Because many life insurance companies do not understand the disease they find it acceptable to add a loading on to spondylitic policies. NASS feels that this is unjust. We advise that when considering an insurance policy shop around through multiple applications and appeal against any loading.
Many NASS members have tried alternative remedies. Acupuncture can act as a temporary pain block and its effectiveness probably relies on the skill of the practitioner. Avoid manipulation, as it can be dangerous, especially for those people with a severe neck condition. Gentle soft-tissue massage can be beneficial, as it can help to relax muscles which have become tense as a reaction to an inflamed joint. We know that many of our members have tried, at some time or other, diet, acupuncture, aromatherapy, reflexology, homeopathy, etc. None has been demonstrated to have any advantage over conventional medical treatment. However, as a society, we encourage our members to do whatever they find helps, provided it is not expensive or dangerous. It is above all important that the practitioner of these alternative therapies understands our condition.
This is a vital topic and is an area where the spondylitic, to a great extent, influences the outcome of the condition. Ondiagnosis you should have treatment from a physiotherapist and learn an exercise routine which you can do every day. Until you have been to physiotherapy you should start right away, and we have therefore listed some exercises for you as a guide. The physiotherapist's purpose is to make you conscious of your posture, especially the position of your back, and to increase the range of movement of certain joints, particularly shoulders and hips. It is important to keep your muscles strong because reduced movement, even for a short time, allows them to become weaker and it may take a long time to build them up again. It is also important to learn how to stretch the muscles that readily become shortened. NASS can help you with physiotherapy in a variety of ways. Firstly, by supplying a physiotherapy cassette of exercises for the home. Secondly, the society produces a video tape of a home-exercise programme. Both these tapes are available from the NASS office. The prices are published in each edition of the Newsletter which is sent to all members. Thirdly, NASS is opening a growing number of branches whose members meet once a week for group physiotherapy under supervision of a physiotherapist. The latest list of branches is published in each edition of the Newsletter. Most branches also provide a variety of social activities and patient education. These do vary from branch to branch, depending on the support each branch committee receives.