Running Pain-Free with Ankylosing Spondylitis Thanks to Chi Technique

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Thank you for creating ChiRunning. About a year and a half ago, I was diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS)… it’s a type of spinal arthritis, more like rheumatoid, where your body attacks itself, affecting mainly the sacroiliac joints and the joints in the spine.

As a 27 year old male, it was devastating. I had run several marathons previous to diagnosis and running had become a part of who I am.  In fact, during the diagnosis process I had been training for another race and initially, thought it was a running injury. Unfortunately, after about a year of severe pain sometimes forcing me to walk with a limp and countless doctor visits, I was diagnosed.  Remaining active is one of the best things to keep AS from progressing. Running for many people with AS isn’t an option because of the impact it creates. But for me, giving up running was not an option.

I knew about ChiRunning before my diagnosis but hadn’t given it much thought since I had been running for three years without problems. After my diagnosis, the first thing I did was buy the book and sign up for a seminar. I’ve been practicing ChiRunning for about a year now and there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that my ability to continue running is a result of ChiRunning. The emphasis on fluidness throughout the core and internal focus leaves me feeling better after a run than when I started. I can start a run with a stiff back and finish feeling great. ChiRunning has been a blessing to me.  In fact, I’ve competed in several 10Ks since diagnosis and have set numerous PRs. I’ve also transitioned from marathoning to triathlons. This summer I will be competing in a series of Tri’s in Boulder, Colorado culminating with a half-ironman event. Without ChiRunning none of this would be possible. I thank you for your dedication and hope that my story can inspire others to get out and enjoy a run.

Chris Van H.