6 - Andrew Hartman on Living With Ankylosing Spondylitis & "The Spoon Theory" in Chronic Pain Management

In episode six, we speak to university student, Andrew Hartman, about their experiences being diagnosed and living with Ankylosing Spondylitis. Andrew shares how this incredible life change led to opening a business focused on supporting those on pain journeys, as well giving us an overview on the excellent “Spoon Theory” in chronic pain management.
In episode six, we speak to Andrew Hartman who is currently a doctoral student in Psychology at the University of Saskatchewan, and a Certified Health & Wellness Coach. Also the founder of Saskatoon-based business, Psystem, Andrew and their team run a virtual wellness space to provide support, resources, and services for those on pain journeys - an endeavour that was directly inspired by Andrew's own lived experience of pain!

Andrew has had a lifetime of experience with chronic pain, and currently suffers from Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS). AS is a global inflammatory disease similar to arthritis that causes pain; over time, it can cause bones in the spine (vertebrae) to fuse, and can spread to additional joints causing damage in other parts of the body.

During our conversation, Andrew shares some inspirational stories and insight on how perseverance and self-advocacy are crucial parts of accepting and managing a chronic pain condition. They also provide some keen takeaways and advice for those struggling with depression and/or physical limitations alongside their pain, the importance of conscious breath work and yoga practices to enable feelings of safety in one's body, and excellent advice to both care providers and patients. 

Lastly, we close with some education on the “The Spoon Theory” of chronic illness, which is a self-pacing strategy that emphasizes the need for chronic pain patients to work within a certain quota as a pain management strategy. Developed by Christine Miserandino to relate to many types of chronic illness, it describes perfectly an idea of each person having limited energy – using the analogy of “spoons” as a unit of energy - on how someone can approach their day and learn to live well.
 More information about the Andrew and Psystem can be found on Facebook and Instagram (@MyPsystem – links below), or by e-mailing “info@psystem.caWe will also post a link about the “The Spoon Theory” on our social media channels for more information following the release of this episode.

Additional Links and Resources
SaskPain Website
SaskPain Facebook
Psystem Facebook
Psystem Instagram

Vangool Wellness Yoga 
Vangool Wellness Podcast - "Awaken To Your Body's Natural Wisdom with Adrianne Vangool"

We hope you enjoyed this episode, and we encourage you to visit our website at www.saskpain.ca or reach out if you would like to share your own personal story. We happily welcome feedback on this podcast, and are always looking for guests to speak to! Contact us at info@saskpain.ca, or message us on our Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn pages if you would like more information. 
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