Diet and exercise have cut my pain by 95%....
by Sara LaTrielle
I was diagnosed (via common symptoms) 4 years ago after suffering through 6 months of intense joint pain (hips, lower back, shoulders, neck), headaches, and mild/moderate depression. Prior to the diagnosis I was a very healthy vegetarian the previous 25+ years. After 4 Doctors kindly told me there was no treatment I decided to take things into my own hands.
I was so desperate so somehow I decided I would try going extreme healthy in all other areas: regular exercise and cutting carbs and sugar. WIthin 2 months I could not believe the reduction in pain.
It took me another 6-12 months to figure out the 'magic' balance for me, I attribute 50% to my careful food intake and 50% on regular exercise. After trying many types of exercise I found running 20-30 minutes, 4-6 days a week is the key for me. Mind you, I disliked running more than any sport prior to all this, but I took it very easy for the first year and now I quite enjoy running.
After 4 years, I still falter and think I can drift away from my specialised diet, and before too long (usually 4+ weeks) of poor habits the pain comes back like a vengeance. I have to say after the first few months of no pain, it was too early to correlate the lack of pain to the changes above. I could hardly believe the pain was nearly gone.
Never a goal, but rather an effect of the above was loosing 20+ pounds, and 6 sizes. It has been hard to explain to concerned people that my weight loss was not vanity based, but rather due to health. Most fully understand once I start explaining the pain I previously was in.
If I falter ('off the wagon' for 4+ weeks) it usually takes 2-3 weeks to get the balance right again and for the pain to subside. It is always there lurking if I ease up on either. I should say breaking the carb and sugar addiction was intense... very intense in fact, especially as a vegetarian (bordering on vegan) whose food map was already limited.
Once the addiction tapered (6-12 months!) my body revolted in having much sugar or carbs. Something I could never imagine before.
Last, as my energy levels can get low, I start the day with a 1-2 egg cheese omelet which has also helped. I eat fruit for breakfast as well as for a 10am ish snack. Lunch is vegetables/tofu stir fry and 1/4 cup of brown rice. Too much regular rice brings the pain back asap. Dinner is a salad, veggies galore and tofu again. It is not fabulous but I am so thrilled the pain is nearly all gone. I am happy to eat similar foods time and again. Whatever it takes.
Hope this helps. Don't give up. Listen to your body and mind as your solution will likely be slightly different than mine.
*I am an American living globally*