Your doctor or rheumatologist (a doctor who specializes in arthritis and related conditions) can help you find ways to effectively manage ankylosing spondylitis (AS). If you have been recently diagnosed, have questions about AS, or are not sure how your treatment is progressing, talking to your doctor can help you take control of your condition so that you can live life on your own terms.

Use this doctor discussion guide to help you talk to your doctor about ankylosing spondylitis. Fill in the blanks, then print off your answers and bring them to your doctor’s appointment.

Doctor Discussion Guide: Talking About Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS)

1.
2.
Yes
No
3.
back pain and stiffness
pain that seems to be worst in the morning or after a period of rest
fatigue
difficulty sleeping
pain and tenderness in other areas of my body (e.g., hips, shoulders, neck, heels)
eye symptoms such as blurred vision, eye pain, eye redness, light sensitivity
other:
4.
5.
6.
never
once or twice a week
three or four times a week
five or more times a week
7.
Yes
No
8.
medications
regular physical activity and exercises to help with my symptoms
assistive devices
joint protection (learning ways to use joints so that I am not putting more stress on them)
physiotherapy
healthy eating
heat or cold therapy
9.
Biologic - e.g., Humira® (adalimumab), Enbrel® (etanercept), Remicade® (infliximab), Simponi® (golimumab)
Corticosteroid - e.g., Cortef® (hydrocortisone), Depo-Medrol® (methylprednisolone)
NSAID - e.g., Aspirin® (acetylsalicylic acid), Ansaid® (flurbiprofen), Advil® or Motrin® (ibuprofen), Indocid® (indomethacin), Naprosyn® (naproxen)
Pain reliever - e.g., Tylenol® (acetaminophen) with or without codeine, Codeine Contin® (codeine)
10.
Yes
No
11.
Yes
No
12.
Yes
No



Doctor Discussion Guide: Talking About Ankylosing Spondylitis

1. Age:  
2. Have you been diagnosed with AS?
I have NOT been diagnosed with AS. 
3. What kind of symptoms do you have?
 
4. How many days of work have you missed in the last month due to AS issues (e.g., symptoms, clinic appointments)?
I did not miss any days of work in the last month due to AS issues.
5. How many times in the last month have you cancelled social plans due to AS issues (e.g., symptoms, clinic appointments)?
I did not cancel any social plans in the last month due to AS issues.
6. How often do you require help in performing at least one of your daily activities (e.g., preparing meals, getting dressed, shopping for groceries, doing housework)?
I require help performing at least one of my daily activities, such as preparing meals, getting dressed, shopping for groceries, or doing housework,
7. Has your doctor taken images of your joints using X-rays or MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) to monitor the radiographic progression of your AS? (Radiographic progression uses X-rays and MRI images to show how AS is affecting your joints, bones, and nearby tissues over time)
My doctor has not performed tests to track the radiographic progression of my AS.
8. Which of the following are you doing to help manage your AS?
I do the following to help manage my AS:
I do not do the following and would like to learn how these can help me manage AS:
  • medications
  • regular physical activity and exercises to help with my symptoms
  • assistive devices
  • joint protection (learning ways to use joints so that I am not putting more stress on them)
  • physiotherapy
  • healthy eating
  • heat or cold therapy
9. What medications(s) are you currently using to treat AS?
I am not currently using a medication to treat my AS.
10. Are you experiencing side effects from your AS treatment?
I am not experiencing any side effects from my AS treatment.
11. Is your current treatment meeting your expectations?
My current treatment is meeting my expectations.
12. Is your current treatment meeting your expectations?
My current treatment is easy to fit into my life.

This doctor discussion guide can help you consider the issues you would like to go over with your doctor about how you can manage AS. It can help you organize your thoughts and questions. It may also make it easier to get the conversation started while you are at your doctor’s office. This guide can also provide your doctor with more information about your symptoms, how it affects your life, and treatment concerns.

Print this guide and bring it with you to your doctor’s office. You and your doctor can work together to find an AS treatment plan that will give you a solution for life.

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