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7. One & Two Years On - How I'm Winning The Fight Against Ankylosing Spondylitis

January 28, 2017 & January 7, 2018 updates.
It's been just over a year since My First Post about my battle with an aggressive and incurable disease Ankylosing Spondylitis, (A.S), and Although the war is far from over, I can confirm the latest. I'm winning.  I have less pain all over. 30 degrees more rotation in my neck. I still can't touch my toes, but I can bend down 8 inches further, and pick things from the floor without holding on, but still in pain. I have gained 2 kilos in weight (muscles). Lower leg muscles and back have improved and agiler. 

Having said that, If a healthy individual woke up today with the pain my body still feels, They'd call 911 while scrambling for the medicine cabinet grabbing the nearest pain killers. For me, the pain and stiffness are 'nothing' compared to how I was.

If I never had to train so hard each day doing up to 10.000 repetitions each day, the smiley face above would have been a big fat grin. Nevertheless, it's all positive and progress, and the way things are going, I estimate that within one more year, I 'will' be grinning from ear to ear.

My last goal was to get through the pain barrier of my upper leg muscles. To have less pain in my.back. To be more agile and stronger, and to have more rotation of my neck, to become healthier, happier, confident, strong and outgoing again which I am slowly achieving.

When I first started my fight, I never knew if I'd be causing 'more' damage than good by training so rigorously each day. Every painful repetition done is the equivalent of someone trying to get rid of a painful bruise or cut by continually pressing, poking and prodding, harder and harder hoping it will go. - or digging a deep hole hoping there would be light at the end. That's exactly what it takes. Luckily for me, the pain is less, and I see the light.

I will 'never' underestimate the power of Ankylosing Spondylitis, and how it 'will' take over the body - if you let it. 

Escalator Analogy.
Anyone who has this disease or any other joint or muscle weakness/pain who continue their life using aids such as walking sticks, crutches, wheelchairs and medications are the people who will let the escalator take the strain. Doing this will never help.

My training is to walk 'UP' the 'down' escalator. If I stopped training/walking, I will continue to go down and deteriorate. I have to keep on stepping continuously. Even if I reach the top, there is still no end for this disease. It's a never ending battle but 'does' get easier step by step. The more I train, the slower and easier the escalator becomes.

Stop adapting your home around your disabilities.
  • You have to learn to 'un-adapt' by walking up and down the stairs instead of using lifts and escalators.
  • Crutch, walking stick and wheelchair users need to put more pressure on their joints and less on walking aids.
  • Stop using hand rails to fully support you. If you use your right arm because the left hurts too much, start using the left arm again but do it very slowly adding more weight and pressure as time goes by. Keep doing this.
  • Those items you previously placed in your home to an easier height, move them back to a harder place to reach. Any mugs, glasses or ash trays you use, place them in a position which is the hardest to reach. They soon get easier.
  • If your left leg/hip/knee hurts more than the right, meaning you use the right more - stop, and start using the left again. Introduce weight bearing exercises. It will hurt and become more painful, but no pain no gain.

When training, I have the mindset of an athlete. When stretching, I think like a contortionist. Never-ending room for improvement.
Nutrition. If you've read my posts about the correct diet and nutrition for bones and joints, you'll discover how important it is to combine weight bearing training with the correct (bespoke) nutrition.

It's the resilience, perseverance, patience and confidence in me and my achievements that keep me fighting. I hope everything I have said from my Introduction to today's post will give anyone out there who's suffering 'unnecessarily' the confidence to follow my painful footsteps.

An adult human uses 200 muscles to take 1 step.
 A human skeleton renews itself completely and utterly every 10 years.
I had over 250 different symptoms to deal with. Now, I only have about 20 - 40.

Any progress I hope to make will be posted below. January 2018. I say hope, because the body contains over 200 bones, 4000 tendons, 600 muscles, 360 joints, and over 900 ligaments, and anything can happen - after all, I'm only human.
November 2017. If anyone's here, I just had to pop by and say, things are going fantastically. well. So far, so very good. I will reveal all in January.

January 7, 2018 updates. WOW. Its been a quite a journey. Painful but very successful. I've had my set-backs including a shoulder and knee injury which have totally cleared up. My training has now become so pleasurable compared to the initial intolerable. My spine and back is more flexible and stronger. I can actually pick things off the floor without holding on to anything although my upper-leg muscles are weak which I'm still working on.

The secret to success is no secret. It's just training and stretching, consuming the correct nutrients needed that I wrote about in my previous posts (1-6 below), positive thoughts, and being stress-free. I have come a very long way, and there's still a long way to go.

Training 24/7, its no exaggeration. For example, just standing at the sink or cooker, I have twelve different leg exercises to choose from - I've also become like a tourette suffer. Instead of uncontrollable swearing, I have uncontrollable exercising - while trying to sleep I suddenly notice I've been doing shoulder shrugs for the last 10 minutes without even realising which is all good. Doing DIY and home repairs, anything to keep busy and moving while at home.

I did everything within my power to straiten my body, aside from placing a noose around my neck and hanging from it.

Tracking progress. For example, My bending-over toe-touches are done with a ruler in-between my fingers to ensure this back-breaking exercise is progressing successfully. Side bends are done with a stick which is marked with a pen to ensure progress.

I have updated the "Standing Tall Training technique in my previous post", and any new back and neck stretches are still never completed without the sound of cracks and crunches at my lower back and neck, which equals progress. I did resort to taking a 'quarter' of an anti-inflammatory drug every day for only two weeks which did help when I had knee-swelling and a shoulder injury. The pills also helped while doing my back and waist training and don't need to any more as the swellings gone.

Keeping moving and active as much as possible is key. Never sitting down, unless I have too and when I do, it has to be a firm L-shaped chair.

My body is not just upright 'straight', I can now bend backwards (slightly) but improving. Now, I manage the pain, not the pain managing me. Statistics for my progress. Give or take 10%. Stretching every part of the body everyday is about 40% importance. Weight-bearing training 40%, and physical activity like dancing, circuit training etc, 20%.  These percentages is working for me. And to avoid being stressed. I never realised how much stress would contribute to this disease literally crippling me at times, and to avoid anyone, or doing anything that causes it. Being 100% stress free and having a positive out-look of life.

This A.S disease, and everything bundled with it slowly turned my once stocky muscular build into a slim, thin, skinny then skeletal one. I now have an athletic build, and seeing muscles appear.

My mojo's back. People are treating me normal again. Strangers going out their way to converse with me compared to previously avoiding me when I was underweight and crippling along in pain. People are inviting me to events again which I've yet to accept.

Goals, I am healthier, fitter, stronger, more agile, assertive and confident again. As for being happier, yes, somewhat. Perhaps I have other areas in my life to work on like socialising again, some voluntary work. One thing's for sure, it's to become athletically fit and socialise again - these are new goals. As for happiness, they say, money cannot even buy it. As long as I'm healthy and pain-free, that's absolutely fine with me.

Remember the SSSSS
Stretching. Strengthening. Shock absorption. Speed & Stamina - of all movement of joints and muscles.

As for the 'escalator analogy' above. When I had my temporary set-back, trying to step-up the downward moving escalator became harder, dragging me back down. Now I'm back on the up - I'd happily walk 'up' the downward-moving, and walk 'down' the upward-moving escalator.

I still look up-to, and respect this disease called Ankylosing Spondylitis, (A.S) but inside, I smile in the face of it - I'm in control now - this battle IS being won.  The Many Faces Of Ankylosing Spondylitis.

1. Introduction. How I Have Almost Cured My Ankylosing Spondylitis, Arthritis & Other Joint Injury's.

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