Hemant was told there was no known cure. He had just been diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis (pronounced ank-kih-low-sing spon-dill-eye-tiss), an inflammatory disease that can cause chronic pain throughout the body, and eventually also cause vertebrae in the spine to fuse. He just had to keep himself mobile, the doctors told him.

As a full-time IT consultant, staying mobile was one of Hemant’s biggest challenges. After putting up with chronic pain in several parts of his body, an attack of searing back pain put Hemant over the edge. He wanted to avoid surgery at all costs, but he also wanted to return to living his life without the pain and limitations that came with his condition.

Hemant scoured the internet for non-surgical solutions. He found some of my exercise videos online—and after trying the exercises, he experienced some relief.

It was at this point that he contacted me. I could hear both the desperation and the skepticism in his voice when we first spoke. I couldn’t blame him after all that he had been through. He had concerns about us living on the opposite side of the country and not being able to meet with me in person. Nevertheless, he scheduled an appointment with me because he had already tried painkillers and several rounds of chiropractic work and he still hadn’t gotten the relief he was looking for.

In my initial assessment of Hemant’s posture, using photos and a plumb line, I observed Hemant’s body leaning to the right and his upper back and shoulders rounding forward. I gave Hemant a series of exercises designed to restore balance to his body and he began practicing these exercises on his own at home.

Given the research on his condition, Hemant was smart to take on having his posture assessed with me that day. According to Elyse Rubenstein, MD, a rheumatologist with Saint John’s Health in Santa Monica, California, activity is proven to be one of the best things you can do for ankylosing spondylitis. “I recommend a good exercise regimen and physical therapy,” she says. (https://www.everydayhealth.com/hs/ankylosing-spondylitis-treatment-management/myths/)

Furthermore, research published in the March 2014 issue of Annals of Rheumatic Disease found that study participants who followed a home exercise routine of postural, muscle strength, stretching, and respiratory exercises improved their quality of life and decreased emotional stress and fatigue associated with ankylosing spondylitis. (https://www.everydayhealth.com/hs/ankylosing-spondylitis-treatment-management/myths/)

At first, Hemant would get up in the morning to do his exercises two to three times per week before going to work. He realized that on the days he didn’t do his exercises he had more pain. Gradually, he got into the habit of doing his exercises on most days—and his back pain subsided along with other aches and pains throughout his body.

Hemant shared with me at one point, “I’ve never in the last five to seven years not gone to a chiropractor. Now I don’t go to the chiropractor at all. This is making a difference.” Hemant learned from his chiropractor that he could get adjustments to his spine, but the surrounding muscles would pull the spine back into its misaligned position. He knew he needed to do his exercises to work his muscles, and therefore help the chiropractor, and he did.

I almost cried tears of joy when Hemant shared with me that after doing his exercises for nearly a year and a half that his spine felt like it was becoming more responsive. He said, “My spine is coming alive.”

It was a powerful statement when Hemant said, “Sometimes I feel like I can reverse this to a certain extent.” An important feeling from a man who had been told there was nothing he could do. And that feeling was based on his personal experiences and observations.

In a follow-up phone conversation to our appointments, Hemant told me, “These exercises rely on gravity, and slowly over a period of time the body changes. This is why my pain has subsided.”

When Hemant is traveling for work he can always find the basic tools he needs to get his exercises done. Because the exercises do not require any specialized equipment, he is able to do them with everyday items such as a towel, a chair, and a book.

Most importantly, Hemant knows that this daily practice of exercise is the key to his health. “At the end of the day, it’s what I put into it that I get out of it,” he said.

Good job Hemant, keep up the good work!