The Lead Singer of Imagine Dragons Has Ankylosing Spondylitis

Medically Reviewed by Jabeen Begum, MD on November 19, 2021

The lead singer of Imagine Dragons, Dan Reynolds, was in his prime when he first felt the effects of ankylosing spondylitis. He was in his early 20s and was running down a mountain when he first felt a severe pain in his back. The pain interfered with his ability to sleep at night, and he would wake up stiff and have trouble moving in the mornings. 

He went to several different doctors, but no one could find out what was causing his pain. It was a scary time for Reynolds because he felt like people thought he might be making it up or that it was a mental issue. He found out later that it's common for people with AS to receive misdiagnoses. However, Reynolds states that he had the classic symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis, including severe pain at night and stiffness in the morning. 

Reynolds' stiffness was so troublesome that it interfered with his ability to perform with his band and pick up his daughter. After meeting with a rheumatologist, he was able to figure out a treatment plan that now works for him. Reynolds follows an anti-inflammatory diet that includes eating a lot of chicken and vegetables. He avoids red meat, alcohol, and artificial sugar. He also makes it a point to drink lots of water and take daily vitamins.

Exercise is also an important part of Reynold's treatment plan. He focuses on moving and stretching with yoga every day, although he avoids strenuous exercise. He's trying to raise awareness about AS because he wants others to know there's nothing to be ashamed of. Reynolds has found a plan that works for him, and he's hopeful about the future. He wants everyone with AS to be able to experience that.