Imagine Dragons' Dan Reynolds Is 'Pain Free' After a Decade-Long Battle with Autoimmune Disease
“I’ve spent a decade fighting an autoimmune disease that inflamed all my joints (AS),” Reynolds recently explained on Instagram. “I now live pain free, am in full remission and am the healthiest I’ve ever been. I owe it to this man @thor345622. Correct diet, vitamins and exercise. I’ll share it all with you soon. It’s been life changing for me.”
Reynolds, 30, first opened up about being diagnosed with Ankylosing spondylitis — often referenced as A.S., which is a chronic inflammatory condition of the joints that can lead to extreme pain and in the worst cases, spinal fusion — to PEOPLE in November 2016.
He praised his trainer, Ben Feinberg, in another post from earlier this week and showed off how his body has benefited from his new lifestyle in a series of selfies.
“Just a few months of reworking my entire lifestyle/diet/exercise w @thor345622 and I have zero inflammation now. These before and after pictures say it all,” he wrote next to two photos, one where he looks noticeably more toned than the other. “Sorry for the corny exercise post but truly changed my life and healed years of pain. Unbelievably grateful for health.”
The “debilitating” pain forced him to cancel shows just as the band was gaining success. “It was beyond the pain that you feel when it’s just a back ache. It felt like someone was drilling my nerves,” he said. “I couldn’t get on stage. I couldn’t move, I couldn’t sleep at night, I couldn’t perform without standing perfectly still. I couldn’t sit down for more than a half an hour.”
After his diagnosis, Reynolds said he had good days and bad as a result of his chronic condition.
“I have a month that would be great, like no pain for a month and then I might have a week where I start to feel a flare-up,” Reynolds told PEOPLE in 2017. “But for the most part this last year, I’ve had it under control via my diet and exercise. It’s different for everybody, I’ve found the balance within that the last year that’s worked for me, but next month I could have a really bad flare-up and go back to my rheumatologist and say, ‘Hey what do I need to do to get back to a place of health?’ ”
Reynolds’ initiative called This AS Life Live!, an online, interactive talk show for patients with A.S., hosted by patients with A.S. was also created to help others cope with the disease.
As for his reason to partner with Spondylitis Association of America (SAA) and Novartis, Reynolds said at the time, “For me when I was diagnosed, I was Googling everything and I couldn’t find a specific source that I could turn to for community, for knowledge, and not to feel so alone with this disease.”