The Woking & Weybridge Branch of the National Ankylosing Spondylitis Society (NASS) is a self-help group whose sole aim is to improve the lives of sufferers of Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) (an incurable, degenerative, chronic rheumatic condition) in our area. We meet weekly at the physiotherapy department of St.Peter's hospital, Chertsey (off M25 J11) for an organised physiotherapy session. We belong to NASS, a registered medical charity. Its aim is to find new treatments and eventually a cure for AS. This is a long term, expensive commitment. As a group all our costs are covered solely by the subscriptions that we raise from our members. We are very grateful to the management, and our friends in the Rheumatology and Physiotherapy departments at St.Peter's and Ashford Hospitals NHS Trust for now giving us FREE use of the pool and gym on Tuesday nights. As a group we will ultimately only exist with your support and participation.
What is Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) ?
AS is a painful, progressive, rheumatic disease. It mainly affects the spine but it can also affect other joints, tendons and ligaments. Other areas, such as the eyes, lungs, bowel and heart can also be involved. AS is one of the Axial Spondyloarthropathies (Axial SpA). Anyone with a confirmed diagnosis of AS or Axial SpA from a UK specialist may join the group (the diagnosis has to be a confirmed one from within the UK to satisfy insurance terms and conditions).
Ankylosing means fusing together. Spondylitis indicates inflammation of the vertebrae. Both words come from the Greek. So, AS describes the condition by which some or all of the joints and bones of the spine fuse together. Entire fusing of the spine is unusual. Many people will only have partial fusion, sometimes limited to the pelvic bones. The potential for fusion can be greatly reduced by regular targeted exercise and staying active.
Inflammation occurs at the site where certain ligaments or tendons attach to bone (enthesis). This is followed by some erosion of bone at the site of the attachment (enthesopathy). As the inflammation subsides, a healing process takes place and new bone develops. Movement becomes restricted where bone replaces the elastic tissue of ligaments or tendons. Repetition of this inflammatory process leads to further bone formation and the individual bones which make up your backbone, the vertebrae, can fuse together. The pelvis is commonly affected first. The lower back, chest wall and neck may also become involved at different times. Although different drug treatments are available for AS an Axial SpA, one of the best options is to exercise, exercise, exercise.
As a group, we provide:- targeted physiotherapy, informal discussion, support, advice and hydrotherapy. We meet at St.Peter's Hospital, Chertsey, Surrey, every week on Tuesday evenings. St.Peter's lies just off J11 of the M25. 60 minute gym sessions are held in the Big Gym in the Physiotherapy Department (Outpatients) at 7.00p.m every Tuesday. 30 minute hydrotherapy sessions are held on the first Tuesday of each month between 6.30pm and 8pm. Sessions are held every Tuesday unless public holidays fall on that day.
Woking and Weybridge NASS has members who live in Guildford, Chertsey, Egham, West Molesey, (Surrey), Staines, Harmondsworth, Sunbury and Ashford (Middx) as well as Woking and Weybridge.
NASS have recently published new data regarding AS as well as different forms Axial Spondyloarthropathy (Axial SpA). A direct link to this information is http://nass.co.uk/NASS/en/loose-leaf-pages/resources-for-health-professionals-2/
Some people have found some long term relief from the symptoms and pain of AS by adopting a "starch-free" diet regime. The details of this diet can be downloaded in the "Starch Free Diet" download on the right.
Remember, as of January 2014 we are trying out a new gym format. We'll still have the warm up, cardio and warm down sectons but ther will also be at least half an hour of exercises either: