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If you have unexplained pain in your lower back or early morning stiffness, then you need to go to your GP. I was in constant pain – now I’m training for a triathlon

Amanda Geard lived with chronic pain for years before she received a diagnosis of ankylosing spondylitis. She shares the impact it had on her life, the top-class treatment she received and why she’s keen to bring greater awareness to the little-known condition

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Amanda Geard's condition has improved greatly. Photo: Stephen Lee.

Amanda Geard's condition has improved greatly. Photo: Stephen Lee.

Amanda walking with her Irish setters Bertie and Harry near her home in Sneem, Co Kerry

Amanda walking with her Irish setters Bertie and Harry near her home in Sneem, Co Kerry

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Amanda Geard's condition has improved greatly. Photo: Stephen Lee.

What started out as a niggle was the beginning of a debilitating condition that left Amanda Geard, now 38, wondering if she’d spend the rest of her life in pain. When she looks back, she realises that the twinges she first felt at the back of her pelvis were the beginnings of a storm in her life. Soon the oncoming waves of pain became so strong that she was left immobilised.

It would be years before she was diagnosed with the relatively rare form of arthritis known as ankylosing spondylitis (AS) and over a decade before she got the correct treatment. Finding the right doctor and being put on a treatment plan has turned her life around but she knows that unless people get the diagnosis and treatment they need, their quality of life can deteriorate.


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