Now that Fall has arrived I sit and wonder what the cooler weather will bring to my adventure with Ankylosing Spondylitis. I’m not sure how I exactly blocked out last year’s colder season, but realize it is here to stay, at least for a few months. When it comes to a person with AS I have learned that it all depends on the individual patient on weather preference. Some love the warmth of the Summer, some the brisk chill of the Winter months and some of us just want a split of the two. You know, the “perfect” weather.

Summer Sighs

As I bundle up and head to the bus stop for school with my kids I’m already hoping for the warmer days. I then think I must have forgotten those days where the heat left me almost immobile. Those days just recently slowed down since September just left us. With AS I look for every opportunity for pain relief and would often head to the pool to cool off in hopes that maybe the pain would be a little less. I would then get out of the pool and that Georgia sun is once again scorching down on me and instantly swells my body all over again.  Air conditioning is definitely a best friend of mine in the Summer time. I was always a sun bunny in the past but, unfortunately, I have had to learn my limits now.

Winter Woes

The cold nights keep me snuggled up looking for any form of relief from the stiffening of my joints. When Winter comes, for me, it is pretty impossible. The winds can be brutal here in the Winter which makes our cold weather slap me around a bit.  I never know if it will effect my hands, feet or back that particular day but unfortunately I wake up knowing something is going to be sore daily in those few months. I have accepted Mother Nature’s cruel weather tricks, but really wish there was something more than a heating pad and meds I could use to find some relief during the frigid weather.

70 and Sunny

For me, there is NOTHING like a Fall day. Not to hot, not to cold, just perfect.  The sun shining yet not with radiating an uncomfortable heat or cold.  A stroll around my neighborhood with the cool wind blowing gently through my hair.  The air massaging my skin as to say, Mother Nature is not a complete witch, she does want you to enjoy some type of weather. I seem to feel more energized and just happier all around. I guess it comes back to when you feel well physically, the emotional drain picks itself back up to help you push on.

Share With Me

AS’ers – Which do you prefer hot or cold? What helps you through those uncomfortable weather days?

Support System – Can you notice a change in your AS loved one when the weather changes, either physically or emotionally?


  • Vic says:

    I find that Fall itself, with all of the temperature changes is the hardest on me. Winter, can be a bit of the same, but I seem to flare less, as long as the weather stays stable. In the part of Canada, where I live, it frequently doesn’t, so I just grin and bear it. Spring is my favorite season though.

  • Mary says:

    I have fewer severe flare-ups in the winter (I’m in San Diego–so as winter as it gets here–although it is 36 degrees out right now). Summertime is a nightmare because I lose a lot of mobility. I live inside my apt. and a/c is my friend. Of course in the summer I can walk in the pool which I love to do. Weather changes STOP me. I suffer horribly a few days before a change in weather.

  • Marilyn Kamna says:

    Winter is hardest on me. It is cold and damp here in NW Oregon and when the weather changes (barometric pressure drops-I think?), is when the most acute symptoms set in and gradually lessens once the storm subsides. I try to keep up with the weather reports so I am not caught off guard. As a kid, Iused to laugh when the ‘old folks’ would say “there’s a storm coming–I can feel it in my bones”. Now at 54, the laughs on me, cause I’m the one who’s saying it, lol.

  • Tami says:

    Weather changes/barometric pressure changes are hardest for me. I’m experiencing a flair now in Montana it is 80-90 degrees during the day and 40-50 degrees at night. Haven’t slept in 3 days. My meds aren’t working and I’m afraid to take any more painkillers as I may OD. Any advice for treatment during weather changes please feel free to email me, it would be greatly appreciated.

  • Bobbie says:

    The cold weather seems to cause stiffness in the spine, and pain in the toes, ankles, and knees. I have found that 20 minutes in the hottub when it is cold and when I first wake up does wonders.

  • JP says:

    I actually went into brief bouts of remission with my medication over the summer, and was able to get back to doing the things I love. Our first snowfall here in the rockies left me up until 4am, unable to get to sleep, doubling up on my NSAIDS and taking my enbrel a day early. Winter by far, especially when it arrives with a bang is the worst.

  • Andrew Bird says:

    While winter is the worst time of year for me, I find that any significant change in barometric pressure has me uncomfortable, to say the least. I have been suffering for several weeks now and am looking for a good run of warmer and more consistent weather here in Toronto. My pain isn’t limited to my back and hips but I also get “referred” pain that radiates around my rib cage. I will be going back on Remicade as it is the only medication that has stopped my flare-ups and removed the pain. If you haven’t tried it yet, it is truly a miracle drug! As for Fall … it is truly the best season of the year!

    • Azharuddin says:

      I found out that my gluten intloerance was causing my auto-immune disease, rheumatoid arthritis, to flare up in horrendous ways. Since going gluten free I’ve moved from a wheelchair back to walking and hope one day to run again, so all I’ll say is stick with it, as you say it’s worth it!

  • Chance says:

    My AS was diagnosed late in life (age 52). However, it is now clear that symptoms began in my early twenties – as is most common. I was (still am to degree possible) an athelete and participated in a number of rough activities (e.g., motocross racing, horse training) and even though I was hospitalized on several occasions (complete immobile traction for up to two weeks at a time in a hospital) and all mannor of tests were taken, my pain and stiffness were always attributed to my aggressive lifestyle. I guess their ability to diagnose AS was pretty limited back then (not that it’s an exact science now) and nobody considered the possibility.
    I had a major flare in my early 50’s which was devisdating. I wound up having to take a medical retirement (while at the pinicle of my career in a job I absolutely loved), lost my ranch, and even my wife – who couldn’t live with a chronically sick husband.
    I’ve found that mild weather seems best for my overall function. Very hot weather seems to cause the worst complications. But when it gets cold and humid, that is a bad combonation too.
    Exercise and stretching (YOGA has done wonders and I’m a 57 year old cowboy). When I’m able to workout 4-5 times per week and don’t do anything too stupid (at least not too often) I am pretty functional.
    Like many of you, I am concerned about the quantity of pain meds I have been prescribed. So, now, I’ve gotten to where I take as little as possible on a daily basis and save most of it for “breakthrough and flares”.
    It has now spread into my heart and lining of my lungs – which sucks… Though I have no way of knowing for sure, I believe my days are becoming numbered. So, I’m going to stay retired and live life as fully and happily as possible, for as long as I can. I also find that prayer and keeping a good attitude (e.g., just think of Darfur or any of the places where starvation, and genocide from muslim extremists exists) and it makes me think I still have it pretty damn lucky.
    People always say, life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you choose to let it effect you. That seems to be true for me and I try to keep in mind my blessings rather than the relatively little suffering I have to endure.
    I wish all of you the best. Attitude, stretching, and staying active in things you love are my prescription for making the best of AS.
    God Bless. Chance

  • Ray Lang says:

    My AS flares up every summer when it goes over 70 degrees, and makes me depressed as it seems like everyone else is having fun!

  • Alva says:

    I got diagnosed with AS about 1.5 years ago my symptoms commenced straight after i gave birth to my one and only baby boy he is just gone 2 and I am still suffering I have tried a few treatments but 8 weeks ago tomorrow I started Enbrel injections once a week. I did start to get some relief but having bad pain again on and off over the past few weeks I do find when the weather is very humid it makes it flare up. I live in Ireland and the weather is crazy over here hot humid rain wind four seasons in summer. I would be grateful for any feedback with people on Enbrel to let me know how they find it works for them thanks 😉

  • Owen says:

    I live in Central Texas… Our weather is so unpredictable… 20’s to 80’s in the winter and 100 to 110’s in the summer (as a matter of fact we had 99 days at 100 or above summer of 2011). I was diagnosed in 2009 and had spinal stenosis surgery in 2008 which relieved my sciatica. I had no idea I has AS until an MRI showed the flare-ups in 2009. The extreme weather changes in Texas are a nightmare for me. I was on Enbrel; however, it was useless. I am now injecting Simponi once monthly and have had significant results; however, my feet are still very painful. I take my pain meds (Opana) as prescribed and do get relief. Am working on re-starting exercises… will post again in a month!

  • LeAnn Faith says:

    right now iam in sooo much pain, it has been 20 below or colder the last week, this month has hurt so much so I’m searching the web for answers. I have been dealing with this A.S. for 13yrs but this year has been HELL!!! please any suggestions or help would be appreciated, I didn’t even know there was finally a support system for this nasty disease so nice to see there is now. THANK YOU,,, LeAnn

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