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What is this Ankylosing spondylitis?

In my last post, I talked about finally being diagnosed with Ankylosing spondylitis. And it’s still a huge thing to wrap my head around, especially since I’ve made such dramatic changes in my health. I’ll admit- sometimes I just want to say forget this push to be healthy and order a pizza (especially from my faves in Chicago) or drench everything in bbq sauce!!! But reality sets in and I know the consequences later will not be worth it so I don’t.

And this autoimmune condition of Ankylosing spondylitis, or AS, has no cure according to the resources that I’ve read. Any condition that ends in “itis” is indicative of inflammation and this is an inflammatory condition of the spine. It can also affect other joint areas. There are secondary issues that can occur with AS such as uveitis, inflammation in your eye which I’ve written about too as I’ve had that multiple times starting in 2009. And the cause of AS? No one knows though it’s believed to start with a leaky or impaired gut.

AS makes you really stiff, especially if you sit for a long time. Movement helps AS a great deal but it’s hard because when you’re in pain, the last thing that you want to do is move around! Stretching and functional movement are helpful and research shows that water based exercises are great as these don’t impact the joints. So I got a referral for that! If left untreated, AS can also cause fusion in various areas with your bones and you lose alllll flexibility and range of motion! 🤯🤯

While no doctor has stated this, I think AS is why I developed severe osteoarthritis at such a young age. The doctors just ask why I developed it so early; 🤷🏽‍♀️ how would I know?? I’m not a doctor. But to be better informed, I ordered a couple of books that are written by doctors who also have AS. Unlike me, both of these doctors have a genetic marker that is often seen with AS. And both found out much earlier than I did in the progression of the condition.

The doctors’ books offer insight on how they manage AS naturally, now. Both had taken different medications and decided that they would move forward without the meds. That’s the level that I eventually want to get to. I’ve been approved to take a VERY expensive medication to help relieve the chronic inflammation that I have. I’m hoping that as I start implementing the doctors’ recommendations, I can work with my doctor to decrease the medication. I’m also going to continue to focus on healing my digestive system and will move in the direction of working with a functional doctor who specializes in these types of conditions. And since stress can play havoc on the gut too, I took up my health care system’s offer to speak to a counselor. My hope is to find ways to better manage stress. Whew! That’s a lot!!

But I’m hopeful! If you are interested in the books by the doctors mentioned, leave a comment and I’ll include them below!

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Adding Ginger – Wellness Wednesdays

Ginger has been a staple in the seasoning cabinet for some time. However, it was in 2009 that I learned more of one of its uses.

Allow me to remind everyone that I am not giving medical advice, but just sharing my journey that has allowed me to move toward better health.

In 2009, I started having horrible digestive issues. Looking back, I think much of it was caused by stress but I couldn’t figure out how to get a handle on things. My mom suggested that I take ginger tablets that she liked and sent me some. And they seemed to help. To this day, I still ginger around as a just in case, especially if I eat something that is not quite the best for me.

Have you tried ginger? I also drink ginger tea probably twice each week. It’s especially good when the weather is chilly. Below I’m including some of the qualities of ginger as mentioned on earthclinic.com:

  • One study suggests that ginger is one of the most effective preventative treatments for certain types of cancer including colon cancer, as it significantly reduces inflammation throughout the body
  • Has also been proven to relieve muscle pain and fatigue
  • Used to treat a number of gastrointestinal disorders as well as autoimmune diseases such as arthritis
  • Taken as a daily supplement, ginger can prevent liver damage caused by certain medication
  • Can also help with hypertension, painful period symptoms and migraines

I’m not saying that ginger is a cure all. And I always recommend that you work with your health care provider. But if you have not tried ginger, I recommend it. The taste can be overwhelming for some. If the taste is too strong for you, trying ginger tablets might be your best option.

See you next week! If ginger has helped you in any way, I invite you to share your results.

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Apple cider vinegar – Wellness Wednesdays

I found out about Apple cider vinegar (acv) around 2009, 2010. I was having a good deal of gut/digestion issues, among other things, and was seeking any resource that might help! I came across the website, earthclinic which became a wonderful resource for natural solutions.

Allow me to remind everyone that I am not giving medical advice, but just sharing my journey that has allowed me to move toward better health.

According to earthclinic.com, I started using acv for – “antifungal2 and antibacterial effects. Studies have even found that apple cider vinegar has immunostimulant properties.3 It promotes good digestion and skin health.” And it has really been a huge help with my digestion.

I generally make an acv tonic that is a mix of apple cider vinegar, a bit of honey and a couple of shakes of cinnamon with room temperature water. I drink it most mornings when I first get up, before eating. On occasion, when I can find it, there’s a premixed apple cider vinegar drink that is available in several flavors that I buy. Oh, I get the acv with the the “mother” in it. If you look at the bottle, there is a darker cloudier bit which is the mother and is dissolved into acv as you shake it up.

And there are so many other benefits of acv. Below are 9 benefits listed on earthclinic.com:

  • Alleviate acid reflux
  • Aid weight loss and calorie reduction
  • Clear sinus infection and congestion (yes it works for this too!)
  • Treat pink eye
  • Alleviate ear ache pain
  • Improve skin health
  • Balance hair sebum and ph
  • Stop food poisoning
  • Reduce high blood pressure

Have you tried apple cider vinegar? What has your experience been? Share 👇🏽. See you next week!