My Diagnosis Lead To Two Things, Only Two....
I am the classic "late diagnosis". I am 54 now, and was diagnosed with A.S. three years ago. My memories of back pain go way back to my childhood. I got the same opinions all of you have probably received. Mild back injury, pulled muscle, lack of exercise, etc.
Doctor after doctor suggested losing weight, walking or stretching. My current doctor (primary care) suggested I had a "bad back" and gave the same previous suggestions. After years of complaining of steady, unrelenting back and hip pain, he did something no other doctor ever did.No, not research my symptoms, he referred me to a pain management clinic.
So, the onslaught of pain meds came my way. The flow of pain pills got me through the work days, but then I crashed every night. And of course, over time, the pain clinic upped my doses and went higher on the med list.
When I reached the top of the pain med food chain, they wanted to insert a morphine pump. About that same time, bumps appeared on all my fingers. Every joint in my fingers were growing rapidly. My primary care doctor then referred me to a rheumatologist.
On my first visit, xrays were taken, questions were asked and within minutes she said the words....Ankylosing Spondylitis. Those words gave me two things, approval for disability, and approved for biologics. Way too late to do anything other than to try and stop any further damage. And yes, Enbrel and Arava has slowed down further damage, but I was already really far into the progression.
I refused the morphine pump, but I have been on high dose pain meds for over nine years now and we all know that outcome... Don't get me wrong, the disability approval was awesome, I was approved in six weeks. But the diagnosis, at least for me, came way too late to make any difference.
How long was your longest flare?