About Back Yourself
Being diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis (AS) doesn’t need to define you and it shouldn’t hold you back. With education and the right support, you can confidently back yourself and get back to doing the things you love.
Why Back Yourself?
If living with AS means you’ve accepted a life that you’re just ‘OK’ with, we’re here to help you change that.
Back Yourself provides information about AS, expert perspectives and resources to help improve your quality of life. We help give you the confidence to have clear and honest conversations with your rheumatologist and healthcare team about how AS is impacting your life so you can get back in control and start living the life you want.
Backing yourself could change your life. It’s time to speak up!
- Education – We believe that knowledge is power. We aim to help educate you about AS so you can have more informed conversations with your rheumatologist and healthcare team, family and friends.
- Wellbeing – Living the life you want and not just settling for ‘OK’ is key to what we stand for. We provide resources to support you to gain back control of your life and be able to make changes that may help you live well with AS.
- Confidence – While being diagnosed with AS can be a setback, it can also help provide clarity on what’s truly important to you. We encourage you to define goals in line with what you hope to achieve. We help give you the confidence to back yourself and have productive conversations with your rheumatologist and healthcare team about how to get back to living a life that you’re happy with.
We’ve gathered top Australian experts in ankylosing spondylitis to help inform you about AS and get back to doing what you love.
Professor Peter Youssef
Peter is an experienced rheumatologist based in Sydney. He’s spent the last 20+ years helping people with rheumatic and musculoskeletal conditions such as arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis to manage their condition. Peter also works in a teaching hospital and teaches at the University of Sydney.
Professor Kathryn Nicholson Perry
Kathryn is a professor in clinical psychology and has worked in clinical, research and teaching roles. She has a particular expertise in the psychology of illness, disability and rehabilitation with a special interest in the mental health impact of chronic conditions and pain.
How to talk about managing AS
Here’s how you can back yourself when talking to your rheumatologist about how ankylosing spondylitis is impacting your life.
1. Be honest
Downplaying ankylosing spondylitis symptoms may feel like a way to cope but it’s important to check in with yourself on how you’re feeling and be honest. If you find yourself saying ‘it could be better’, maybe it could be.
2. Keep track of how you feel
How you feel day-to-day matters, so it’s important to keep track. Journal any symptoms as well as your overall well-being at the same times each day or use the handy checklist in our Conversation Guide below.
3. Prepare to share
With limited time during appointments, it’s important you feel ready to discuss how AS is impacting your life in a clear and honest way. Being prepared by writing down the key things you want your rheumatologist to know and the questions you want to ask ahead of time will help you get the most from your appointment. And, don’t hold back! It doesn’t matter how small or big something is, if it is impacting your life – it’s vital to tell your doctor.
Ready to take control of AS?
Your rheumatologist and healthcare team are your best allies in taking control of AS. It doesn’t matter whether it’s been one or many years since your diagnosis with AS, it’s never too late.
If you think AS is holding you back or impacting your life, it’s time to talk to your rheumatologist about your goals and how you’re managing. Don’t let AS hold you back, take control.
Download the guide to help you make the most out of your conversations with your doctors.