Does your partner have Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS)? Are you wondering how to best support them? I’ve lived with AS for nearly a decade, and I asked my husband to help me with this one! Our five top tips for living with someone who has Ankylosing Spondylitis are:
1. It changes. A lot. Fast.
The disease can change from day to day. One day your partner might be completely fine and the next they can hardly walk. This is normal. It can be hard to understand and frustrating at times, but it’s not made up and it’s not an excuse for not wanting to do something, Ankylosing Spondylitis is known for this.
2. Give massages
You can help your partner by giving them a massage, helping them use a massage gun on their back, or even treating them to a massage from a professional! If you’re in the US, MassageEnvy is a great option as they offer subscriptions so your partner can get regular massages. Massages can help manage the pain from Ankylosing Spondylitis and it can help relax the muscles and keep the body feeling supple.
3. Eat what they eat
If your partner want to try a new way of eating to see if it helps, do it with them. It can be hard going gluten-free, dairy-free or cutting out sugar and if you keep eating those things its even harder.
4. Help them with chores
Offer to help them with household chores, carrying things, or picking things up from the floor. I remember when I was at my worst with my AS, I couldn’t get anything from the bottom kitchen cabinets without having to get down on all fours while holding onto something (it was a huge effort) so my husband always came to my aid. Seemingly little things like this make a huge difference.
5. Exercise with them
Last but certainly not least, this might be one of the most important things you can do. If you’re not typically an active couple, this is the time to start! Invite them to go for walks, sign up for yoga or Pilates classes, encourage them to keep moving. Perhaps buy them a brand new yoga mat they’ve been eyeing, or surprise them with a massage gun or foam roller. Or perhaps gift them a subscription to a virtual yoga studio, like The Studio! Exercise is THE most important thing when it comes to managing your Ankylosing Spondylitis and if your partner hasn’t been active before, its key that they start now. Doing it by themselves can be difficult so the more you can do together the better.
I hope you found these tips helpful! If you have any questions at all, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll help as best as I can.