All posts related to "lifestyle"

AS it Goes – Massage is Not Therapy

Woman enjoying massage

Image courtesy of Ambro /

Many people with arthritis use massage therapy to help alleviate their aches and pains. Massage soothes sore joints and muscles and over the long term, it may improve your range of motion, reduce stiffness and lessen the anxiety associated with living with chronic pain.

When you have ankylosing spondylitis (AS), it’s important to know—in advance—what kind of massage would suit you the best. If you are in remission, for instance, the massage can be a little more aggressive with more pressure applied to muscles. In general, it is advised that AS’ers should ask for a soft tissue massage with light kneading, vibration, and some stretching and long soothing strokes. Continue reading

AS it Goes – Sleep, Gentle Sleep

Clock that says "Time for bed!"

Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles at

”To sleep, perchance to Dream; Aye, there’s the rub”
Shakespeare’s Hamlet (Act 111, Scene 1)

This line is part of Hamlet’s famous soliloquy “To be, or not to be” and illustrates how Hamlet’s sleep was fraught with tortured dreams over the murder of his father and other heinous deeds. It appears that the universal preoccupation with getting a peaceful sleep was as much a common concern over 400 years ago as it is for people today. Continue reading

AS it Goes – Laser Therapy for Two, Please


Agatha sleeping in her favourite bed.

Fran’s dog, Agatha, also has arthritis. Just as she would for herself, Fran is always on the lookout for treatments for her pet companion. Recently, she found one that, so far, seems to be working: laser therapy.

I’ve written about my nearly 11-year old dog, Agatha, and her arthritic hips and spinal issues on several occasions. As owners, we do everything possible to support Agatha’s aching joints, including frequent long walks and monthly Cartrophen Vet injections (a disease modifying osteoarthritis drug – DMOAD) to keep her relatively pain-free. Plus, at every meal she is fed a “super cookie” loaded with glucosamine HCL, chondroitin, shark cartilage and yucca. All these supplements are reputed to have a beneficial effect on lubricating joints. Continue reading

AS it Goes – Medical Advice in the Produce Department

grocery store produceShopping list: milk, eggs, lettuce, and… medical advice? Recently, while in the produce department of her local grocery store, Fran went in expecting to buy lettuce, but left with far more.

Much to the dismay of my children, I talk to strangers and I admit that I listen in on conversations, especially when people publicly discuss health issues. I mean, if it is a private matter, then talk quietly so I can’t hear!

An exchange that I overheard in the produce section of the grocery store was particularly interesting and I thought I would share it. The produce clerk and a woman, whom I presume know each other (but maybe, like me, they also talk to strangers), were sharing information about their heel pain commonly known as plantar fasciitis. I have blogged on this “curse” – another obstacle, compliments of ankylosing spondylitis (AS) – so I was particularly drawn to the conversation. I have been outfitted with expensive custom orthotics to a) decrease my chances of a recurrence and b) correct a mechanical problem with my feet and c) help me as I routinely walk on uneven ground surfaces.

As a lingered for a few minutes examining multiple boxes of lettuce, here’s the gist of their convo: Continue reading

AS it Goes – Jackpot! Winner of the Rheumy Lottery


Photo Courtesy of Stuart Miles via

Reflecting on how few rheumatologists there are in Canada and how many people live with arthritis, Fran counts herself among the select few—a jackpot winner, in a way—for having a rheumy.

I am one of the fortunate ones. There have been many days of late when I didn’t feel so lucky with an inflammatory disease that likes to highjack my life. But apparently I should count myself among the select few because I have a rheumatologist I am able to see for regular checkups or call on in crisis (depending what’s brewing with my ankylosing spondylitis). Continue reading