As a physical therapist, I often encounter problems that I can relate to a mismatch between what we're made for and what we're doing, physical activity/fitness-wise. This is in fact how I came in contact with the whole ancestral fitness/diet 'scene'.
Lately I've been thinking about diet and chronic musculosketal pain. I can tell you, there is not very much that is known about this in my field. There probably are lots of different ways in which diet can change are musculoskeletal health.
Does someone has any personal experience? Or some scientific literature/references?
Thanks for sharing,
asked byPieter_D (10299)
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on April 28, 2010
at 02:01 AM
My personal experience has proven to me that diet and pain are closely related. I struggle with Fibro/CFS, migraines and adrenal exhaustion. About a year ago, I eliminated gluten from my diet as an experiment to see if it lessened my symptoms. The change was so dramatic I vowed to never eat it again. The most dramatic improvement was in my overall joint and muscle pain. Eliminating gluten and MSG have also reduced my migraines by 75%.
In the last few months, I have turned to a higher fat, lower carb Paleo lifestyle. By going a step further by removing the non-gluten grains and refined sugar from my diet, my energy levels have improved and I no longer feel the sugar highs and lows. On another note, I also recommend acupuncture to help with chronic pain. You might also look into Prolotherapy. It worked well for my husband's back pain.
My physical therapist encourages her patients to take control of their pain by making lifestyle changes to achieve physical and emotional balance. The combination of PT, acupuncture, paleo diet, and supplements have worked better for me than any prescription medication I have ever taken. There is no single solution.
on April 28, 2010
at 09:16 PM
I live in Spain and we use physiotherapists frequently here. I suffered from chronic pain for 7 years which completely subided as a result of modifications to my diet recommended by my physiotherapist. Traditional docs didn't have an answer as to why my pectoralis minor was chronically contractured causing chest and back pain. I started with a physiotherapist who seemed to think that my diet was affecting my digestive system causing irritation to the vagus nerve and contributing to the problem (it was somewhat more complicated but his explanation was along those lines). He had me eliminate gluten, dairy, sugar, artificial sweeteners, nightshades, and non-organic produce from my diet. He also had me add more omega-3 and probiotics. Believe it or not, after the changes to my diet, and in addition to the physical therapy, the pain completely subsided.
I'm fairly certain that it was the diet, versus the physical therapy, as I had seen two other physiotherapist prior who were unable to fix the problem with physical therapy alone.
It's for this reason that I researched paleo eating and decided to eliminate all other grains.
Hope this helps:)
on March 08, 2010
at 08:58 PM
My guess, and is simply that, is that sitting on a chair for long periods of time everyday is probably very, very bad for musuloskeletal health.
I am migrating to a standing desk environment, which I think will be better for me.
on March 09, 2010
at 01:04 AM
I have had chronic pain problems for many years, and have explored the connection with diet in some detail. A few things I've found:
- Food allergies can trigger pain problems. Unfortunately, identifying allergies can be a difficult and time consuming process. An "elimination diet" is probably the best way.
- Microtoxins in food can trigger pain and even auto-immune problems. Nightshades are one example, but definitely not the only one. Food rotation is one possible approach here (avoid eat the same things meal-after-meal).
- Acid / base balance can impact pain. I've found that some types of pain are triggered by being too acid, and other types by being too alkaline. You can experiment with this by adding a teaspoon or so of baking soda to a glass of water to test the alkaline side, or a little vinegar in water to test the acid side. In some people, one direction can make the pain worse, while another makes it better.
on February 03, 2012
at 08:13 PM
Chronic pain like this is a big part of the reason why I have changed my diet over the years, eventually settling on paleo. Frankly, I didn't realize how much gluten affected my joints (and not just my gut) until my celiac diagnosis came in. I was able to move so much better.
The decrease in body fat and increase in muscle has certainly helped too. More strength to move, and so forth.
That said, diet hasn't been all of it for me. Paleo thought on exercising, that works with the body in natural ways, has helped to decrease a lot of joint pain. I've also makeshifted a standing desk, and plan to have a real standing desk in the future. A lot of my knee pain, it turns out, was from sitting for so long. The same with my back pain.
Lastly, eating paleo is a good source of nutrients that help to repair cartilage, and even help repair nerves, both of which seem to have alleviated my pain some. I don't have the science on it, but I know it's there.
on March 08, 2010
at 11:42 PM
Pieter, while I wasn't totally paleo at the time when I cut out carbs (and ate too little fat) I had less pain from my arthritic joints, particularly my bow-legged knees. I think dropping the sugar and grain products from my diet had that good effect.
I have since had two knee replacements and am doing quite well- one was done last May and the second was done in July. I am now taller!
By going back onto a fairly clean paleo diet I hope to lose the pounds I found again when I slipped on the low carb diet. The added fat of a paleo diet helps a lot with adapting to the diet as a way of life since it is far more satisfying than low fat.