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Rachel Aldington, 42, emerges from the frozen fog, feeling for just a few minutes like she’s 19 again.
Back then she was loose-limbed and pain-free, poised on the brink of a professional waterskiing career — and then she developed ankylosing spondylitis.
This is a form of inflammatory arthritis, mainly affecting the spine and hips, although it can also cause inflammation of other areas of the body including the heart, bowel, feet and eyes.
In the spine, as the inflammation subsides, healing starts and scar tissue turns into new bone, restricting movement as it replaces tissue.
Repeated flare-ups mean more bone growth and eventually vertebrae can fuse together.
An estimated 200,000 Britons suffer from the condition — twice the number of people with multiple sclerosis or Parkinson’s disease. It’s thought to be hereditary and there is no cure.
But now some experts believe intense cold could be used to treat ankylosing spondylitis and other chronic inflammatory conditions such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Rachel was diagnosed after developing pain in her pelvis.
‘I was training very hard and I think it was probably the ski-jumping which created the most pain, but I was used to hurting — you are when you are a sportsperson,’ she recalls.
‘But this pain wasn’t getting any better.’
Read more: Daily Mail Online