How to Get Ankylosing Spondylitis Support

WebMD—January 7, 2015

When Shannon Coleman was diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis (AS), she was surprised by how hard the condition hit her.

"I'd had issues with my back for more than 10 years before I finally got a diagnosis in May 2014," she says. "I thought I'd be prepared because I work in the health care field -- I'm a medical assistant at a spine clinic -- but I was struck by how debilitating it was to suddenly not be able to live my normal life as a working mom."

Coleman, like many other people with AS, had to learn how to get the support she needed at home and at work. While asking for help can be tough, there are ways to make it a bit easier -- in general, at work, and at home.

In General

Put aside any feelings of guilt. You might have trouble with the idea of asking for help, says Susan Goodman, MD, a rheumatologist at Hospital for Special Surgery in New York.

"When people first get diagnosed, they're typically adults at the peak of their physical competence, often with young families, and then suddenly they've become debilitated by this illness."

Keep in mind that once you start treatment, many of the worst symptoms may lift, Goodman says.

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