Not Paleo, but I keep trying.
I do believe the answer to this question could help me stay on course immensely.
Do I hurt so much in my knees, hands, feet, and other miscellaneous sections solely because of bad eating?
What should be my plan of attack for eliminating some of these aches?
I am working a retail job part-time and sometimes when I leave a shift my legs and knees ache for the longest time making it hard to fall asleep. I'm starting to feel more geezer-like than I care to admit. But working this job I am moving at a slow to medium pace for 6-8 hours about five times a week.
I do take MSM and Resveratrol to help my joint pain and I'm about 35 pounds overweight.
I have a collection of not-paleo-related health issues, including spastic remitting-progressing MS and others that left me, when I was more sedentary, with a lot of pain. Here's what worked for me.
Moving. I swim, belly dance, walk, and do some simple body-weight exercises.
Get rid of personal toxins. For me, most grains and 'pseudo-grains', nuts, seeds, and large quantities of citrus or nightshades fit into this category, making the arthritis and spasticity worse.
Plenty of Vitamin D -- both from being out in the sun AND from supplementation since I live in a place where -just- sunshine isn't enough during the winter months.
LOTS of fat -- my diet ranges somewhere around 65+% fat a day, and is usually closer to 75%.
Some folk find that getting rid of dairy helps -- I find that, for, me, if I have half my dairy as raw-milk goat dairy, I'm fine with having the other half be raw-milk cow dairy with no ill effects to either pain or digestion... but the only way to find that out is to stop for 6 months, then add it back and see what changes.
The best suggestion I can give is, once you get the basics in place, and have cleaned your diet out (I really like the autoimmune protocol), then you can try different things to tweak it.
Cutting out grains (they have gluten and other inflammatory proteins) made the biggest difference to me. It is also a big part of what helped me lose 40lb. So my advice would be - even if a full transition to paleo is not easy at the moment, try going gluten and grain-free.
You won't know unless you try going grain-free for 30-60 days.
I've suffered from joint pain for many decades. It didn't occur to me when I decided to try ancestral eating that I might experience relief of the joint pain--I simply felt awful and wanted to feel better.
About 3 weeks in, though, I realized that my stuffy nose, hacking cough, GERD and JOINT PAIN had disappeared. It was flat-out amazing.
Two binges in August confirmed that my symptoms would all return whenever I ate neolithic foods. Fortunately for me, they disappeared again when I went back to ancestral eating.
Your joint pain may or may not respond, but what do you have to lose?
Try to manage inflammation, overall.
First and foremost, gluten/grains of all sorts should be removed from your diet for a good 30-45 days (ideally forever) so you can allow your gut to have healing time. (take that seriously, it could be the one main thing that dramatically changes your life!) The more intense the elimination diet, the better idea you will get about your pains being food related... so if you can muster up the will-power, get rid of dairy too.
In addition to that, healing foods that decrease inflammation should be introduced into your diet, if theyre not already: (ex.) beef bone broth, if you cant make or get your hands on broth, powdered gelatin (great lakes brand is superior to store bought brands, check Amazon) is an excellent source of anti-inflammatory protein. If you put in a dedicated effort to begin a gut healing process, you may find yourself surprised at how much relief you get in your joints, limbs and muscles!
Other tid-bits: try sleeping with a body pillow between your knees, this helps take some of the stress off of your lower back, hips and legs.
Hmm, maybe you should get some new shoes & inserts that support your type of foot/arch, since youre on your wheels all day... If you are wearing any form of "shape-up" shoe, kick them off of your feet into the next river you walk by.
I'll chime in as others have already -- removing inflammatory foods made a HUGE difference in my pain. HUGE. EPIC.
I had joint pain so bad I was ready to pack it in; I couldn't imagine living decades more with that much agony. Every joint was on fire, all the time, 24/7, and doctors just shrugged and said 'arthritis; adapt.' I was checked for all kinds of diseases to no avail (though oddly, not for any food sensitivities...wish they had!). I felt ancient and decrepit by age 30.
Dropping grain and sugar changed my life within weeks. These things are incredibly inflammatory and will do an evil tap dance on every joint in your body (not to mention your internal organs). I can't even express how astounding the difference is. I cried from relief when I first slept through the night, and cried that I'd lived my entire adult life -- 25 years -- with an answer that simple just beyond my perception. If only I'd known.
DO try sticking with Paleo. DO. You may be amazed; you may find that you have life in you that you never knew existed. I did!
If you aren't ready to go all in, try dropping sugar first. That's how I started. That alone gave me huge relief. Then drop gluten. And Firestorm's suggestions are pure gold. Everyone's are, really.
Good luck, and go for it.
I take a medication (Aromasin aka exemestane) that is well-known to cause osteoarthritis type pain. I also am a hospital nurse, working 12 hr night shifts, so on my feet constantly, and was a good 50 lbs overweight. Before paleo, I had a lot of pain/stiffness in my knees and ankles/feet -- my feet were ridiculous, I would literally HOBBLE when first getting up in the morning. I took Tylenol and Advil every single day, usually more than one dose of each.
I started eating fairly strict, lowish carb paleo (+ dairy + wine) in September and within a week noticed a reduction in my pain. A few weeks later I started CrossFit, and it seemed to improve further (although now I have new, exciting CF-related pain in my muscles!). I stopped needing pain meds at all for joint pain (do need them for muscle pain at times).
Since then, I've "slipped" a few times and eaten grains/sugars -- the biggest slip was Thanksgiving when the day before and the day of, I just said forget it (actually I said something else -- is swearing allowed on PH?) and ate crackers, rolls, stuffing, pie, drank beer, etc. (I blame my in-laws.) I woke up the day after Thanksgiving once again HOBBLING around like a 90 yr old -- the pain in my ankles and heels was excruciating. Immediately got back on the wagon, and within days, the pain receded again. Not vanished -- but receded.
It's a little hard for the scientific part of me to believe that 2 days of eating grains (I assume gluten is the culprit?) could do that much damage (or that a few days of refraining could cause that much improvement), but that's been my experience. I've also lost ~18 lbs, so that may contribute to the gradual improvement, but obviously not to the acute changes I had around turkey day.
Agree with all the avoid grains and reduce inflammation advice. As part of reducing inflammation, reduce omega-6 by eliminating as much as you can all vegetable and seed oils (canola/soy/corn/etc.). And don't hit the nuts too hard. Eliminate sugar/fructose as much as you can.
Ice, cold showers, castor oil (applied externally), yoga/meditation, sleep, sunshine/vitamin D all reduce inflammation. So there's a few more tools you can use.
Try all the metabolic fixes outlined above and below and then find a Neuromuscular Therapist in your area to fix the equally important postural distortions which are causing you so much grief. First visit should run well under $100. I'll find you a good one if you give me the go ahead. Postural distortions lead to pain and the pain jumps greatly at menopause.Your cortisol supply is just plain overwhelmed.You need to deal with the cortisol issues and the underlying postural problems. Good luck. There is hope.
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