Learning to swim with Ankylosing Spondylitis, Fibromyalgia

I have started taking baby steps hoping to manage pain caused by Ankylosing Spondylitis & Fibromyalgia. I am taking one-on-one swim lessons. The pool is 4 feet deep throughout which takes the fear out of equation. The key is to relax throughout the session. You will feel right when you are in the water that muscles are tightening around neck, back etc if you are not swimming right. This will end up in pain through the spine while you sleep. Watching the breathing is also a key factor. It would be good to do stretches before swimming. Sitting in a sauna after will help loosen the muscles. To get to a point where I can even start swim lessons, I had to bring down my inflammation with prescription strength anti-inflammatory medications. Both Ankylosing Spondylitis and Fibromyalgia kept me in pain for years. I wanted to try moving. That way even if I am in pain due to swim activity, it will have good results in the long run.

Nature can heal

The weekend trip up in the Great Smoky Mountains to see fall foliage was refreshing and relaxing to wind down from all the day to day stuff. When living with chronic illnesses, taking a break from routine is much needed for the entire family. Though the trips can be tiring, I feel regardless you will be in pain after a day’s work. Why not take that time, still be in pain but enjoy nature. Its worth it!




Ankylosing Spondylitis

Ankylosing Spondylitis is an inflammatory arthritis affecting the spine and large joints. Severe pain through the spine starting from neck, mid back, lower back, fatigue, running low grade fevers all felt different. Consistent elevated ESR showed there is some inflammation in the body.  When rheumatologist tested me it was extremely tender & painful even to touch in my lower back. I did see symptoms for quite some time where it even hurts to sit in the toilet seat. Even carrying laptop bag from parking lot to the office desk was causing so much pain in the mid back. The pain is so severe that it won’t let me sleep in any position for long in the night. SI(sacroiliac) joints X-ray showed relatively symmetric sclerosis(hardening of tissue) of the sacroiliac joints. Have not yet figured out how I am going to manage this new condition. Atleast feels better to give the pain a name than just being put in Fibromyalgia bucket.




Keep up the passion

Chronic illnesses can challenge anyone with not being able to do normal things that you did before. The part being not able to plan is the hardest. For me, I have come a long way to let go of things. Still there are times I stretch and push myself to do things that are my passion. Being a software developer, to me, its attending technology conferences.

Its been a rough couple of months with extreme body pain, fatigue, low grade fever, severe pain along the spine, SI joints, subcutaneous nodules in the body along with unknown reason for elevated sedimentation rate. Currently waiting on more tests & results. I did have to take prescription strength Vitamin-D supplements as it was very low. Doctors say that it can mimic lot of Fibromyalgia symptoms.

I had to fly out to attend a three day technology conference that was planned couple of months ago. I did feel nervous as health went haywire after I signed up for the event. I did finally make it to the conference. Its worth it! I did have a LIFE before Fibromyalgia got me. I am not letting it win. I want to live the BEST I can!

Massage Therapy

Massage Therapy is beneficial for those with Fibromyalgia as it helps relax muscles, improve range of motion in joints & increase production of body’s natural painkillers. It can go sideways if the massage therapist is not familiar with how the body of Fibromyalgia patients can get flared up with a bad massage. Finding a good massage therapist who specializes in geriatric massage(older people) or minor children can help. They use less pressure with their palms and work through gently. A good massage therapist may use reflexology or forms of massage for Fibromyalgia depending on the sensitivity levels and tender points.

Good Talks

I would like to share some of the links that I found useful.

Minding your mitochondria | Dr. Terry Wahls

How childhood trauma affects health across a lifetime | Nadine Burke Harris

What happens when you have a disease doctors can’t diagnose | Jennifer Brea


The following supplements has been helping me keep going in spite of all the swirls of Fibromyalgia & friends brings in.

  • Methyl B12 – Supports brain cells & nerve tissue
  • Raw Calcium – Helps increase bone strength
  • Raw Vitamin C – Immune system support
  • Vitamin Raw D3 – Some need to take prescription strength Vitamin D if they run very low
  • Iron
  • Tri-iodine – Supports strong cellular defense and hormone balance
  • Aged garlic extract – in case cholesterol levels are elevated
  • Fish oil
  • Curamin
  • Melatonin – only if needed for sleep
  • Magnesium – supplements didn’t work well for my gut, instead I use topical cream for muscle tightness