The members of the National Ankylosing Spondylitis Society (NASS), who have donated these pages to you, who also have the condition. We hope that you receive this information immediately on diagnosis. However, we know that many of you have recently experienced a long period before being diagnosed. In some cases this has been a very frustrating and humiliating period. For others, who have received the diagnosis many years ago, this booklet may represent the only intelligent, accurate and up-to-date information you have come across. We urge you all to start now and take an active interest in your condition so you can influence its outcome as much as possible. We realise that some younger people will react through a denial, or mourning process. We feel that this attitude, although understandable, is unhelpful. Ignoring the diagnosis can lead to a gradual and permanent deterioration of posture and mobility. Join the thousands of other people who have found membership of this society beneficial and helpful. On becoming a member we will send your membership card to you, together with the latest edition of our biannual journal. The journal will also inform you about the other publications we produce, as well as our physiotherapy cassette tape and video film of a home-exercise programme.
Fergus J Rogers
Director of NASS
3 Grosvenor Crescent
London SW1X 7ER
NASS was founded in 1975 at the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases in Bath. It is a society formed by people who have ankylosing spondylitis (AS), their families, friends, physiotherapists and doctors, together with research scientists working on the problems of the disease. The society provides support and both medical and social education about the disease and its social and medical management. It also aims to provide a forum to educate the professionals and the public in the problems of the disease. In addition, it supports and funds a modest amount of research. It aims to influence governmental bodies and the National Health Service in order that better facilities for treatment should be provided, and to encourage improved welfare of sufferers and their families. It also aims to encourage and assist the formation of similar societies in other countries. To fight the stiffening process in the spine demands control of pain, for which pain-killing and/or anti-inflammatory drugs are available. But these only have a limited effect unless they are supplemented by a programme of regular and vigorous exercises designed to stretch ligaments and strengthen muscles to maintain mobility and good posture. Facilities for sufferers to learn this necessary programme are not always available. The society therefore is constantly in the process of building up BRANCHES, most of which are supported by physiotherapists who are prepared to supervise regular exercise sessions for members after working hours. The society also produces a CASSETTE tape and VIDEO film, "Fight Back", of a home-exercise programme. The annual subscription entitles you to the society's twice-yearly journal, "The NASS Newsletter". It contains articles by doctors, research scientists, physiotherapists and sufferers on different aspects of the disease. It contains news from our branch organisations, our foreign sister societies and a correspondence section from members of the society. Lists and prices of our other publications are given.