The National Ankylosing Spondylitis Society (NASS) is officially launching their telephone helpline for people affected by ankylosing spondylitis (AS)


From 1 September 2011, the Helpline will be open between 0900 and 1200, Monday to Friday and will be staffed by Sally Dickinson, the Information Officer at NASS. Sally, who is also responsible for the published medical information and guidance, will be well supported by the team of medical advisers to NASS that include rheumatologists and physiotherapists.


The type of queries about AS that NASS receive currently, include:

  • Problems around diagnosis
  • Finding a consultant with an interest in AS
  • Medication, including anti TNF therapy
  • Problems with pain
  • Exercise and physiotherapy
  • Complementary therapies
  • Surgery
  • Associated conditions including uveitis, skin problems and inflammatory bowel disease
  • Fatigue
  • Employment
  • State benefits including Disability Living Allowance (DLA) and Employment Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Insurance issues
  • Lifestyle issues including beds, chairs and driving


Debbie Cook, Director of the National Ankylosing Spondylitis Society (NASS) says:

Around 200,000 people in the UK have ankylosing spondylitis (AS). It usually starts in the late teens and early twenties and can cause lifelong pain and stiffness. Unless treated and managed effectively AS will lead to great pain and can render people immobile and unable to work.


One of the main aims of NASS is to provide guidance, advice and information for people with AS and their families. Since January 2011, Sally has already responded to more than 500 requests for information and advice. I am confident that our new Helpline will make even more people aware that NASS is here to help. People unable to use the helpline can also request information or ask for assistance by email to ’.



Tel: 020 8948 9117



For more information, please visit



  • Ankylosing means fusing together. Spondylitis indicates inflammation of the vertebrae
  • There are around 200,000 people in the UK with AS
  • The average age when AS symptoms start is 24
  • Diagnosis is slow with an average delay of 10 years from symptom onset
  • AS can also be described as arthritis of the spine
  • It is a long term condition and is incurable
  • AS can affect other areas of the body including eyes, lungs and bowel
  • Exercise is the single most important thing a person with AS can do to help themselves, while painkilling medication will help to reduce pain and improve sleep and general well being



NASS was founded by a group of people with AS, doctors and physiotherapists at the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases in Bath in 1976. NASS provides physiotherapy groups, support and advice to patients and families, supports research and campaigns to raise awareness of AS and the needs of people with AS.

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