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Pain in Spondylitis

Uncontrolled pain is a serious complication of spondylitis. Though many people with spondylitis respond well to traditional spondylitis medications, such as NSAIDs and biologic medications, as well as exercise and physical therapy, others experience breakthrough pain even with appropriate treatment.

In these cases, it is important to work with your medical team to find appropriate solutions and design a comprehensive plan to treat the pain.

SAA receives no government funding and relies on the generous donations from individuals to create and maintain the programs and services aimed at improving the futures of the 2.7 million Americans affected by spondylitis.

How It Feels

We asked our online community to talk about pain, and to share what it feels like on a high pain day. Some of the comments are heartbreaking, but sometimes it helps to hear that others truly understand.

“Bad days make me want to stay in bed, especially when I can barely put socks on. Those days remind me to move it or lose it. Today, I'm okay, thankfully.”
—Dan

“My severe days also equal terrible irritability, brain fog, and massive fatigue. Of course the pain, too, which only us spondies know. Today is manageable.”
—Trish

“Some days I do my best to just bear it, ignore it, focus on living, but some days my pain wins - and I struggle to keep my mind positive and just want to cry.....which on occasion I do.”
—Faith

“On a high pain day, I cannot function. I can't think, move, or really do anything except suffer through it. It feels like my entire body is overblown.  If something stresses me out, my brain shuts down and my pain gets worse. I have to be really careful not to get upset or let stress get to me. Stress is a major trigger.”
—Carrie

“Bad days felt like grizzly bear claws and teeth ripping through my connective tissue and joints. Last few years have been so much better with Enbrel, warm pool exercises, and walking. I also started deep meditation - this I will never stop! I have become so much better at coping with my AS and have less pain. I can do more pool days and walking now - which decrease my body-wide pain and increase my mental happy mood.”
—Sandy

“On a high pain day, I feel like I just woke up after being hit by a truck. That is the best way I can describe it.”
—Colin

“I get pins and needles all over my body, and anxiety through the day because of it. I think, ‘how will I go on through the day and not let anyone know this is what I'm feeling?’ An ache in my neck and collar bones so bad that I can barely keep my head upright. It’s an ache that no medicine can touch. I feel like I'm the only person in the world where a simple hug from someone can hurt me the rest of the day (and I loved hugs.)”
—Janice

Related Resources

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Posted July 2016

Managing Complications for Spondylitis Patients

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Spondylitis Association of America

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Van Nuys, CA 91406

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