Low back pain, chiropractors, NSAIDs, narcotics . . and wheat

I believe we need to add back pain to the list of common health conditions that are relieved with wheat elimination.

Not to say that all back pain goes away with wheat; it course it does not. But there are people who obtain substantial relief from even years of debilitating pain with wheat elimination. Witness Wendi’s story:

I just wanted to say “Thank You!” You did in two days what several doctors couldn’t do in 3 years.

I began having lower back pain – significant lower back pain – a little over three years ago. Nobody could find what was causing it and i was ultimately told to take up yoga to strengthen my core muscles and learn to relax.

The pain interfered with every aspect of my life. It disrupted my sleep. It made daily chores difficult and unpleasant. I couldn’t stand still for more than a few seconds without the pain becoming unbearable. Because I also needed to lose weight, I began looking for options to accomplish that and quite by accident stumbled across Wheat Belly. In spite of my dismay at the thought of giving up all the lovely baked goods, I figured I could try it for a couple weeks to see if it would lessen the level of pain. If it didn’t work, no harm, no foul and maybe I’d lose a couple pounds in the process.

It was with much skepticism that I woke up Tuesday, January 3, 2012 resolved to cut not just wheat but all grains out of my diet for two weeks and see what happened. This morning (1/5/12), the very first thing I noticed was that my alarm clock woke me up. It took a few seconds for it to register just how unusual that was and a few more seconds to realize that I didn’t hurt. I hadn’t woke even once to adjust my position to relieve some of the pain. The screaming agony that woke me up every morning for the last 3 years before my alarm had a chance to go off was no where to be found. I went from barely being able to get out of bed by myself to absolutely 100% pain free in two days. TWO DAYS. I spent today afraid to believe it. Every time I got up from my desk, I expected to feel that familiar twinge but it wasn’t there. When I think too much about the difference between this day and the day I had two days ago, it overwhelms me and I can’t help but cry with the happiness of it. I feel like a living, breathing miracle!!

Thank you, Dr. Davis, for sharing your knowledge and giving me my life back.

I am very grateful that Wendi experienced this life-changing event, an effect I’ve seen in many other people. But the question that plagues me is why? What is it in this crazy creation of geneticists that would cause such an effect? Is it some inflammatory response triggered by wheat lectin? Is it some peculiar gastrointestinal effect of gliadin expressed in the back?

We can only speculate why something in wheat can cause chronic pain in the back. But I believe that chronic unexplained back pain needs to be added to the long, long list of reasons to say goodbye to wheat.

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70 Responses to Low back pain, chiropractors, NSAIDs, narcotics . . and wheat

  1. Very interesting. Most people in this generation even kids are having back pain and they try to spent most of their money to eliminate the pain their experiencing, so I wrote a book about back pain care entitled “This is Why Your Back Hurts”, eliminate your back pain without Drugs, Doctors or Surgery in just 6 Weeks! You may want to check it out. This would probably helps. Thank you

  2. Allen says:

    Functions of the low back, or lumbar area, include structural support, movement, and protection of certain body tissues.
    Pain in the low back can relate to the bony lumbar spine, discs between the vertebrae, ligaments around the spine and discs, spinal cord and nerves, muscles of the low back, internal organs of the pelvis and abdomen, and the skin covering the lumbar area.
    Treatment of low back pain is optimally directed toward a diagnosed or suspected specific cause. For acute lumbar strain, use of a home remedy initially can be beneficial.

  3. PJ says:

    I have been experimenting with not eating wheat after reading Wheat Belly late in 2012. I finally stopped eating it altogether on Jan2, 2013. What I noticed was that I no longer was popping advil to relieve my lower back pain. I’ve had lower back pain for over 20 years, and as I age (I’m 48) it seems to be getting worse. I’ve gone to chiropractors, RMT’s, physio, I’ve had numerous different healing modalities done & they have all worked…for a day or two. Then the back pain always comes back, and it has gotten to the point where it keeps me awake throughout the night.
    So, yesterday my partner & I ended up eating at a lovely Chinese restaurant, and I know that some of the dishes had soy sauce in them, and I also had one dumpling. In the middle of the night I was wracked with back pain, it felt more severe than any I had experienced before. Now I TRULY KNOW that I can’t simply “cut down” on the wheat. I need to keep it out of my system altogether.
    Another totally positive thing for me about cutting out wheat is that I no longer have hunger pangs, or serious sugar cravings. I LOVE cookies, cakes, muffins – anything baked really. When I cut out wheat I no longer crave those things, and feel pleasantly full all of the time. I am eating whole foods now, lots of veggies & fruit and I feel SO MUCH BETTER!
    Thank you Dr. Davis from the bottom of my heart.

  4. Karen says:

    I’ve been experimenting with this diet for the past two weeks. I’m 26 years old and I have scoliosis. At the age of 23 I got in a car accident and ever since I’ve had constant pain in my back. I just always associated the pain to scoliosis and the accident. When it got really bad I would go to the doctor and they’d always prescribed NSAIDS and muscle relaxers (which I hate because they make me sleep for and extended period of time). I would only take the NSAIDS and still never got relief, so I learned to just live with the pain. So I decided to go on this diet mainly to lose weight and because I heard good things about how it benefits the skin. After only 2 weeks on the diet every time I see someone that say “Oh you’re glowing!” And I just tell them I’m on the wheat belly diet. Today as I was walking from my car to the building I work (it’s a far walk) I noticed my mind was somewhere else for once and not thinking about getting to a seat as fast as possible. The point is I started this diet for other reasons but I’m realizing that the best thing that’s came about is no back pain what so ever. I was so excited about the realization that I even called up a friend to go work out today!! Its a really big thing for me since I’ve wanted to be more active for so long but could never really fathom it. I have so much energy right now and I really feel like it’s time for me to finally do what I’ve needed to for so long…get my life together. I’m young and the future looked bleek for me considering. This has definitely changed my prospective and I don’t think I will ever go back to wheat again!

    • Dr. Davis says:

      That’s terrific, Karen!

      Others with similar issues need to hear your story. I am going to post your comment as a blog post. Thank you for telling it!

  5. Michael says:

    I have had lower and upper back pain for over 15 years.. From pinched nerves, major muscle inflammatory, to the point I couldnt even walk at times. After x-rays MRI’s, specialists, they could not find what was causing it.. I eliminated foods and it did reduce pain. Only in the past year I kept doing trial runs with foods.. I eliminated refined sugar and it did relieve some upper but the over pain was there.. I then eliminated all flour/wheat..

    After 1 month I dropped my medication by more than half and my overall pain was reduced by 70%.
    I still have back pain but some of the back pain as been eliminated. Such as, pinched nervers in my hips, knees.. My lower back pain is completely eliminated.

    The only pain that now remains is upper back muscle inflammation. I did a gluten test and it came up negative.

    also, I have lost so much weight.

    • Dr. Davis says:

      Excellent, Michael!

      And, as you learned, it does NOT require a positive gluten antibody test to have glaring and painful experiences with modern wheat!

  6. Cat Neves says:

    I have suffered with chronic back pain for over 20 years and it is sometimes unbearable. I stumbled across your website as I think there may be a link between wheat and back pain although doctors seem to think this idea is ridiculous. I have had a test for coeliac but it came back negative but having read some of the comments, it has confirmed my suspicions about the dangers of wheat; surely we all can’t be wrong. I am now deteremined to ditch the wheat, even if it means giving up my lovely toast; these are desperate times and if it works, I will over the moon as I dread what the future holds at the moment. I will let you know how I get on. Fingers crossed!

  7. Hi Davis,
    To deal with lower back pain engage in regular workouts, try therapeutic exercises, stop doing exercises that put pressure on the spine and practice the drawing in technique. Pay attention to all compensations you make during exercise and lose weight if needed.

  8. Ryan says:

    My wife has lupus and suffers from terrible joint pain caused by arthritis. Will this diet help her in controlling the flare ups caused by the lupus which causes the arthritis?
    We are looking for anything that will help controll her pain, because the medicines and treatments she is on is not working.

  9. Jane says:

    I have had terrible sacroiliac pain that came out of nowhere about 4 months ago and makes it hard to walk. I have tried cutting gluten out before but was substituting with a much higher intake of quinoa and brown rice — so I saw no weight loss. I am 5’7 at 128lbs but have a distinct belly that appeared about age 27. I am really hoping that by cutting out wheat completely and cutting down to only 1/2 cup quinoa or brown rice will do the trick for both the belly and the chronic pain. I think the ton of brown rice I was eating was making it impossible to lose the belly. Will keep you updated on how this affects the pain.

  10. Mason Zander says:

    Dr. Davis,
    I have read your book Wheat Belly I am convinced the wheat is the primary factor of many problems I have had over the last few years. I served 22 years in the Navy and found that one of the main staples of by diet was wheat 3 times a day. After retiring 5 years ago and reading your book and making many changes to my diet, I have seen nothing less than great results.
    However, just recently my doctor told me I have degenerative disc disease at L5-S1 with a vacuum disc phenomenon, loss of disc space height, endplate sclerosis. This sounds much like arthritis associated with age, I am 45 yrs old. My therapy for myself will consist of having grass feed collagen, walking and trying to eat even less wheat. Dr Davis, any other suggestions to do before I have an MRI and whatever comes next?

    Thanks in advance,
    Mason Zander

  11. Tara says:

    Thank you so much for this – you’ve brought me hope that I might be pain-free one day!