Ankylosing Spondylitis is an auto-immune disease which affects 2.4 million people in the United States. According to the Mayo Clinic, “Ankylosing spondylitis is a chronic inflammatory disease that primarily causes pain and inflammation of the joints between the vertebrae of your spine and the joints between your spine and pelvis (sacroiliac joints). However, ankylosing spondylitis may also cause inflammation and pain in other parts of your body as well”. Iritis, a painful inflammation of the eye, is a symptom of ankylosing spondylitis.
The Spondylitis Association of America has designated April as Spondylitis Awareness Month. This disease is nearly unheard-of by most, even by doctors. The SAA states, “Spondylitis is difficult to diagnose, often taking up to 10 years from the time a patient first experiences symptoms to the time the patient receives proper diagnosis”.
As someone who has experienced Ankylosing Spondylitis and Iritis firsthand on a regular basis for over 25 years, I understand the struggle to receive a proper diagnosis. Laying in bed, unable to move, spine and ribcage stiff, having to have someone pull you up by your arms quickly to a sitting position, as you scream out in pain, yep, been there done that. It is at those times that family members remember you have ankylosing spondylitis. Another time is when the iritis flares up. The pain in the eye is excruciating. An immediate trip to the ophthalmologist is required. You learn real quick to have steroid eye drops on hand!
So what can be done to alleviate these painful symptoms? Medications such as NSAIDS (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), DMARDS (disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs), and the biologics also called TNF Blockers, are prescribed to the patient. Exercise, physical therapy, good posture practices, and applying heat/cold to relax the muscles and reduce joint pain are also suggestions. But after years of accosting my body with all the various drugs, I felt there has to be something less toxic. I do visit my chiropractor on a regular basis, which I feel has helped me stay limber. I was still seeking something more.
As a Professional Counselor and Hypnotherapist, I have been assisting clients talk and visualize their way through many ailments. After a painful flair up it came to me, why am I not doing the same for myself? I then set out to create a hypnotic guided imagery c.d. in order to sooth my aching spine and ribcage. I wrote and recorded my first draft. After listening to the c.d. a few nights I added to it. I then had a “tester”, another person with ankylosing spondylitis, listen. He reported it helped him with his pain. BRAVO! I now have the c.d. out with more “testers” from all over the United States. “Soothing Ankylosing Spondylitis” is the end result.
“Hypnosis has undergone tremendous amounts of scientific testing in modern times. When used in an appropriate manner, hypnosis has proven itself to be an effective tool in the management of pain and pain perception. Hypnosis is an easy-to-administer procedure which has no deep or long-lasting side effects, yet most doctors ignore its effectiveness in lieu of more traditional methods” (Marc Marcuse, University of California).
Hypnosis is not a cure for ankylosing spondylitis, however it can be utilized to sooth the painful symptoms of this disease. By relaxing the muscles and focusing your awareness on where the imagery is leading you, the listener is able to experience less painful symptoms.NASA has proven that breaking subconscious patterns takes 30 to 60 days of brain training. As with most hypnotic guided imagery c.d.’s, the listener is encouraged to listen to the c.d. at least once a day for 30 days.