Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Is a food causing your pain in the neck?

I was recently reminded of a serious pain in my neck and was grateful this is now an anomaly over which I have control. 

Over the years, we’ve seen countless connections with client pain issues and food. People who have learned to live with chronic pain, sometimes an entire lifetime of it, and have spent thousands of dollars to “manage” the symptoms, continue to discover their pain was actually due to - “XX.” Fill in the blank: dairy, chicken, eggs, soy, nuts, etc. 

You might be asking yourself, “A lifetime of pain could vanish overnight just from avoiding a particular food? Yeah, right.” We admit, it sounds outlandish, but read on…

I can empathize with our clients who find these pain related food discoveries. An intense neck pain used to rule my life and was the kind of pain that could, on occasion, leave me flat on my back for a full two days, a bed or couch being the only respite I could find from a head that felt like a bowling ball supported by a fragile twig. 

I blamed this pain on a car accident I was in when I lived in San Francisco. Granted, this was a fair assessment given I’d never experienced neck pain before the accident and was rear-ended by a car going 65 mph, while stopped on a freeway on Highway 1. That hurts, no denying it. 

But I spent years of visits to chiropractors, doctors, acupuncturists, physical therapy, not to mention lots of money - merely to manage symptoms. These symptoms miraculously disappeared when I changed my diet and began identifying intolerant foods. The pain vanished. What was it? Eggs.

Eggs are my kryptonite and I go to great lengths to avoid them. However, every once in a blue moon I choose to see if they are still my nemesis. A month ago, the allure of a flour-less chocolate torte created the perfect occasion. Two measly little bites on a Saturday afternoon and I was fine. Oh, let it be, maybe the intolerance has cleared, I hoped. But I woke up on Sunday morning to what felt like a terrible crick in my neck and initially thought, “I must have slept poorly.” However, by 10 am that morning, the crick merged with exhaustion, irritability, brain fog and increasing pain causing me to seek the relief of my pillow. In the throes of my agony, which lasted four long days, I kept reminding myself of how grateful I was to have found the root cause.

People sometimes ask - “Don’t you miss eggs and gluten?” And on occasion for a split second I do, until I’m reminded. These “reminders” usually last for a few years. We don’t know what we don’t know until we know. And after living pain-free for 10 years, I’d simply forgotten how bad it was. 

Once we experience our personal bloom - the areas that are improved by nourishing our body and by uncovering our inflammatory foods - we become addicted to feeling good. 

Is food always at the root of everything? Of course not. But it is commonly at the root of much more than we realize. Pain can be one of the most powerful motivators to help us connect the dots with what we eat and how we feel.

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