Author Topic: Horrible pain, agonizing muscle spasms...  (Read 10776 times)

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Offline Sitting Coyote

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Horrible pain, agonizing muscle spasms...
« on: March 16, 2011, 03:56:12 am »
This thread isn't to discuss my health problems as I'm in great shape.  My roommate's health, however, is a different story.  I'd like to tell about his problems and his diet, and perhaps get feedback from the group that I can pass on.  

His problems started a few years ago when he was training for a triathlon.  At first he experienced a subtle pain in the joint that connects his right leg to his pelvis.  Over time it got worse and worse, to the point that now the pain is so severe that he's rendered largely immobile.  He tells me the pain comes as shooting pains from his joint down his leg, and he also suffers from sudden and severe muscle spasms that grip his gluteus maximus/minimus and most muscles around his right hip and thigh and sometimes in his lower back.  He can't sit, stand or lay down without feeling pain, and the painkillers he gets by prescription from the (Western) doctor are barely able to moderate the pain.  I often wake late at night hearing him wailing in his room next to mine, but he insists there's nothing I can do and the doctors he's seen (several types) have no idea what's wrong.  All they do is keep giving him stronger medicine, including steroids, valium, and Percocet.  

Besides his joint problems, he also has a serious digestive disorder that causes him to have perpetually soft/loose stools.  When he needs to do #2 (solid waste) the need arises suddenly, and its quite, er...  loud.  You can hear him go from anywhere in the apartment.  It also sounds like it's quite painful, given the sounds he makes when he goes.  He's starting to realize, now that he lives with me (I guess he's mostly lived alone in the past), that going to the bathroom isn't supposed to be like that.

He eats mostly oatmeal (fantasizes about starting a business where he mixes up and sells 'gourmet' oatmeal recipes).  Aside from oatmeal he eats other grains, nuts (raw and roasted/toasted), some fruit (usually bananas), and usually one egg each day.  He occasionally eats meat, and he always fries eggs or meat in olive oil.  He probably gets 80-90% of his calories from carbs based on my observations, the rest from protein and fat.  He agreed to try to avoid gluten-containing grains for a while to see if that helps his digestive problem, but with his ongoing joint problem I don't know whether he's following through on this.  He spends a lot of time at the hospital and at another friend's house who lives closer to his doctor(s), so I haven't seen him eat much around the house lately and don't know what he gets when he eats at other places.

Ideas?

Offline actionhero

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Re: Horrible pain, agonizing muscle spasms...
« Reply #1 on: March 16, 2011, 04:29:41 am »
He can't handle grains but keeps eating them like crazy and is falling apart because of it. Best he can do is eat raw animal foods and fruit to minimize the inflammation and see if his body can heal by itself. Possibly even go fruitarian for a couple weeks. But I think he's so addicted to grains that he will rather live like a cripple than give up those precious opioids.
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Offline PaleoPhil

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Re: Horrible pain, agonizing muscle spasms...
« Reply #2 on: March 16, 2011, 05:03:38 am »
So he has...
- shooting hip joint pains
- muscle spasms
- digestive disorder
- loose stools

and he...
- takes steroids, valium, and Percocet
- eats oatmeal, grains, nuts (raw and roasted/toasted), some fruit (usually bananas), and usually one egg fried in olive oil per day; sometimes has meat
- fantasizes about granola business

possibilities:
- crappy diet produces bad crap
- gluten, grains and diarrhea can cause electrolyte imbalances, which in turn can contribute to muscle spasms and diarrhea
- steroids like prednisone can have bad side effects in the long term
- may be focused on fantasies instead of the problems at hand; possible psychological/mental function issues?

ideas:
- first get the diet in order--eliminate grains, especially wheat, and add more animal foods, preferably raw, and mineral-rich foods; may need to focus on easily-digestible foods that don't trigger the runs in him
- if good diet is insufficient, he could try mineral foodlements/supplements
- he should try one thing at a time, to avoid confounding variables, and keep a journal to track what works and what doesn't
>"When some one eats an Epi paleo Rx template and follows the rules of circadian biology they get plenty of starches when they are available three out of the four seasons." -Jack Kruse, MD
>"I recommend 20 percent of calories from carbs, depending on the size of the person" -Ron Rosedale, MD (in other words, NOT zero carbs) http://preview.tinyurl.com/6ogtan
>Finding a diet you can tolerate is not the same as fixing what's wrong. -Tim Steele
Beware of problems from chronic Very Low Carb

Offline wodgina

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Re: Horrible pain, agonizing muscle spasms...
« Reply #3 on: March 16, 2011, 05:34:46 am »
He should read Dr Sarno's the Divided Mind. There's a few red flags for stress induced pain in your discription.

-the pain moves (huge red flag)
-he is young (huge red flag) he shouldn't be wailing in pain at night and incapacitated in the if he is a young man
-Dr's can't find anything wrong with him (huge red flag)
-he is stoic
-shooting pain
-spasms
-he is/was very fit
-digestive constipation/loose stools
-his diet isn't that bad
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Offline kurite

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Re: Horrible pain, agonizing muscle spasms...
« Reply #4 on: March 16, 2011, 06:30:33 am »
He should read Dr Sarno's the Divided Mind. There's a few red flags for stress induced pain in your discription.

-the pain moves (huge red flag)
-he is young (huge red flag) he shouldn't be wailing in pain at night and incapacitated in the if he is a young man
-Dr's can't find anything wrong with him (huge red flag)
-he is stoic
-shooting pain
-spasms
-he is/was very fit
-digestive constipation/loose stools
-his diet isn't that bad
I agree that grains aren't quite as evil as the paleo community makes them but if you have problems with gluten or any digestive issues, grains will f!ck stuff up and will never let anything heal. His roommate eats huge amounts of grains and grains with gluten so yah I think that could be the biggest problem.
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Offline PaleoPhil

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Re: Horrible pain, agonizing muscle spasms...
« Reply #5 on: March 16, 2011, 07:03:34 am »
He should read Dr Sarno's the Divided Mind. There's a few red flags for stress induced pain in your discription.
Thanks, I meant to mention that. I agree that the loud vocalizations he makes when he has muscle pains and while going to the bathroom are suggestive of TMS-type issues. As a matter of fact, his story is one of the most suggestive of it I've heard. I would actually probably start with that, because some people report experiencing benefits just by reading the first several pages of his book, which can be read online using the Amazon.com search inside feature for free.

Don't ever let anyone fool you that grains aren't seriously damaging for anyone. Depending on how much of them the roommate is eating and how sensitive he is, his diet could be seriously crappy. Wheat did a hell of a number on me and when I cut it out I experienced the biggest health improvements of anything I've tried so far, which were quite unexpected, whereas Sarno's writings and techniques didn't produce any noticeable benefits, despite falling in line well with my own views and what my father taught me (and maybe that's why it didn't help noticeably--I already knew and practiced much of it). I was found to have moderately high antibodies to gliadin even after I had been off wheat for weeks and even after months. Several of my relatives also discovered that they are gluten intolerant. That doesn't mean his therapy doesn't work for anyone, just that the same thing doesn't work for everyone.
« Last Edit: March 16, 2011, 07:21:07 am by PaleoPhil »
>"When some one eats an Epi paleo Rx template and follows the rules of circadian biology they get plenty of starches when they are available three out of the four seasons." -Jack Kruse, MD
>"I recommend 20 percent of calories from carbs, depending on the size of the person" -Ron Rosedale, MD (in other words, NOT zero carbs) http://preview.tinyurl.com/6ogtan
>Finding a diet you can tolerate is not the same as fixing what's wrong. -Tim Steele
Beware of problems from chronic Very Low Carb

Offline wodgina

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Re: Horrible pain, agonizing muscle spasms...
« Reply #6 on: March 16, 2011, 07:17:56 am »
I got back pain last year even though I had read the book and believed the theory. The lucky ones just have to read a bit of the book and are more or less cured.

It would take me a couple of minutes to get out of my work van after a long drive because of my back pain/stiffness. I literally forced myself to jump out of the van everytime this cured me. I also stopped sitting up straight and start to slouch on purpose. This all worked. I'm back doing deadlifts now and I know my form is really bad sometimes but I know the back is unbelieveably strong and can handle all sorts of punishment.

I'm using it on everything now, even candida, food issues, dandruff,IBS. It seems to be working. I actually have slight backpain right now and yesterday I got a sharp stabbing pain in the neck then realised I had been thinking about by boss. He is a 'pain in the neck' so I think it is a journey and will never go away totally.
“Integrity has no need of rules.”

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Offline PaleoPhil

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Re: Horrible pain, agonizing muscle spasms...
« Reply #7 on: March 16, 2011, 07:20:32 am »
That's unfortunate. Hope you have better luck with your boss in the future.

Speaking of wheat/gluten, Stephan Guyenet reported the results of an interesting month-long gluten-free challenge that should dispel any myths about wheat and/or gluten not being important factors (which I've been seeing some people allege at some Paleo blogs--often it's critics of Paleo). While it was just a survey of a particular audience and not a controlled study, the results were so overwhelming and Stephan is such a stand-up, no-nonsense guy, that it would require some serious self delusion to dismiss them. The results were actually a bit more remarkable than I expected.

Gluten-Free January Survey Data, Part II: Health Effects of a Gluten-Free Diet
http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com/2011/03/gluten-free-january-survey-data-part-ii.html
« Last Edit: March 16, 2011, 10:43:48 am by PaleoPhil »
>"When some one eats an Epi paleo Rx template and follows the rules of circadian biology they get plenty of starches when they are available three out of the four seasons." -Jack Kruse, MD
>"I recommend 20 percent of calories from carbs, depending on the size of the person" -Ron Rosedale, MD (in other words, NOT zero carbs) http://preview.tinyurl.com/6ogtan
>Finding a diet you can tolerate is not the same as fixing what's wrong. -Tim Steele
Beware of problems from chronic Very Low Carb

Offline Sitting Coyote

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Re: Horrible pain, agonizing muscle spasms...
« Reply #8 on: March 16, 2011, 07:38:57 am »
Thanks for the thoughts, and particularly the book recommendation.  Even if he's not interested, I'll probably give it a read as a preventative measure.

Another thing I meant to mention is that when he first moved in this ordeal was still just an inconvenience, and he interpreted its main symptom as lower back pain.  I suggested he try out therapeutic massage, and recommended the woman I went to when I suffered a severe back injury while sparring in MMA.  She agreed to see him, but ended up not massaging him because on palpitating she didn't find any tense muscles in his lower torso.  She described his muscular condition as quite atrophied, and suggested he get on an exercise regime to at least strengthen his core and ideally his legs and core.  I don't know whether he followed through on this... 

He's quite tall, probably 6' 2" or so, and is very skinny.  I'd bet he weighs 150, at the most. 

Offline PaleoPhil

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Re: Horrible pain, agonizing muscle spasms...
« Reply #9 on: March 16, 2011, 08:29:48 am »
Does he have any of the following:

- lax ligaments aka hypermobility, like "double-jointed" thumbs, finger tips or elbows, or a knee cap that comes out of its socket
- cracking joints
- long and thin fingers and/or limbs (spidery)
- curved spine
- heart palpitations
- nosebleeds
- anxiety
- insomnia
- allergies
- asthma
- OCD
- tinnitus
>"When some one eats an Epi paleo Rx template and follows the rules of circadian biology they get plenty of starches when they are available three out of the four seasons." -Jack Kruse, MD
>"I recommend 20 percent of calories from carbs, depending on the size of the person" -Ron Rosedale, MD (in other words, NOT zero carbs) http://preview.tinyurl.com/6ogtan
>Finding a diet you can tolerate is not the same as fixing what's wrong. -Tim Steele
Beware of problems from chronic Very Low Carb

Offline Sitting Coyote

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Re: Horrible pain, agonizing muscle spasms...
« Reply #10 on: March 16, 2011, 09:55:29 am »
Anxiety, insomnia and allergies.  I haven't noticed any other of the listed conditions.

Offline PaleoPhil

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Re: Horrible pain, agonizing muscle spasms...
« Reply #11 on: March 16, 2011, 10:28:07 am »
OK, he has some symptoms correlated with autoimmunity and maybe a mite of connective tissue issues, but not a lot of either (unless they're subtle or hidden), so it sounds like his issues are leaning more in the way of poor digestion, malabsorption/malnutrition, gut damage, and mind-body/TMS issues. Of course, it's impossible to diagnose with confidence via the Internet. Since his physician isn't much help he'll need to work at figuring out his problems or find a more open-minded practitioner, like an osteopath, naturopath, or functional medicine physician.

The shooting pains from the hip sounds like sciatica, but some folks with that type pain have had success with TMS, as I recall.
« Last Edit: March 16, 2011, 10:40:23 am by PaleoPhil »
>"When some one eats an Epi paleo Rx template and follows the rules of circadian biology they get plenty of starches when they are available three out of the four seasons." -Jack Kruse, MD
>"I recommend 20 percent of calories from carbs, depending on the size of the person" -Ron Rosedale, MD (in other words, NOT zero carbs) http://preview.tinyurl.com/6ogtan
>Finding a diet you can tolerate is not the same as fixing what's wrong. -Tim Steele
Beware of problems from chronic Very Low Carb

Offline stoneforest

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Re: Horrible pain, agonizing muscle spasms...
« Reply #12 on: March 16, 2011, 10:55:21 am »
the back (gluteal) pain radiating down the leg sounds like a radiculopathy. a peripheral nerve is affected and perhaps inpinged upon in the lumbar spine.  another posibility is that there is a neuropathy related to digestive issues such as colitis. ofcourse this is all speculative given the limited amount of info.   

oatmeal can seem very comforting just like many carbs. but imo i  would give up all grains or atleast those that may contain gluten and cross-reactive proteins (wheat, oatmeal, bran) as well as dairy. i would avoid fiber (fruits/veggies).

if there is a carb i might try in this case it would be  taro or cassava (aka yuca). these have been found to be soothing for people with colitis.

imo the safest diet right now would mostly consist of raw meat.  it can be very therapeutic for diarrhea.

i would still see a neurologist to take a look at the pain radiating down the leg. MRI and/or nerve conduction study may be ordered by him/her. 

Offline Sitting Coyote

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Re: Horrible pain, agonizing muscle spasms...
« Reply #13 on: March 16, 2011, 11:04:27 am »
Thanks for the recommendations.  He's had several MRIs and CAT scans, so far to no avail.  I've never had one of these so I don't know how challenging they are to interpret, so maybe the interpreter missed something.  I'll email him a link to this thread so he can look through all of this.

Offline PaleoPhil

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Re: Horrible pain, agonizing muscle spasms...
« Reply #14 on: March 16, 2011, 08:47:08 pm »
Thanks for the recommendations.  He's had several MRIs and CAT scans, so far to no avail.  I've never had one of these so I don't know how challenging they are to interpret, so maybe the interpreter missed something. ...
I doubt it. He sounds like a friend of mine who eats relatively well but refuses to completely eliminate grains despite having endometriosis, heavy dandruff and other issues and my having explained the link between modern foods and diseases of civilization like endo. She's convinced she has some sort of cancer and insists on getting test after test. Granted, this did eventually lead to the diagnosis of endometriosis, so it wasn't a total waste, but since the best therapy for endo is dietary improvement there's not a lot of point to all the tests. I think she was going to keep getting tests until they gave her the diagnosis she wanted of cancer, but I think I've finally convinced her that the tests aren't that useful (and if she had kept getting scanned and eating plentiful grains, who knows, she might have gotten enough radiation and/or lectins to get what she wanted). She at least now restricts the amount of wheat she eats and has improved since then but hasn't been able to give it up completely.
>"When some one eats an Epi paleo Rx template and follows the rules of circadian biology they get plenty of starches when they are available three out of the four seasons." -Jack Kruse, MD
>"I recommend 20 percent of calories from carbs, depending on the size of the person" -Ron Rosedale, MD (in other words, NOT zero carbs) http://preview.tinyurl.com/6ogtan
>Finding a diet you can tolerate is not the same as fixing what's wrong. -Tim Steele
Beware of problems from chronic Very Low Carb

Offline wodgina

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Re: Horrible pain, agonizing muscle spasms...
« Reply #15 on: March 16, 2011, 09:05:15 pm »
Does he have any of the following:

- lax ligaments aka hypermobility, like "double-jointed" thumbs, finger tips or elbows, or a knee cap that comes out of its socket
- cracking joints
- long and thin fingers and/or limbs (spidery)
- curved spine
- heart palpitations
- nosebleeds
- anxiety
- insomnia
- allergies
- asthma
- OCD
- tinnitus

Impressionable 20ish year old intelligent males could lap these symptoms up!

“Integrity has no need of rules.”

Albert Camus

Offline wodgina

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Re: Horrible pain, agonizing muscle spasms...
« Reply #16 on: March 16, 2011, 09:18:11 pm »

Dr's found nothing, plus MRI's etc came back negative also adding to the the fact he obviously intelligent and a high achiever/perfectionist (a total triathlete) Classic TMS'er
“Integrity has no need of rules.”

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Offline jessica

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Re: Horrible pain, agonizing muscle spasms...
« Reply #17 on: March 16, 2011, 10:01:18 pm »
sounds like he is killing himself!!!!!!!!!!!! if paleo is too extreme i would point him towards marksdailyapple.com

Offline miles

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Re: Horrible pain, agonizing muscle spasms...
« Reply #18 on: March 17, 2011, 10:18:28 pm »
Dr's found nothing, plus MRI's etc came back negative also adding to the the fact he obviously intelligent and a high achiever/perfectionist (a total triathlete) Classic TMS'er

wtf are you on about, Dr's don't find anything anyway. These posts of yours are getting lame.

What he needs to do is stop seeing his problems as separate and thinking they can be treated by a Doctor, and realise they are all linked and he needs lifestyle changes if he is to improve.

Tell him to investigate paleo or quit crying.
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Offline wodgina

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Re: Horrible pain, agonizing muscle spasms...
« Reply #19 on: March 18, 2011, 05:56:23 am »
wtf are you on about, Dr's don't find anything anyway. These posts of yours are getting lame.

What he needs to do is stop seeing his problems as separate and thinking they can be treated by a Doctor, and realise they are all linked and he needs lifestyle changes if he is to improve.

Tell him to investigate paleo or quit crying.


Paleo doesn't cure everything ranga.
“Integrity has no need of rules.”

Albert Camus

 

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