Imagine Dragons frontman shares struggles with debilitating disease to help others

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BROWNSVILLE -

Grammy Award-winning recording artist and lead singer of the band Imagine Dragons, Dan Reynolds, is using his voice to help others.

He's sharing his personal story dealing with a painful and potentially debilitating disease called ankylosing spondylitis or AS to raise awareness.

Reynolds told News 12 that his unexplained back pain started about a decade ago.

“At the time I was a struggling musician traveling in a little car with a bunch of small guys across America and sleeping on floors. I got to a point where I was literally so stiff on stage I can't even walk around, I was just very stiff by the microphone. I was in so much pain,” says Reynolds.

After being mis-diagnosed several times, he finally met with a doctor who got it right.

To prevent others from going through a similar experience, he's teaming up with Dr. Hillary Norton and Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation to launch 'Monster Pain in the A-S,' a national campaign to raise awareness about the disease.

“We are trying to make AS a household word,” says Reynolds.

Dr. Nanette Alexander-Thomas tells News 12 that living with AS can be extremely painful. 

"Patients will start having lower back pain which is described as being inflammatory different from mechanical back pain, which is where we all experience, but with inflammatory back pain, patients tend to have worse pain when they first awake in the morning," says Dr. Alexander-Thomas.

Dr. Alexander-Thomas says anyone who has been experiencing chronic back pain for three weeks or more should go see their primary care physician to hopefully get diagnosed.

"Right now we are using more potent medications which are called biologics and they work very well in decreasing inflammation and improving outcome generally for these patients," says Dr. Alexander-Thomas.

Reynolds tells News 12 that he's eating right, exercising and on a treatment plan that's working well.
While he still has his flare ups, he's certainly feeling better and hoping to help make that change for so many others.

“Today everyone wants to just share they're perfect, but that's a perfect picture. I think that's great but maybe it's more important to share your struggles so that people can connect for that and help each other,” says Reynolds.

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