I started having severe lower back pains in 1994. The doctor I was going to said it was from a herniated disc. MRI showed negative for a herniated disc and so began the journey. After several doctors and misdiagnosis, and a few rounds of physical therapy they still couldn’t figure out what was going on. I was working construction and was to the point of working 6 hours a day and going home in tears from the pains. I finally got an appointment to go see an orthopedic doctor. When I got there I found out I was to be seen by one of his assistants. I thought “oh boy, an assistant is not going to be able to figure out what all those others couldn’t figure out”. Well, they took their own x-rays there at the clinic. When he came in the room and put the x-rays on the light board it was like he hadn’t even looked at them yet. He started pointing out that there was no room between quite a few of the vertebrae and said that was where the pain was coming from. Then he stopped and really just stared at the x-rays. I could tell his wheels were spinning in his head. He then excused himself and left the room. My wife and I just looked at each other, wondering what was going on. He came back into the room with a textbook in his hand. He said, “I believe you have Ankylosing Spondylitis, or in lamens terms Bamboo Spine.” He continued, “I have only seen it in text books and we will have to run more test but Im pretty sure that is what it is.” He said they would make me an appointment with a rheumatologist because that is who I needed to see. He also but me on all sorts of restrictions, no lifting more than 10 lbs, no standing or stooping for more than an hour, etc. He put me on some strong pain killers and 800 mg ibuprofen. I went home and immediately started trying to do research. It took 6 weeks to get the appointment for the rheumatologist and I had to wait a year for the appointment. I finally got to see the rheumatologist and she did the HLA-B27 test and had an MRI done. She confirmed the diagnosis of AS. This was in 2004. From the time I started looking for answers for my pains to confirmed dx was just over 10 years.
Oklahoma, United States of America