An Exercise in Mobility (WYASO Day 3)

wp-1464075596781.jpgAlmost every source on information for AS stresses the importance of exercise in helping to improve the symptoms of Ankylosing Spondylitis. In fact the NASS website has a whole section dedicated to it. They also went out and made an app that you can download. The thing that I love about the NASS approach is that it doesn’t specify one individual exercise, unlike some newspaper articles that I’ve seen.

(I saw one a couple of years ago that described a famous Ankylosaur and said that he ran 9/10 miles a day and did 1,000 sit ups, just to prevent him from ending up in a wheelchair. It did the rounds again in March when he moved to a new TV show and needed a dramatic tagline. Who said the Daily Express, Mirror, Daily Star, and the Sun weren’t quality newspapers?) Continue reading “An Exercise in Mobility (WYASO Day 3)”


WYASO 2017

It’s that time of year again, it’s 1st May and Walk Your AS Off has started. This means that you can expect to hear me bleating on about Ankylosing Spondylitis a bit more regularly than usual, as well as keeping tally of my Steps to add to my team’s total.


Walk Your AS Off is an annual event for Ankylosing Spondylitis. Although the official AS Awareness Month is April, I mostly conflate WYASO and AS Awareness, rather than stretching it into two months. As well as raising awareness we compete in teams, against teams all over the world. It’s a friendly competition, but still, it’s there.

And as if that wasn’t enough – we also try to raise funds. I’m a member of a group called the Orange Apples who raise money for NASS (the National Ankylosing Spondylitis Society). So, if at any point this month you’re feeling a bit flush and you want to help out a small charity that’s doing a shed load of good work, feel free to go to the JustGiving page or straight to the NASS Shop and make a purchase or donation. Continue reading “WYASO 2017”

#keepinitreal – Day 4

We’re half way through the #keepinitreal week folks. Today’s a good day, I’m starting work a bit later than usual (as I’m in until 9) and so I’ve had time to let my tablets get to work, done my physio exercises without rushing and picked up my new suit. The shoes to go with it arrived last night. It was going to be two suits, but the second one didn’t fit my hump. (My actual chest size is 38″, I usually have to buy a 40″, but the salesman told me I’d need a 42″ in the style I wanted. That just looked huge on my waist – and they didn’t have any left in the beige that I ordered.)

Online shopping is great, but if your body varies from the standard there’s only so much that a tailor can do. It’s similar to the issue that women face with their arbitrary 12, 14, 16 etc…  type sizes. At least with men’s clothes it’s inches or cm. It’s the first time I’ve shopped online for a suit, and will have to be the last too.

But today however, the sun is shining (vitamin D is good for the bones), I’m listening to some happy music, and the new suit looks rather smart. I’m hoping that your day’s looking good too!  Continue reading “#keepinitreal – Day 4”

Let It (Pokemon) Go!

Pikachu Neck RiderI’ve seen this picture by Pawel Kuczynski on Facebook a few times recently, he’s an amazing artist and I really love the concepts that he covers. It’s part of a series of images drawn as a satire on the modern world. Satire’s great, and to be honest it’s one of the things that has helped me through the complete shit-storm that has been 2016.

But satire is a form of comedy, it’s supposed to be a mirror on the world that makes you think. And I think that this does. But do you know what I don’t think Mr Kuczynski was trying to do was to create art that people would use to make themselves seem or feel better than others. I have seen people posting this because they’re not one of the “sheeple” that have joined in with the worldwide phenomenon that has been Pokemon Go!, the people who think that they’re somehow better than others because they’re not following the herd. Continue reading “Let It (Pokemon) Go!”

A new reason to be proud.

wp-1465077296317.jpgI’m afraid that this is a bragging post. Mostly because I’m terribly unfit and walking is about the only exercise I do. But I signed up to the cycle to work scheme ages ago and got a beautiful hybrid bike that allows me to sit quite high.

I bought panniers and all the other accoutrements, but only used it for 4 short rides and then it sat unused and unloved in the utility room. Today I started work at 1pm, which meant that I had sufficient time for my stiffness to abate. So I dusted off my bike and rode in to work. Continue reading “A new reason to be proud.”

Walk Your AS Off 2016 – My Total


I was worried for a while, I wasn’t sure if I’d make my target. I’d set myself a challenge of 300,000 steps (10,000/day with a little leeway for my recovery days after my Humira injection because of the Humira Hangover). I know that there are conversion charts for other activities but I try to get actual steps.

I know that it doesn’t sound like a lot, but I can assure you that (especially early in the morning) it’s not as easy as it sounds. But the NHS has the 10,000 Step Challenge so I thought that it was a good target to set. So, how did I do? I hear you cry (very quietly of course).

Continue reading “Walk Your AS Off 2016 – My Total”

Oh Appy Day

I’ve spoken a lot about moving, exercise and physiotherapy. And I stand by my advice to speak to your specialist and physio for dedicated exercises to help you if you’re a fellow Ankylosaur. But what if you’re not? Or what if you’ve let your exercises slide? NASS (the National Ankylosing Spondylitis Society) have created an app for that. It’s called Back to Action and it’s rather good. I mentioned it last year, but I think that it’s something that needs revisiting every so often to remind people. Android users can find it on the Google Play Store. iPhone users have … Continue reading Oh Appy Day

Puppy power

11391225_1114090161951139_6908060295939750072_nI saw this article a while ago and meant to blog about it. Then I found myself distracted (as is my wont). But this picture reminded that I’d started a post around having a pet with AS. So I’d like to cover it still.

Pets in general are a good thing for lots of people with chronic illnesses. They give you a reason to drag yourself out of bed. The bonds between a pet and owner are pure love. And who would let someone or something they love unconditionally starve or be surrounded by their own waste for any length of time?

I know that there are some conditions that wouldn’t allow the owner to be aware of this. That’s why I said most illnesses. But AS and a lot of other autoimmune and arthritic family diseases have symptoms that are alleviated or improved with exercise. But believe me, it’s difficult to remember that when it feels like someone poured superglue through your skeleton overnight, your fingers and toes are tingling and there’s a sharp constant pain across your chest. Continue reading “Puppy power”

Walk the Dinosaur

Today is May the 4th, and it’s an easy excuse to sit in front of the TV and veg out in front of a back to back Star Wars marathon. (I know it’s not just me that thought that!)

But that’s not a good idea if you have AS. Remember, your body is building more spine to replace the bits that your immune system has been attacking (you know, because it was bored, confused, or it just decided to throw a hissy fit).

Sitting down and relaxing is nice, we all like to do it. But it’s not good for you. When you sit your posture changes, and your body builds the spine in a shape that fits that. This is one of the causes of kyphosis. I did this regularly before my diagnosis and – if I’m completely honest – I still do now. Continue reading “Walk the Dinosaur”