Coffee and rheumatoid arthritis

The authors concluded that drinking coffee plays some role in the development of rheumatoid arthritis. They suggest that some ingredient in coffee triggers the production of rheumatoid factor, which may later lead to the disease.

But the authors also point out that, since the 1970s, approximately 75% of Finnish coffee drinkers have switched from drinking boiled coffee to drinking filtered coffee, and they suggest that the type of coffee consumed might have something to do with the relationship between coffee and rheumatoid arthritis.

Jonas agrees that the type of coffee needs to be considered. She notes that the authors apparently did not ask about the consumption of decaffeinated coffee. Also, Europeans in general like their coffee much stronger than Americans do. Both of these points make the data difficult to generalize to people in other countries.

“There are a number of unanswered questions here,” Jonas tells WebMD. For example, although the investigators found an association between coffee and rheumatoid arthritis even in people who never smoked, Jonas points out that they did not ask about exposure to environmental or second-hand smoke.

The authors also failed to account for one of the most important early symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis: fatigue, says rheumatologist Cody Wasner, MD. Fatigue may precede the development of rheumatoid factor and other rheumatoid arthritis symptoms by a year or more, “and one of the ways in which people try to get more energy is to drink more coffee.” Wasner, who practices in Eugene, Ore., is a spokesman for the Arthritis Foundation. Indeed, he tells WebMD, other factors associated with an increased risk of rheumatoid arthritis, such as smoking and being overweight, might also be reactions to the stress of feeling tired, which could be an early sign of the disease.

Jonas adds that rheumatoid factor is a marker, not a cause, of rheumatoid arthritis. “Fifty percent of patients with newly diagnosed rheumatoid arthritis are rheumatoid factor negative,” she says.

“This research adds to our understanding of a disease,” Jonas says. But neither she nor Wasner is advising their patients to boycott Starbucks yet. ” don’t mean that if you quit drinking coffee, you won’t get rheumatoid arthritis,” Wasner says. “That’s clearly not the case.”

There’s an old saying – you are what you eat. But what you drink, and how much you drink, can have an enormous effect on your body and health, too.
Beverage Basics
Start every day with a glass of water before you eat any food, since most people wake up a bit dehydrated, says Sonya Angelone, a dietitian and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. It’s also best to stick with water throughout the day, she says. The typical recommendation is eight glasses a day. In general, avoid soda since it can be full of sugar, aspartame and phosphoric acid. The latter can negatively affect your body’s ability to absorb calcium.
Water can get a bit boring, but there are other ways to stay healthy and hydrated. These recommendations can help you understand the benefits and drawbacks of popular beverages. Tea
Tea is one of the most-studied drinks when it comes to its benefits for arthritis patients. Green, black and white teas are all rich in polyphenols – compounds from plants that have strong anti-inflammatory effects. You’ll find the highest polyphenol levels in green and white teas. Green tea is generally viewed as the most beneficial of all because its active ingredient is a polyphenol known as epigallocatechin 3-gallate (EGCG). EGCG has been shown to be as much as 100 times stronger in antioxidant activity than vitamins C and E. Studies have shown it also helps preserve cartilage and bone, although there are no widespread controlled trials of it in people with arthritis.
Tips: Green, white and black teas do usually contain caffeine, so you may still want to keep your consumption moderate and don’t drink it before bed. You can add lemon or other sweeteners like honey to flavor your tea, but don’t add too much to keep calories and sugar levels low.
Coffee
Research shows coffee also has antioxidant polyphenols. That means coffee can help fight free radicals in the body, which cause cell damage. Other research suggests coffee may have a protective effect against gout as well. The link between coffee and increased risk of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and osteoporosis is debatable. Some studies say coffee increases the risk, while others do not.
Tips: In general, the best rule of thumb is to drink coffee in moderation – no more than one or two cups of coffee a day. Watch your caffeine intake and be mindful of coffee and espresso drinks that are full of whipped cream and syrups that cause calories and sugar levels to skyrocket.
Milk
Some claim that dairy-free is the way to go for arthritis, but the jury is still out when it comes to linking dairy consumption and inflammation. Like coffee, some studies show dairy can be inflammatory, while other studies show it helps reduce inflammation. For the most part, the benefits of avoiding dairy are highly individual, and there is not enough research to suggest that people with arthritis should ditch milk.
Tips: Drinking milk, which is a good source of calcium, vitamin D and protein, may help prevent gout and fight the progression of osteoarthritis (OA). Make sure you opt for low-fat milk to avoid consuming extra calories and saturated fat.
Juices
Orange, tomato, pineapple and carrot juices are all high in the antioxidant, vitamin C, which can neutralize free radicals that lead to inflammation. Tart cherry juice has been shown to protect against gout flares and reduce OA symptoms.
Tips: Be sensible when drinking juice: it’s delicious, but also high in sugar and calories. Check with your doctor if you’re a fan of grapefruit juice because it can inactivate or alter the effect of many medications.
Smoothies
Many dietitians prefer smoothies over juices because they require using the whole fruit or vegetable– giving you the added bonus of fiber, which helps clean out arteries and fight constipation. Colorful fruits and vegetables are also high in antioxidants. Adding berries or leafy greens like spinach or kale can give you big doses of vitamins and nutrients.
Tips: Smoothies containing yogurt are full of good bacteria (probiotics) as well as vitamins. Also, adding a fermented beverage like kefir can boost probiotic content, which can decrease inflammation in your body. Make sure you’re choosing a low- or no-sugar yogurt or kefir.
Alcohol
Red wine has a compound in it called resveratrol, which has well-established anti-inflammatory effects. Some studies show wine consumption is associated with a reduced risk of knee OA, and moderate drinking is also associated with a reduced risk of RA. But many experts question the strength of these studies and argue it’s hard to distinguish confounding factors in this research. Other research shows that alcohol has detrimental effects on arthritis.
Tips: Overall, experts agree there aren’t enough health benefits in alcohol to start drinking if you don’t already do it. But if you do enjoy an occasional adult beverage, drink it in moderation, says Beth McDonald, a nutritionist at the Department of Integrative Medicine at Mount Sinai Beth Israel Hospital in New York City. The general recommendation is one drink a day (of alcohol) for women, two for men. Any more than that squanders any benefit and can actually promote inflammation, she says.
Water
If there’s a magical elixir to drink, it’s water. Hydration is vital for flushing toxins out of your body, which can help fight inflammation. Adequate water intake can help keep your joints well lubricated and prevent gout attacks. Drinking water before a meal can also help you eat less, promoting weight loss.
Tips: Don’t bother wasting money on enhanced waters. The added amount of nutrients, electrolytes or antioxidants is generally miniscule.

Mugs with drinks on white wooden

In a recent study, researchers evaluated whether daily consumption of coffee or caffeinated non-herbal tea was associated with older onset rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The study authors found no association between coffee and RA, but tea drinkers had increased RA risk.

Data were collected from the Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study, a longitudinal, prospective cohort study of women that took place between 1993 and 1998. A total of 76,853 women filled out a survey regarding their daily tea and coffee habits; after three years, 185 women self-reported incident RA cases. The researchers implemented Multivariable Cox proportional hazards models to assess any correlation between daily beverage consumption and incident RA, and they calculated trend tests with categorical variables modeled as a continuous variable without collapsing.

Good News for Coffee Drinkers

Incident RA rates did not differ between the coffee drinkers and the non-coffee drinkers; this did not change based on how much coffee was consumed, how it was prepared (filtered/unfiltered), or whether or not it was caffeinated.

Results differed among the tea drinkers: “There was a positive association of incident RA and caffeinated tea consumption in the trend test (p = 0.03). When assessing any caffeinated tea consumption versus no tea consumption, the hazard ratio for incident RA was 1.40 (confidence interval, 1.01–1.93; p = 0.04).”

The authors concluded that there was a “small association” between daily non-herbal tea consumption and incident RA.

Best Drinks for RA

The Arthritis Foundation recommends several drinks with anti-inflammatory properties that could be beneficial for RA patients—among them, incidentally, is tea.

Beneficial teas include black, white, and green because they contain polyphenols, plant compounds with strong anti-inflammatory properties. Green and white teas have the highest levels of polyphenol, and green tea is perhaps even more helpful because it contains epigallocatechin 3-gallate (EGCG).

“When it comes to antioxidant activity, EGCG has been shown to be as much as 100 times stronger than vitamins C and E,” according to the Arthritis Foundation. “Studies have shown it also helps preserve cartilage and bone, although there are no widespread controlled trials of it in people with arthritis.”

Here are the other beverages on the list:

Coffee. Coffee is recommended “in moderation”—one to two cups a day—but is also rich in antioxidant polyphenols.

Milk. While some recommendations say that those diagnosed with arthritis should stop consuming dairy, other research supports the idea that it could help prevent gout as well as fight osteoarthritis (OA) progression.

Juice. Fruit juices high in vitamin C include orange, tomato, pineapple, and carrot juices, giving them antioxidant properties; cherry juice may also help treat gout flares and OA symptoms.

Smoothies. Unlike juices, smoothies contain the entire fruit or vegetable, which also means increased fiber consumption. Many fruits and vegetables have antioxidant properties as well. Smoothies with yogurt provide the added benefit of probiotics; kefir is another good option.

Alcohol. The Arthritis Foundation states, “Red wine has a compound in it called resveratrol, which has well-established anti-inflammatory effects. Studies have shown wine consumption is associated with a reduced risk of knee OA, and moderate drinking is also associated with a reduced risk of RA.” However, these studies may not be strong enough to be conclusive, as other research has found that alcohol is bad for RA. If alcohol is not part of your current diet, it is not recommended to start drinking now—and if you do consume alcohol, stick to one drink a day for women and two a day for men.

Water. No secret there: water consumption helps rid the body of toxins, which reduces inflammation. Drinking water before meals could also result in consuming fewer calories, leading to weight loss.

Sources: Journal of Clinical Rheumatology, Arthritis Foundation

These 11 Surprising Daily Habits Could Be Hurting Your Joints

You take your medications as prescribed. You see your doctor regularly and are good about sticking to your arthritis treatment plan — all key steps to helping to ease symptoms and prevent disease progression. But the everyday choices you make — like how active you are and how you handle stress and fatigue — affect your joints, too. And sometimes, seemingly inconsequential habits may derail your good efforts. It helps to be aware, so you can make adjustments if needed. Here are some surprising habits that could be hurting your joints when you have arthritis:

1. Drinking coffee concoctions

Consider the white chocolate mocha from Starbucks: a grande topped with whipped cream contains almost 15 teaspoons of sugar and 500 calories. Order yourself a Dunkin’ caramel-flavored frozen coffee and be prepared to slurp down 36 teaspoons of sugar and more than 700 calories. Those fancy brew-mabobs and other sugar-sweetened beverages (like sodas and flavored fruit drinks) are no good for you, for lots of reasons. First: Added sugar promotes inflammation in your body, says registered dietician Cat Taylor, LD, CSSD, with Nutrition on Demand.

“Higher levels of pro-inflammatory markers circulating in the blood can lead to chronic inflammation, which over time can damage organs and body tissues, including your joints,” she says. Plus, those empty calories won’t satisfy your hunger. Research shows regularly consuming sugar-sweetened drinks is linked to greater weight gain and obesity, which can make arthritis symptoms worse.

No one’s saying you can’t treat yourself every now and then, but drinking these regularly isn’t doing your joints any favors.

2. Not getting enough activity (even a few minutes of walking here and there)

Gentle physical activity won’t make your joints worse. In fact, the exact opposite is true — whether you have osteoarthritis (OA), rheumatoid arthritis, or psoriatic arthritis. Research shows when done correctly, even a little bit of exercise can help decrease arthritis pain and stiffness. That’s because any sort of movement helps lubricate the joints — kind of like oil on a creaky hinge. Daily activities, such as sweeping the kitchen floor or talking the dog for a stroll, also help.

So does doing some stretching every day — even if you have a flare of RA or an increase in OA pain, says Wayne Johnson, MD, orthopedic surgeon and assistant clinical professor at the University of Oklahoma. Simple movements to help you stay active can help diminish some of the pain and maintain range-of-motion. Check out these range-of-motion stretches you can start doing every morning.

3. Having a consistently negative outlook

When you’re hurting, it’s easy to think the pain is permanent and there’s nothing you can do. That mindset, however, may actually make your pain worse and last longer. An important part of your treatment plan is your own outlook on life. Talk to your doctor if you’re feeling frustrated. They may have ideas about how to cope or refer you to someone who can help. These tips from mental health experts on coping with chronic illness are also a good place to start.

4. Opting for turf, not surf…

You prefer steak to salmon and burgers over branzino — and that’s ok now and then. But red meat, as well as poultry and full-fat dairy, contains saturated fats. A diet high in saturated fat is associated with an increase in inflammatory blood markers and a decrease in anti-inflammatory blood markers, explains Taylor. “By tailoring your fat intake to include more omega-3 fatty acids and fewer saturated and trans fats, you can alter your body’s inflammatory state, and in turn help your joints,” she says.

Enter the surf: Fatty fish — such as salmon, mackerel, trout, herring, sardines, anchovy and branzino — contains the most active form of omega-3 fatty acids. Eating 3 to 6 grams a day of omega-3s could reduce the pain of inflammation from RA, according to a study published the journal Nutrition. Don’t love fish? Other non-fish omega-3 sources include walnuts, chia seeds, and flaxseed.

5. …And the side of fries instead of veg

Researchers at Harvard found that after potato chips, potatoes may contribute to more weight gain per serving than any other food — and French fries were by far the worst offenders. Extra weight can exacerbate inflammatory arthritis. Plus, it can put increased pressure on your joints — particularly your knees, says Christopher Morris, MD a rheumatologist with Arthritis Associates in Kingsport, Tennessee. For every pound a person weighs, about five pounds of stress goes through the knees with every step, he explains. For a 250-pound person, that equates to nearly two-thirds of a ton of stress on the joint.

“The good news is that weight loss really makes a difference,” says Dr. Morris. For example, losing as little as 11 pounds can decrease the progression of knee OA by 50 percent. One way to shed pounds: eat tons of brightly colored veggies. They’re low in calories, high in fiber (so you feel fuller, longer), and provide nutrients that may help fight inflammation. Here are more tips for losing weight when you have arthritis.

6. Skipping strength training

You’ll walk around a track, swim laps, or go biking to help control your weight and fight fatigue. You may do yoga or range-of-motion exercises to improve flexibility. But the idea of weight training seems like too much for your arthritic joints. The truth? It’s not, as long as it’s done correctly and at the right level for you.

Strength exercises build strong muscles to help support, stabilize, and take some of the load off worn-out joints. In one research review on older adults with OA, researchers found strength training reduced pain and improved strength and function. Other studies have shown similar benefits for those with inflammatory arthritis. Strength training can include doing body-weight exercises, using elastic bands, hand-held weights, or weight machines. Talk to your doctor about the safest way to work exercise into your treatment plan. Here are examples of strength exercises for your knees, strength exercises for your shoulders, and strength exercises for your hips.

7. Smoking

Awful for you a million different ways, including these: Smoking is linked to an increased risk for developing RA; continuing to smoke if you have RA can make symptoms worse. You may be less likely to experience remission if you smoke, research shows. Smoking contributes to inflammation in the body and makes some arthritis drugs less effective. It may also keep you from doing things that can help you feel better, like exercise. Talk to your doctor about strategies to help you quit smoking.

8. Stashing kitchen gadgets in the cabinets

You like everything to have a place — nothing wrong with that. But for the blender you use make your daily smoothies, the “right” place may be your kitchen counter. And your go-to electronic jar opener should be stored in a top drawer. Set up your home to make life a little easier on you, particularly on the more difficult days, say experts. In the kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom, keep everything you use often within easy reach. And use specialized assistive tools throughout the day — zipper pulls, spring-action scissors, and long shoe horns to help conserve energy and ease pain. These tips can help make cooking easier, and these tips can help with other household chores.

9. Never saying no

Drinks after work and meeting the family out for dinner sounds great — in theory. But when you have a chronic condition like arthritis, there will be times when your body needs rest to stay healthy. Maybe you’re experiencing a flare or feeling particularly fatigued. Know your limits, and don’t force yourself to push past them — no matter how guilty you may feel for bailing or how thick your loved ones are laying it on. Here are more tips for handling social plans without the guilt.

10. Facebooking before bed

Or maybe you tend to text, scroll through news sites, or get sucked in to shopping on Amazon. The what you on do on your device doesn’t matter; the fact that you’re on one does. Using electronics at bedtime stimulates your mind, making it harder to fall and stay asleep, according to the National Sleep Foundation. You need good rest with arthritis. Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh found that poor sleep quality is linked to more severe pain and fatigue, as well as higher levels of depression in people with arthritis. Log off at least 30 minutes before you want to hit the sack, and wind down with a warm bath or good book instead.

11. Not asking for help or support

Arthritis can be a lot. The pain and disability or loss of function can take a toll on your emotions, increase your levels of stress, and lead to depression or anxiety. A research review published in the journal Arthritis Research & Therapy suggests stress may trigger an RA flare. Though researchers are still trying to understand the connection between arthritis and stress, what we do know is that seeking support can improve how well you cope and manage your condition. Tell family members and friends how you are feeling, and how they can help when you’re feeling particularly overwhelmed. Connect with others who have your same condition through a support group in your community or online (our Facebook group and Twitter chats are great outlets). Talk to your doctor if you think you could have symptoms of depression or anxiety.

Keep Reading

  • Arthritis Joint Pain: 18 Ways to Get Relief
  • How to Cope with Arthritis Brain Fog
  • 12 Surprising Upsides of Rheumatoid Arthritis You Might Not Have Considered

Coffee Can Create Joint Pain And Body Stiffness

Most Neck, Back and Joint Stiffness and Pain are Caused by Unhealthy Lifestyles and Underlying Thyroid Dysfunction

I have found in my holistic practice that the number one most common cause of most body stiffness from neck, back and joint stiffness and pain, also including arm, elbow, hand, leg, knee and foot problems and also including exacerbation of chronic fibromyalgia pain, is slouching during waking hours and sleeping on the abdomen, sleeping with the arms and hands above the shoulders, sleeping on the same side or painful side most of the time, and sleeping in a twisted position that interferes with the blood and nerve circulation to the muscles and joints that cause stiffness and pain. The number two cause is diet and lifestyle related toxicity caused by unhealthy foods, milk, cheese, ice cream, chocolate, MSG, coffee, wine, beer, alcohol, cigarettes, street drugs, medications and anything that poisons the body that stresses, irritates and spasms skeletal muscles that pull the neck, back and joints out of alignment and fixate them causing joint stiffness and pain. Recent Finnish studies also directly link coffee and joint pain. The number three cause is low thyroid function indicated by a basal resting temperature below 98.2 F that does not allow the needed warming effect of muscles and connective tissue that leads to joint stiffness and pain.

The solution is to stand and sit up straight and sleep in an untwisted position on the back or sides or on the good pain free side with the arms and hands below the shoulders and not under the neck or body; eliminate all dairy, chocolate, MSG, coffee, alcohol, cigarettes, street drugs, medications and anything that poisons the body.

The easiest way to conceptualize this is that improper posture and sleeping position, unhealthy lifestyles and low body temperature causes toxicity, inflammation, water retention, edema and swelling that sensitizes and presses on your nerves and spasms your neck, back and joint muscles and is the root cause of most pain anywhere in the body. When the body is toxic, inflamed and swollen, it is more likely that stress, minimal physical exertion, exercise, massage and even chiropractic treatments can cause more inflammation, swelling, stiffness and neck and joint pain, because the underlying causes have not been corrected.

Massage, exercise, physical therapy and chiropractic treatments help spinal and joint stiffness and pain but the best results are obtained when combined with improving sleeping position, cleaning up lifestyle and correcting thyroid function to eliminate the inflammation and swelling in the tissues, spine and joints. In some cases, the person will need to correct sleeping position, improve lifestyle and treat underlying metabolic disorders first before receiving a program of massage, exercise and chiropractic that otherwise may cause too much irritation, inflammation, swelling and pain.

There is a strong human tendency to deny the role played by posture, sleeping position, lifestyle and thyroid dysfunction related toxicity, inflammation, swelling and neck, back and joint pain and to blame all of this on accidents, turning the wrong way, working too hard and sitting too long, because it is easier to blame your problems on something that happened to you instead of something you did to yourself, i.e., unhealthy foods, coffee joint pain, and bad habits that made you an accident waiting to happen. This means that your longstanding unhealthy posture, sleeping, and lifestyle habits and low body temperature problems made you toxic, inflamed, swollen and inflexible before the accident, etc., thereby causing a greater likelihood to be “injured” in the pre-existing weak places in your tissues and joints.

This tendency to deny your own role in contributing to injury, slow healing and chronic stiffness and pain can be seen in the too often expressed “fix me ’cause I won’t or can’t fix myself” attitude that you need a massage or chiropractic adjustment “fix,” and when this does not work, as is often the case, you blame it on the massage therapist or the chiropractor instead rightfully on yourself. Or you demand a pain pill “fix,” not seeming to care that popular NSAID pain pills (Advil, Motrin, Aleve, etc.) and stronger prescribed pain killers only cover-up symptoms of joint stiffness and pain and cause more leaky gut syndrome, toxicity, inflammation, swelling, stiffness, pain, chronic degeneration and arthritis in the long run.

In regards to thyroid dysfunction, the human tendency is to ignore low body temperature problems; say you don’t want to or need to take Armour or Cytomel thyroid medication; “believe” your Establishment doctor who typically ignores the body temperature test, relies on the inadequate blood thyroid test only and says nothing is wrong with your thyroid (but something is terribly wrong — your body temperature is too low); trust taking Synthroid that is not as good as Armour and Cytomel according to holistic medical doctors; and sloppy-thinking claims that you used to have a thyroid problem when in most cases, you still have a thyroid dysfunction problem that both yourself and your Establishment doctors ignore and mismanage.

Avoid Establishment massage therapists, chiropractors and medical doctors (and politicians) who arrogantly claim to fix you when you need to fix yourself and often make you worse by prescribing only quick fixes that do not improve your lifestyle and do not correct the underlying causes of neck, back, joint and other health problems. All too often, health care providers avoid confronting patients about their unhealthy lifestyles and attitudes out of a concern of offending them and ultimately losing them as patients. This deadly attraction is, unfortunately, mutual in that patients commonly choose the easy way out by consulting doctors that don’t question bad habits and self-destructive attitudes. Over the past 20 years, I have seen many patients and friends go to Establishment medical doctors that are least likely to confront and challenge their unhealthy lifestyles and self-destructive attitudes. The easy way is not the best way in regards to your health, body, mind and spirit.

Unfortunately, the same mind set influences Establishment doctors and therapists to avoid identifying and correcting the underlying metabolic disorders routinely mismanaged by orthodoxy to keep patients sick and dependent and coming back for more bad medicine. Orthodox doctors have a realistic fear that the Establishment will remove the license of any health care provider who does not cover up symptoms with drugs, adjustments, exercise, massage and supplements. Seek out a holistic doctor or therapist to get to the root cause of neck, back and joint pain and other health problems. Take responsibility for being your own doctor, because no doctor can help you as much as you can help yourself by improving posture, sleeping position, diet, lifestyle and metabolic function.

Correcting your posture and sleeping position is easy to understand although it is difficult to give up a favorite way of carrying yourself and sleeping. If you set your mind to it, you will learn to carry yourself and sleep in the proper position, and you can ask your family and friends to help remind you.

It is another, more difficult, matter to give up favorite unhealthy foods and bad habits, but it helps, when you understand how dairy foods, for example, cause stiffness and pain. You may not be quite ready to let go of milk, cheese, yogurt, cream and ice cream, and it may take some real effort. Keep in mind that the rewards in feeling better are considerable.

Dairy foods, other allergy and unhealthy foods and bad habits poison, irritate and inflame the intestinal walls and break down the its immune system making it abnormally permeable or leaky to all the wrong things. This is called leaky gut syndrome that allows germs, candida, feces, cow and other animal antibodies, large fats and proteins to readily pass through the sick colon wall into general circulation. The blood and lymph carry these toxins and harmful elements throughout the body poisoning, inflaming and swelling all tissues and joints thereby causing painful muscle spasms, fibromyalgia, neck and joint pain plus back and neck stiffness.

The lungs and kidneys as eliminative organs attempt to clean up the toxins and destructive factors in the blood and lymph that in turn causes lung problems that leads to mid-back, neck, shoulder and arm, elbow and hand problems and also causes kidney problems that leads to low back, buttock, hip and leg, knee and foot problems as follows.

Dairy food toxins cause chronic allergy histamine reactions, mucus congestion, inflammation and infection in the sinus, ears, eyes, and cervical lymph glands. Dairy foods and chocolate, also poison the lungs causing thoracic vertebrae T2-4 spinous pain in the lung place. It poisons the liver causing pain between the spine and shoulder blades in the liver reflex place; it poisons the gall bladder causing stiffness and pain between the neck and shoulders. This combined irritation, inflammation and swelling in the head, neck and upper thoracic area causes neck, mid back, shoulder, arm and hand, and spinal and joint subluxation-fixation, stiffness and pain. Dairy also poisons the kidneys causing low back, sacroiliac, hip and knee problems; and it poisons the intestines causing constipation and low back problems.

To emphasize the process that causes most neck and back stiffness and pain, understand that toxins and harmful elements in the blood first poison and irritate the lungs, then irritates the nerves from the upper back spine to the lungs and also irritates nearby nerves to the paraspinal muscles in the upper back (thoracic vertebrae 2 to 4 lung place). Because the affected nerves are interconnected to other nerves in the area, irritation originally limited to the lung place in the spine spreads and causes muscle spasms and joint stiffness and pain in the shoulder blades, shoulders and neck that becomes chronic over time. Since this is a slow process during years of abuse caused by an unhealthy toxic, lifestyle and improper posture and sleeping position, the cervical vertebrae 4 to 6 in the neck become fixated and subluxated. As a result of constant irritation, inflammation, congestion and muscle spasms in the area, the vertebral bodies of the neck and disc material between them start to break down and degenerate over time eventually causing blood and nerve circulation problems and muscle spasms in the arms, elbows and hands, especially if the person sleeps on his stomach or with his arms above his shoulders. In short, toxic blood from dairy, chocolate, cigarettes, etc. eventually causes mid-back, neck, shoulder and arm muscle spasms and joint stiffness and pain.

In a similar manner, blood toxic from dairy, coffee, alcohol, cigarettes, etc. is cleaned up by the kidneys day-to-day over the years. The kidneys are constantly irritated, inflamed and congested, all of which increase the likelihood of kidney dysfunction and stones. The nerves to the kidneys from the spine are in turn irritated causing thoracic vertebrae 8 to 12 kidney place irritation, inflammation and congestion. Nearby nerves to the kidney muscles, i.e. iliopsoas muscles, go into spasm as a result of constant irritation. The iliopsoas muscles attach along the sides of the low back spine, pelvis and lesser trochanter of the femur (leg bone near the hip joint). When the iliopsoas muscle goes into chronic and sometime acute spasm, it literally pulls the low back, pelvis, sacro-iliac and hips out of alignment and the joints fixate causing stiffness and pain. Interference to the nerves and blood supply to the legs is caused over time by pressure on the nerves and blood vessels as a result of degenerative disease of the spine and discs caused by chronic irritation and inflammation caused by lifestyle related toxicity. In short, toxic blood from dairy, coffee, alcohol, not drinking enough water, etc. eventually causes low back, buttock, hip, leg, knee and foot stiffness and pain, especially when the person twists his low back when sleeping or sleeps on the same side too much.

Often after over-indulging in dairy, chocolate, coffee, alcohol, etc., the patient comes in for acute neck, back and joint stiffness and pain. Some patients appreciate learning that eliminating these toxic foods and habits can make them feel better. Some patients aren’t interested in improving their lifestyle.

Allergy is involved in around 80% of all health problems, and in addition to dairy, allergy to chocolate, MSG, wheat, corn, soy, coffee, wine, alcohol, cigarettes and other high allergy and toxic substances are a common cause of fibromyalgia, neck and back stiffness and pain. In some ways, you can view allergy, especially food allergy, as just another toxic insult to the neck, back and joints.

About half the population has hypothyroidism, also called thyroid dysfunction, that is another common cause of fibromyalgia, neck and back stiffness and pain and also fatigue, depression and a wide range of other health problems. Orthodox medical blood tests for hypothyroidism often give a false negative reading, because you may have adequate T4 thyroid in your bloodstream, but this does not mean that you can convert T4 in the blood to T3 at the cell level.

Holistic medical doctors, chiropractors and naturopaths recommend the temperature test for low thyroid function. If your body can make the necessary conversion from T4 to T3, your temperature will be in normal range of 98.2 to 98.8 F. Take your oral temperature by the preferred method using a digital electronic thermometer or use a regular thermometer. Take your temperature four times a day immediately upon waking up, after resting about 3 hours after you wake up, in the afternoon and in the evening. If your average temperature is below 98.2 F, this is an indication of low thyroid function. Temperatures above 98.8 F can indicate temporary infection, chronic infection or hyperthyroidism. Consult a holistic medical doctor for diagnosis and treatment of low or high thyroid dysfunction, infection and disease.

In the past, desiccated Armour thyroid was recommended by holistic medical doctors, but it was discovered that many people have a special hypothyroid problem called Wilson’s Syndrome that means the body can not convert T4 in the blood to T3 in the cells. And since Armour thyroid has both T4 and T3, the T4 portion may not be converted to T3 and may actually worsen hypothyroidism symptoms, including neck, back and joint problems. Your holistic medical doctor may put you on Cytomel T3 thyroid medication, and later at the right time take you off thyroid medication to allow your natural thyroid function to take over. Some medical doctors recommend Armour thyroid at first and continue with it and other medical doctors prefer Cytomel and some doctors recommend both Armour and Cytomel at the same time or consecutively under their direction.

As I understand it, the rule of thumb is to take adequate thyroid medication to raise your body temperature to the normal 98.6 F range. Consult a holistic medical doctor in this regard.

Taking thyroid medication, if necessary, increases and normalizes the body temperature and this warms the muscles, connective tissue and joints making them more flexible and healthy.

Most Establishment medical doctors discredit the basal resting temperature test, Armour, Cytomel and holistic medical doctors. Orthodox medical doctors does seem to mind that the blood temperature test alone is often inaccurate and that Synthroid thyroid medication, the most commonly prescribed medical drug, is not that effective in correcting thyroid dysfunction and raising the body temperature to normal. If you are taking Synthroid and your body temperature is below 98.2 F, consult a holistic medical doctor who may switch medications from Synthroid to Armour or Cytomel. Holistic medical doctors are also more likely to search for other causes of low body temperature as compared to Establishment medical doctors that may prescribe Synthroid without much concern for normal body temperature or other related health problems.

Dr. John Lowe, D.C. reported in The Journal of Myofascial Therapy, April, 1995, that many fibromyalgia patients with hypothyroidism who fail to benefit from T4 or Armour desiccated thyroid completely recovered when they switched to Cytomel T3 thyroid medication. In a telephone conversation, Dr. Lowe and I shared success stories of helping many patients with fibromyalgia, neck, back and joint problems simply by a program of detoxification, elimination of unhealthy foods and bad habits and adoption of a more healthy lifestyle.

Chiropractors can educate you about this process and also refer you to holistic medical doctors for treatment of thyroid dysfunction. Chiropractors are not licensed to practice medicine, diagnose thyroid dysfunction or prescribe or sell Armour or Cytomel thyroid medication.

Chronic candidiasis, also frequently ignored and mismanaged by orthodoxy, is also a very common cause of neck, back and joint stiffness and pain and fibromyalgia, because candidiasis poisons you and diminishes your immune system. When infected, massive amounts of debris from millions of candida organisms dying daily makes you toxic and your immune system gets completely worn out fighting off these invading toxic protein parts. Consequently, candidiasis induced intestinal toxicity and immune dysfunction causes worse leaky gut syndrome, more systemic toxicity, more infections and degenerative diseases, more fatigue and depression, more inflammation and swelling and more neck, back and joint stiffness and pain and fibromyalgia pain all over your body.

For candidiasis, your holistic medical doctor may prescribe Nystatin and in very difficult cases of candidiasis, he may prescribe Diflucan. You might consider taking silymarin concentrate capsules concurrently with candidiasis therapy to help protect the liver. Holistic doctors may recommend grapefruit extract capsules, acidolphilus, caprylic acid capsules, and garlic for candidiasis in between medical treatment with Nystatin or Diflucan. Taking only natural therapies like grapefruit extract capsules, etc. for candidiasis, especially difficult cases, is simply ineffective. Consult a holistic medical doctor for medical treatment with Nystatin or Diflucan.

Some holistic doctors report that klebsiella infection in the intestines may be a cause of neck, back and joint stiffness and pain.

Again, it bears repeating that anything that causes toxicity, leaky gut syndrome, inflammation and swelling, as does dairy, chocolate, MSG, allergy, hypothyroidism and candidiasis, also causes neck, back and joint stiffness and pain and fibromyalgia. Correct the underlying causes to get the best results.

Case Findings: A waitress advised to test for food allergy found that eliminating wheat in her diet solved her low back and female disorder problems. A contractor reported that the cinch in his side and the kidney area back pain, which had bothered him for over ten years, quickly disappeared when he gave up his Pepsi habit. Not sleeping on her bad side cleared up a troublesome hip, thigh and knee problem for a janitor who wasted over a thousand dollars on drugs and herbs. A construction worker on low back disability was able to return to work by not drinking beer and coffee. Eliminating dairy and chocolate helped a chiropractor with chronic sinus congestion and neck stiffness and pain. A Buddhist minister solved his kidney, low back and neck problems by drinking more water, by eliminating dairy and coffee and by treating hypothyroidism. After taking thyroid medication for a short time, a real estate broker reported relief of chronic low back and hip stiffness and pain and was able to exercise and run without any discomfort. A woman with mental illness, back pain and severe fibromyalgia pain all over her body recovered her health by eliminating dairy and other unhealthy foods from her diet and by taking thyroid medication. A friend with chronic neck stiffness and migraines found relief by not eating chocolate and foods containing hidden MSG. A diabetic with out of control blood sugar, staph infection on his legs, and neck stiffness and pain corrected all of these problems and reduced his insulin by taking thyroid medication, eliminating dairy and drinking more water. Wellness awaits you !

In his book, No Milk (1991), Daniel Twogood, D.C. writes that patients who complain of headaches and neck and back stiffness and pain will almost always respond after they have eliminated all chocolate, dairy and MSG from their diets. Dr. Twogood cites numerous case studies which outline how many offending foods and substances are hidden in processed foods. He points out that patients typically do not know that dairy foods and chocolate may be causing their neck and back problems.

Sami Bahna, M.D. and Douglas Heiner, M.D., authors of Allergies to Milk (1980) review the scientific literature documenting the gastrointestinal, respiratory, dermatological, hematological, cardiovascular, urinary, central nervous system and musculoskeletal symptoms caused by dairy foods, and note that most of these symptoms improve or disappear when dairy foods are eliminated from the diet. These studies support the idea that dairy foods are a cause of neck, back and joint problems.

About the author: Dr. Grady A. Deal, Ph.D., D.C. is a holistic, nutritional chiropractor with a Ph.D. in psychological counseling. Dr. Deal is founder-director of Hawaiian Wellness Holiday, a health vacation program on beautiful Kauai, Hawaii, and he is author of Dr. Deal’s Delicious Detox Diet, Weight Loss, Wellness Lifestyle, Dr. Deal’s Delicious Recipes and Dr. Deal’s Holistic Chiropractic Examination Protocol books.

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