I will just move a part of my story about running in here.
I have what my specialist call a very severe AS. It has been discovered in just about every joint in my body and my eyes. I was also told to stop running and start walking when I first got the diagnosis.
I didn't stop. And my pain slowly got worse. I then started walking and swimming and doing the exercise bike as reccommended. Nevertheless, I put on weight and I could feel my fitness level drop. But! I love to run. So after 20 months I bought a treadmill with very good impact regulation.
It is a dream come true for me. I have dropped the weight and have less pain breakthrough. My fitness has improved again. Hence I have more energy again. I have been able to cut back on the endone which I believe is a good thing. My physio says that she can feel that my body has improved.
I tried many fitness clubs and many have good treadmills. Some are no different than running on the road. But there are those who have ones with great shock absorption. Look around and find out if there is a great treadmill near you. And then start slowly and lightly to see how you react. If you feel good, then build up distance and speed really slowly. Build up slower than normally suggested. But stay off the road. No shoes exist that have sufficient shock absorption on their own. And remember to run on treadmills with a 1% incline. Later you can raise it to 2 and finally 3% to support your knees. We are not designed to run on a absolutely flat surface.
Warm up your ankles, knees, hips and back first and then thoroughly warm up your body by walking at a good pace with a small incline. Warmup is even more important with AS. After all we are already injured. It is also important that you keep the correct posture while running. Check it out. Most healthy runners don't even know the right posture.
When I run I'm fully aware that I have AS:) It often aggravates the pain a little at first. Sometimes even more than just a little. On a few day it gets somewhat bad during the early run. Pain then almost every time slowly eases up during the rest of the run. But half an hour after finishing it is always better than before the run. And on days I haven't run, my late night and next morning pains are a lot worse than when I run.
I now usually run 10k per day. I'm not as fast as I used to be, but I can still outrun most people when I go to the fitness centre. I bought my own treadmill because sometime the energy levels were not good enough to get me out the door first. When there is pain and fatigue getting started can be hard, so i bought one to lower the number of excuses not to run. On bad days it can be hard to get over four k and on great days I can do a half marathon. I do some of these in actual organized runs.
In total, my experience is that running is better for many things for AS patients who, very importantly, enjoy running. But only if they stay off the road, sand, and grass and use a treadmill with great shock absorption and great fitting and supporting shoes. Shoes should not be underrated. It is important with AS that it supports your foot and running style. Many places or food specialists can help you get the right shoe. They don't have to be expensive, not even from such places. The treadmill I use give me less impact than when running in water. And running has done wonders for my posture.
If pain is bad before the run I start running with low effect TENS. The running almost always improves the pain afterwards for me. It is highly individual though how we react to things, but I suggest you discuss the treadmill use with your specialist. My new specialist is all for it on treadmill and thinks it is sad that there are so many web authors who are against it. Find out, before you talk to your specialist and buy shoes, what level off shock absorption you can get to in your area. Maybe you will end up buying your own of it is a success?
I still use the bike and the physios exercises as well. But I dread the day that I can no longer run. Hopefully it never comes.
Edited by kilroy (04/24/12 11:44 AM)