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We Don't Want Your Medical Advice!

If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years of being an ankylosing spondylitis patient, it’s how to tune out unwanted medical advice from others.

It’s an extremely common occurrence. Family and friends just want to help, but most of the time, the medical advice that is given to us is just not what we want or need to hear.

Family, friends, and peers

Whenever I tell a new person about my condition, they almost always try to offer me some “new” medical advice, as if I haven’t heard any of it before.

“Well, have you tried turmeric? I’ve heard that helps with inflammation!” Is such a common recommendation. The answer is yes, I’ve tried it, but it doesn’t help as a standalone solution to my inflammatory arthritis. If it was that easy, wouldn’t I be taking a supplement every day and be on my merry way?

Another new one that I know we ALL have heard is “What about yoga? Yoga is really good for you!” Collective eye-roll. Sure, stretching is a vital part of our physical therapy routine, but yoga does not cure my chronic inflammatory disease. I do yoga, but I can’t do yoga every single day. My fatigue is greater than the need to do yoga on most days.

I think it’s important as a family member, friend, or peer of someone with a chronic illness, to assume that we’ve tried everything. More often than not, I’ve either heard of or tried your suggestion. If these solutions were, well, solutions, I would be doing them and feeling a lot better. Unfortunately, that’s not how it works.

Instagram advice

I post a lot about my AS on Instagram. Because of this, I get medical advice and suggestions all the time. And I mean all the time. My comments are full of them, my DMs are full of them, and trust me, while I do appreciate people wanting to help me, it’s not often effective.

Something I get comments on constantly is my injection videos. I do my Cosentyx injection in my leg. I know that you can also do it in your stomach, trust me! I know! I almost always get 2-5 comments on an injection video telling me that it’s way easier in the stomach than the thigh, and why don’t I do it there?

I’m the most comfortable doing my injections in my thighs. I know what I’m doing, I’ve been doing injections for 14 months now. I know what I’m comfortable with and what works best for me and my body and I don’t need the extra pressure just because you feel more comfortable with it in your stomach!

I’ve also gotten the odd comments or messages to try things like celery juice every morning, the anti-inflammatory diet (I don’t do diets), or to try some magical supplements to help my pain. Guess what? I know myself and my body best. I’ve most likely heard of what you’re suggesting and already tried it, or have decided that it’s not for me.

I understand people wanting to help, I really do, but always assume your chronically ill friend or that person you’re about to message, has already tried what you’re about to say. I will most likely try anything to help control my symptoms.

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