The Ankylosing Spondylitis Commercial

Ok, raise your hand if you live in Pittsburgh, Penn Hills, or Monroeville and have heard that radio spot saying that your back pain may be caused by Ankylosing Spondylitis (or AS for short).

I’m sure you have, I’ve heard it on probably 5 different local radio stations. As a local Pittsburgh Chiropractor, I’ve had a couple patients ask me about it. To be frank, in a nutshell, it’s a massive scare tactic crock.

Yes, AS does exist, it isn’t some made up condition, but it’s so very rare. In fact, in affects only 1.4% of the U.S. population (stats here). In over 12 years of practice, seeing literally thousands and thousands of patients in the Monroeville and Penn Hills area, I’ve seen one, yes one, patient that has it.

AS is an inflammatory condition that’s in the same family tree as arthritis. It’s simply just a very specialized and specific form of it. You can see more detailed info here. The heading picture for this blog post has an x-ray view of it, and it’s noted by the “train tracks” image it creates on the spine.

Here’s the catch on the radio spot though, upon listening the whole way through, they say very very quickly at the end who furnishes the ad. The commercial is paid for by Abbott Laboratories, manufacturer of the prescription drug Humira, one of several drugs used to treat AS. So Abbott is spending a lot of money promoting AS “awareness”. They stand to make big money as people flock to their doctors asking for Abbott’s AS drug.

I think that awareness, early detection, etc. is very important for any condition, but scare tactics that promote mis-information under the ruse of said awareness are a completely different subject and are quite shameful.

So there’s my two cents as a Monroeville Chiropractor on the commercials. I’ll step down from my soap box now!

– Dr. Brent Shealer – Penn Hills, Pittsburgh, Monroeville Chiropractor

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