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Steve A.'s Story:


Here is my history with Ankylosing Spondylitus (AS).

In my early 20's, I developed hip pain.  I would go running in the summer and thought that may have caused it.  Then my lower back started hurting.  Lots of stiffness.  I found that at age 23, I was having a difficult time getting in and out of a car. 

I love sports, especially downhill skiing.  I continued an active lifestyle, even though my back always felt stiff.  At age 34, I spent 2 weeks in Colorado skiing moguls and having some major crashes.  I remember at least two times my right hip slamming into a hard-packed mogul.  On the last day of our trip, I woke up and could hardly walk.  The pain in my right hip was extremely severe.  It was a long ride back home from Colorado to Wisconsin.  My limping continued for about 2 months, then went away.  In the meantime, my back felt like it was getting stiffer and stiffer.

A year later, we moved to Atlanta.  One day I was walking down a street and my right hip pain came back with a vengeance.  I went to a Hip Specialist who took an x-ray.  When showing me the x-ray, he asked if I heard of Bo Jackson.  I said yes.  He recently had hip replacement surgery.  The doctor told me I will need my hip replaced.  I was absolutely devastated.  Along with my hip pain, my back and now my neck were getting more immobile.  I stopped lifting weights along with many other types of physical activity.  I felt fatigued all the time. 

As a result of my limping, inflammation developed in some toes on my right foot.  A few weeks before my scheduled hip replacement surgery, I visited the Hip Specialist.  I asked that he look at the toes on my right foot.  He did not seem concerned but asked that I remove my shoe and sock.  He could not believe what he saw.  Some of my toes were about double their normal size.  He immediately set me up with a Rheumatologist.

In the meantime, I started surfing the Internet for symptoms like mine:  stiff back, having to elevate myself in a sitting position when trying to sleep at night, 20 minutes or longer to get out of bed in the morning, hip pain.  I came across AS.  I had the same symptoms.

When I visited the Rheumatologist, he confirmed that I have AS.  It was actually somewhat of a relief.  I now know what was wrong with me.  He prescribed Indomethacin, a nonsteroidal, anti-inflammatory drug that has been around since 1963.  Soon after I started taking it, my back, neck and hip pain were greatly reduced.  I cancelled the hip replacement surgery.

It is now 12 years later.  I workout all the time and continue to ski.  I have stayed on the Indomethacin and it has worked very well for me.  My right hip still flares up once in a while, but it's still my original hip.


Knock on wood....I feel healthy!

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