Deciphering Arthritis

A couple of weeks ago, I decided to give the whole ‘gluten free’ thing a try, to see if it helps with my inflammation and non-rheumatoid rheumatoid arthritis.  I have mentioned on Facebook that I’ve been having this pain, these problems, and several people mentioned to me that their pain was significantly managed by going either gluten free, dairy free, or both.  I’ve also talked to people for whom these options did not make a whit of difference, but they at least gave them a try.  The first two weeks I was gluten free, and now for this last week, on the recommendation of a friend for whom the combination of gluten and dairy was the issue, I’m  going gluten and dairy free.  Yesterday was day 1 of this horror, and today is day 2.  My fear is, what if it helps.  Will I then need to go entirely gluten and dairy free, for the rest of my life, in order to keep this condition at bay?  Ugh.  I hate that thought. I’ll do what I need to do, but seriously, gluten and dairy are two of my favorite food groups.

Yesterday, I also tried a yoga video that I get as part of my Amazon Prime membership, “Easy Yoga for Beginners with Christine Wushke”  I woke up stiff and in pain, as I do most mornings.  After the yoga video, I still had my pain, but the stiffness was markedly reduced.  That’s a step in the right direction, I’d say.  If you’ve ever done yoga, you would likely say this is the easiest yoga sequence EVER, and mainly works on stretching your back and legs.  There are a total of 2 downward dogs, a few warrior poses, and a lot of resting poses.  The J who used to take yoga regularly and could do all of the poses fairly easily would laugh at today’s J, barely able to get into the posts.  Today’s J can’t do a downward dog properly, because it hurts my wrists far too much.  I can modify the pose by being on my elbows and forearms rather than on my hands.  So this yoga sequence is a good thing, basic and forgiving, and I think I need to make it a part of my daily routine.  See what that does for me.

At my last appointment with my rheumatologist, she doubled my dose of one medication.  You have to ease into it, as it is sometimes hard on the stomach.  So I started with 1 pill a day, then was up to 2 pills a day, then she put me on 4 pills a day, and said if that was too much, back off to 3 for a bit.  4 pills a day was horrid, my stomach felt like crap all day, and I pretty much wanted to throw up.  Gross.  So I pulled back to 3, which was much better.  Today I went back to 4, and thus far I seem to be handling it fine.

So, I’m feeling a tiny bit better.  Is that due to the yoga?  The medication finally starting to work?  Just a good day?  The no gluten/no dairy diet?  I don’t know.  I sure hate the idea of no gluten or dairy forever.  But a friend on Facebook, who I did know in real life back in High School, said that her husband also has an auto-immune issue (gout in his case), and he deals with it by eating some gluten and dairy and red meat when he’s feeling well, and then if he has a flair, he cuts back to a super limited diet until it goes away.  That’s something to consider, at least.  Of course, that only works if these foods are a trigger for me, which I just don’t know yet.  The key is to get to where I’m feeling better, hopefully, and then reintroduce these foods one at a time, and see if the symptoms come back.

For now, I just want this current flair to subside, so going shopping for an hour doesn’t bring me home in so much foot pain, so doing every day things doesn’t leave me worn out at the end of the day, and maybe I can do a proper downward facing dog, arms and all.

This entry was posted in Musings.

10 thoughts on “Deciphering Arthritis

  1. How will you know which of all your new lifestyle changes have helped your arthritis? I guess by stopping/adding back in/doing/not doing one at a time? That’s the problem when you adopt more than one new thing at a time in an effort to help alleviate your troublesome condition. I’m rarely patient, either, especially when it involves my health.

    The whole gluten/dairy thing is always mentioned to me as a migraine cure. I know people are trying very hard to help me. The problem is that now, gluten is such a Trendy Evil. It’s blamed for everything. Pretty soon, Fiber will be slapped around. I can’t wait til it’s Kale’s turn! LOL.

    • Nance, I know. Trying all of these things at once is truly non-scientific. But as you said, ANYTHING to get relief for now. Then maybe I can figure it all out later. I’m completely willing to do the yoga for the rest of my life. The meds, not so much. The diet, if necessary yes, but otherwise no thanks.

      And yes, I could easily give up Kale. Also zucchini and bok choy.

  2. PS–I’m sorry; I was quite flippant and did not express my sympathy at all about your continued pain. And really, I am so sorry. It’s terrible, I know, and when it flares up, you just feel like your body is betraying you.

    I hope it all goes away soon, and failing that, it will at least settle into something you can manage effectively. The whole thing is just crappy.

    • Thanks Nance…there’s no need at all to apologize. I don’t need sympathy so much as I just need to grouse a bit. It is indeed crappy, and I also hope something here will help.

  3. One thing about going gluten free, it takes six months for some to feel the difference. I did it sooner. What I also learned is after a year of gluten and dairy free, I could have it sometimes, just not all the time. Now this is not true for all. Remember with dairy you can have sheep and goat cheese, and they are good. White sauces can be made with coconut, almond or rice milk. Life isn’t terrible. It’s just different. And pasta is there but just you have to experiment with which ones you like best. Bread, same way. More and more places are offering gluten free options. I have also been hearing from those who are using a primitive wheat that seems to be working for them– hinting that some of our problem might be our processing…

    • My friend whose son is sensative to wheat has found that if she spends more money and buys EVERYTHING organic, including organic wheat, which she bakes into bread herself, her son has no problems. So your point is entirely welcome and heard. As to the 6 months thing, blech. I hope it doesn’t get to that point. Most of the people I’ve talked to found relief within days.

  4. For me, there was no doubt about gluten as the problem. I used to have pain at night in my belly. Now, I do not. So when I cheat, I don’t repeat it soon. To be pain free is worth some changes.

    • My doctor approves of my testing this out, but she said she doesn’t think it’s either gluten or dairy related, because as you said, most people have problems in their stomach/gut, and I haven’t had any. So we’ll see. I was glad to read what you said about goat cheese…I thought it was all dairy, so I’ll be glad to try that out. I adore goat cheese, and California has some wonderful goat cheese farms.

  5. You can always try downward dog using a chair! It does give a good stretch.

    I sure hope your allergist can figure out what’s triggering all this pain…and can find a treatment that works! Because, yeah, you do look pretty wiped out by the end of the day.

  6. I’m also scared of trying out new methods and finding out I can never have dairy again haha. I was always curious to see if eating better could eliminate some allergies of mine. For the most part I eat super healthy (home cooked, not packaged) but I don’t actively try to avoid certain foods.

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