This disease develops very gradually over months or years with recurring episodes of back pain or back stiffness. The movement of the back is restricted in all directions. The pain sometimes radiates to the buttock or back of the thigh and is thus often misdiagnosed as sciatica. It differs from mechanical back pain in that the pain is present in many areas of the back and on both sides. The pain is the worst early in the morning and is relieved by activity. The lower back is primarily involved, but in some people the upper back and neck is affected the worst. The disease typically progresses over several years from the lower spine upwards until the stiffness affects the whole spine. The bones in the ribs can become involved resulting in chest pain on breathing or difficulty in expanding the chest. The Achilles tendon at the back of the ankle/
heel, the bottom of the feet and bones in the hips, knees, elbows or shoulders can also be affected and are stiff and tender. People with ankylosing spondylitis often experience chronic fatigue because of long term sleep interruption as a result of the pain.
Ankylosing spondylitis is chronic non-bacterial inflammation of the bones in the spine. The physical and spiritual dynamics behind non-bacterial inflammation are fully explained on page 251 under the heading “Introduction”. After reading about how and why the non-bacterial inflammation of ankylosing spondylitis developed in that chapter, the next step is to deal with the two spiritual roots behind it:
You have got to be prepared to change the way you think about yourself – you need to choose to see yourself as God sees you. Building a healthy self-esteem starts with learning who you are in Christ and establishing your identity and sense of self worth in Him. The chapter on page 498 will help you with this.
You also have to get the fear, anxiety and stress out of your thought life. Deal with those issues that are robbing you of your peace. Turn to the chapter on page 523.
Ankylosing spondylitis can also be genetically inherited – this is a result of fear, anxiety and selfhatred/ a low self-esteem in previous generations of your family tree. If other family members also suffered from ankylosing spondylitis, please turn to the chapter on page 153 which explains more about genetically inherited diseases and how to deal with them.