hi my names joanne, 43 years old and im from liverpool england. I have four children and was diagnosed with AS at the age of 27, i started having pain at 18 (no back pain just pain in my hip and travelling down my leg) had a disc removed from my back at the age of 24, but pain continued and then terrible stiffness, had 3 epidural pain killing injections..non worked.! Was told by another consultant at the age of the age of 36 that i didnt have AS that the pain was ‘mechanical’ and i would just have to ‘learn to live with it!!’..so i didnt have any treatment or checks for 6 years but continuous, often debilitating, horrendous pain.. very difficult to manage when your a single mum with 4 kids relying on you…Then a couple of years ago, pain by now in my thoracic region and neck, it became so bad i took myself to A&E and eventually had a referral back to hospital, i had an MRI scan, and blood tests to check for gene HLA-B27 for which i proved positive this along with the findings of the MRI finally gave me a 100% diagnosis for AS by this time it was throughout the whole of my spine, i was 41 years old and my very first symptoms started at 18.!!..Most frustrating journey i have ever been on..