Julie’s Story 

Meet Arthritis Warrior Julie Linton. She shares her story to provide encouragement to those living with arthritis and to remind them that they are not alone and should never give up on finding relief. 

Julie Linton is a 32-year-old physician assistant. She is passionate about her baby boy, her yellow lab, lacrosse and water skiing. In high school, Julie experienced lower back pain during activities. To conserve her energy for her favorite sport, lacrosse, she had to stopped playing volleyball and wakeboarding. When she was recruited to play varsity lacrosse in college, she declined and only played at club level as a result of the progression of her symptoms. 

Physical therapy, spinal injections and oral steroids got Julie through college and game weekends. Anxiety and depression developed due to constant pain.  She dreaded going to bed because she knew how bad the nighttime and morning would be.  

Ten years after her symptoms first began, a rheumatologist diagnosed her with ankylosing spondylitis (AS). She felt relief that her symptoms were finally confirmed with a diagnosis, but it quickly turned into sadness and anger. 

AS has not only caused Julie to give up the activities she loves, it has also affected her career. Though she loved working in general surgery, the physical requirements caused tremendous pain. Now, she works in the pain management field which seems somewhat appropriate to her. 

Julie has tried many medications, including non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, antidepressants, muscle relaxers, narcotics, pain patches and steroid injections. The side effects were all harsh, so Julie also includes physical therapy, massage therapy, orthopedic manual therapy, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation and psychotherapy in her treatment plan. Currently, she receives a weekly injection and takes the occasional anti-inflammatory pill.