Dan Reynolds is most well-known for his role as lead singer in the Grammy Award-winning band Imagine Dragons, but the 29-year-old musician is looking to lend his voice to a cause that has afflicted him personally since his early 20s. When Reynolds first complained of a pain that felt like someone was drilling into the nerves in his lower back, he never suspected he’d be diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis (AS), an inflammatory disease that can cause pain in your joints, most commonly around the spinal column.
According to the Mayo Clinic the condition can cause some of the vertebrae in the spine to fuse which results in a hunched-over posture that, in time, can make it difficult to breathe.
“I couldn’t sleep at night and started to lose mobility in my body,” Reynolds told FoxNews.com.
Reynolds’ symptoms started to set in just as Imagine Dragons was becoming breaking onto the music scene, and the painful condition started to affect his stage performance.
“We had shows where I couldn’t even move from the microphone,” he said. “I was in so much pain I just had to stay still with the microphone.”
Reynolds refers to AS as a hidden disease because while a half a million people live with the condition, it is relatively unknown. Doctors had initially dismissed his discomfort as sciatica pain and other lower back conditions for almost a year until he was correctly diagnosed.
In addition to taking prescribed medication, Reynolds realized he had to make many lifestyle changes to help keep his symptoms at bay. He worked to change his diet and started to exercise more, which includes yoga three times per week. Because of his efforts, Reynolds has been in remission for more than a year.
Now, Reynolds wants to speak out and spread useful information to help others who have been diagnosed with AS.
To raise awareness, he teamed up with Spondylitis Association of America (SAA) and Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation to host a new interactive talk show called “This AS Life Live!” The show is designed to give a sense of community to those with AS and hopefully assuage the feelings of loneliness that Reynolds said is prevalent within the patient population.
While the website has information about AS, Reynolds biggest piece of advice is to see a rheumatologist. Because AS can be treated in many different ways, only a specialist can find the right plan for you.
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