community centers and gyms!
Sometimes we can’t exercise
If you suffer from chronic fatigue as well, trust me I know some days it’s impossible to do any exercise. I’m currently in a bout of fatigue. Take it easy on yourself, rest up, and try small stretches or exercises when you feel ready. Even walking around the house a few times is better than nothing.
Overdoing it won’t benefit you, it’ll just tire you out more and prolong your period of inactivity, so don’t do it if you know that you can’t. You’re the only one who knows your body best! So listen to it, care for it, and only do what you feel you can do.
Other than back pain and fatigue, what is the most common symptom that AS patients experience?