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The Spondyloarthritis Research Consortium of Canada (SPARCC) and the Canadian Spondylitis Association (CSA) are pleased to announce an upcoming patient forum on ankylosing spondylitis (AS).
Patients with AS and a family member are invited to attend this free informational event. Lectures and activities include:
- Current concepts on the cause of AS.
- Update on the medical treatment of AS.
- Information non-pharmacologic treatment of AS.
- Ask the experts.
Contact Maria Morales at email@example.com or call 416-603-5800, or complete the registration form, which can be found below. The registration form is also available at www.sparccc.ca and www.spondylitis.ca.
2014 Ankylosing Spondylitis Patient Forum
Fran and her hubby on a Florida beach
Spending time down south in the Florida sun sure sounds like a cure-all for ankylosing spondylitis (AS) and osteoarthritis. However, the reality—for me—is very different. Weeks before we leave on our annual sojourn, I fantasize about how my various aches and pains will miraculously disappear once my joints are warmed by the sun and surf. I am (obviously) delusional (or seriously in denial) because every year I am sorely disappointed that my AS and osteo fail to give me a break during my winter reprieve. Continue reading
I have been thinking a lot about exercise in this post-Christmas, post-New Year’s period. The operative word here is “thinking” because making the leap to “doing” is quite another matter. As an ankylosing spondylitis-er (is that a word?), I understand the importance and value of staying active, but actually participating in some kind of exercise is not a painless option.
Photo courtesy of ImageryMagestic at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Photo courtesy of sscreations at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
I remember an experience I had many years ago as I made the rounds to various doctors trying to find out why I suffered from crippling pain. A neurologist recommended that a shot of cortisone in my spine could be the miraculous cure to put me out of my misery.
Cortisone earned a reputation as a miracle drug when it was first successfully used in 1948 at the Mayo Clinic to treat a rheumatoid arthritis patient whose crippling joints were unfrozen by the drug. Its label as a miracle medication earned its pioneers the Nobel Prize for Medicine. Cortisone may help relieve pain and is commonly given in joints, but there are limits on the frequency of its usage due to adverse side effects, so physicians have to carefully weigh the benefits against the risks.
I gamely agreed to the cortisone injection (at the time, I would have agreed to just about anything) and I received a shot in my lower back after an epidural to deaden my extremities. When the anesthesia wore off, I arose from the bed where I had been for about an hour. The pain was still there, but I was told that there would be a delay of up to a couple of days between the time the injection was administered and when I would start to feel some relief. Needless to say, no solace came and I soldiered on. Several years later, an orthopedic surgeon suggested I undergo cortisone shots in my back for a second time. I still did not have a positive diagnosis for my ankylosing spondylitis (AS), so throwing caution to the wind, I grasped at the carrot. This cortisone shot also did not produce any results, in fact, the pain seemed to worsen and I swore that I would never go that route again (never say never?).
Years later, when the plantar fasciitis in my heel continued over several months with no relief in sight, a podiatrist suggested I consider cortisone injections. With her reassurances that she expected a good outcome, I again took the bait. Good news! The shots worked and the pain disappeared within a few weeks. Another recent flare-up has me thinking—again—that perhaps I should opt for cortisone to get rid of the heel pain (stay tuned).
I have repeatedly questioned my rheumy about the osteoarthritis in my thumbs and the available options to ease that problem. During my last visit, he casually mentioned the possibility of cortisone shots in the base of my thumbs, but he quickly added that any relief would only be temporary and the injections would be quite “uncomfortable.” His lack of confidence sealed the deal for me: no thanks!
Today, cortisone (and its sister prednisone) is used to lessen the symptoms during acute AS flares. For many AS patients, cortisone truly is a miracle drug. Sometimes this option may be a last ditch attempt to gain relief, but for myself, I did not achieve anything near miraculous. Rather, I will just keep hoping for a miracle cure for AS. ~Fran
Have you ever taken cortisone (or prednisone) shots for your AS? Did it have a positive effect?
Fran and her dog, Agatha.
Photo courtesy of Paul Patterson (Fran’s husband).
In the past I have blogged about Agatha, my 10-year old Labrador Retriever who motivates me to get out of the house for our daily march over hill and dale. I count on Miz A to let me know that I have been sitting at the computer for too long; she pesters me until I relent and head for the door. Despite her age and arthritic hips, she enthusiastically plays with dogs a fraction of her age and will chase down a ball with puppy-like enthusiasm (and, no, she doesn’t give up the ball after the chase).
However, after a couple of days of energetic play, she began to hobble and favour her back legs, sitting down gingerly on her hind end. When she began to moan as she got up from lying down, I knew that a trip to the vet was needed. Continue reading