Overhead / rainfall shower

overheadshower

Overhead shower heads, sometimes called rain or rainfall shower heads, have become quite fashionable, and come fitted to many enclosed shower cubicles for reasonable prices (usually in combination with a standard shower head).

These can take all the faff and pain out of constantly having to adjust the shower head height (especially if you live with someone a different height than you!) - just turn on and step under. An overhead shower can be especially good when combined with a stool and bathroom cushion (see below), allowing you to sit and relax under a warm stream of water and ease those aching joints.

Shower stool

showerstool

For those mornings or evenings when you're so stiff and sore that you just want to hobble into the shower and absorb the heat, feel the water pressure on your neck and try to ease the tension, consider getting a small stool to sit on in the shower. This can work well with an overhead shower, and can help you relax and even try some sitting stretches (perhaps some trunk rotations or neck stretches).

Make sure you have enough space though - you don't want to be tripping over it. Consider investing in a larger shower cubicle if yours is too small - stretching in the shower can be another trick up your sleeve for those bad days.

Steam shower

steamshower

If you have Ankylosing Spondylitis you already know that heat, especially wet heat, can be a great tool for relaxing and soothing those aches. Just a few minutes in a steam room can uncoil your tense muscles. What if you could have your own personal steam cubicle at home to step into in the morning, before bed, or whenever you like?

A steam shower is just a normal shower cubicle, but is completely enclosed when the door is closed and has a steam generator which pumps steam into the cabin through a small outlet.

A steam shower can be a fairly expensive investment, and not everyone enjoys steam, so if you're unsure try your local swimming pool, gym or spa to see if they have one to try out.

Depending on the power of the steam generator, how tight the door seals are and the temperature of the room, a steam shower may only produce a fraction of the 'steaminess' you get in a purpose built professional steam room, which usually has it's own gigantic steam generator in a separate room. But even a little steam might be enough to lessen pain and stiffness enough to improve your sleep. allow you to exercise or just get some pain relief. Compare the power output of the steam generator as a guide to how much steam you will get.

Tip: if you have the space, consider getting a 2-person steam shower - this may give you enough room to do some stretches while steaming

Tip: your bathroom will get a bit steamy, so make sure you have an extractor fan or window you can open

Tip: the steam generator may significantly add to your electricity bill depending on how powerful it is and how much you use it, bear this in mind when considering how much you can afford.

Bath cushions

bathcushion

Baths are a great way to ease aching muscles and joints, but can be uncomfortable to lie in a hard bathtub if your feeling tender and inflamed. To help this, look for bath cushions - small waterproof cushions with suction cups designed to be used in the bath for extra comfort.

Tip: Consider getting a few smaller, thinner cushions rather than one large inflatable one. Inflatable cushions can be very difficult to keep stuck to the bottom of the bath, especially if you're very stiff, and will tend to bulge upwards because of all the air inside. Instead look for thinner, completely sealed cushions which have padding inside rather than air, these are much easier to work with. Also, look for ones which will be easy to clean, and remember to let it dry completely when not using it to avoid algae building up (maybe use the suction cups to attach it to a tiled wall near your bath).

EPSOM SALTS

salts

I always thought Epsom salts (magnesium sulphate) were some hokey old-fashioned remedy consigned to history books along with leeches and tonics. Then I tried an Epsom salt bath and was pleasantly surprised!

I'm not sure about all the supposed healing properties many people claim (particularly by those selling), but I certainly feel like it helps relieve aching muscles after some exercise - athletes do seem to find it useful. Also something I didn't even consider - you will actually feel lighter in a salt bath, because the increased buoyancy the salt creates (depending on how much you use - I feel a noticeable difference with 300-400 grams of Epsom), resulting in a more relaxing and weightless bath, a big bonus if you have a sore coccyx.

Towel Chair

Drying yourself after a shower or bath can be an awkward task, especially trying to get your back and legs in the morning when you're all stiff and achy from lying in bed all night.

A really easy and cheap way to help yourself is to wrap 2 medium-sized towels around the back and seat of a chair to sit on while you dry yourself. Sitting makes it easier to dry your legs, and while you're at it you get some of your back and bottom done for free!

Tip: try wrapping a towel around a firm cushion and use that on the seat, to give yourself an extra bit of comfort

Tip: a low step or box in front of the chair to put your feet up on might help you dry those calves and feet

Smaller towels

flannel

Handling a huge emperor-sized towel to dry yourself can be awkward, especially when your shoulders and back are stiff.

Instead, why not try using a number of smaller towels? Combined with the towel chair idea above, you might be surprised how much drying power you can get out of one or two small, light, easy to use towels.