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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Comments & Feedback...

  1. Andrew M

    I wish this were true for me, but I have a degenerative disc so i am pretty screwed regardless. However, I have lost 14 pounds and slowly coming off medications for high cholesterol, high triglycerides and hopefully soon….Type 2 Diabetes. This lifestyle is amazing.

    • My hope for you, Andrew, is that, minus the multiple organ inflammation triggered by wheat, along with the loss of inflammatory “wheat belly” visceral fat, you may still experience some relief.

      I’ve actually seen this happen many times. I was quite surprised at first, but now expect it!

  2. Ann

    When I slipped (twice – ugh) last week, the first thing I noticed was the horrendous, grinding abdominal pain. That seems like a very obvious response to the “wheat-cheat” after two months and two weeks wheat-free. The second thing, and much less expected, was the pain and “inflexible” feeling in my lower back. Even moving from side to side while kneeling was torturous. It was very much the same kind of pain I experienced in the past when I had been told that I’d “sprained” (for lack of a better word, I’m sure) my lower back while standing in the tub and bending over to give my dog a bath many years ago. Last week I could hardly move! So yes, this makes perfect sense to me. I really must come down to the fact that wheat has a dreadfully inflammatory effect on the body! I’ve spent nearly an entire week on Ibuprofen just getting by. These are some of the benefits of a wheat-free diet that cannot be quantified in terms of a “balanced diet.” How can it be balanced when you have to take pain relievers just because you’ve eaten it?

    • Yes, agreed, Ann.

      How many people take anti-inflammatory drugs or even narcotics, or just suffer silently, all because of their morning bowl of breakfast cereal?

      If this were the ONLY problem with wheat consumption, this alone would be newsworthy.

  3. Before my lifestyle change which includes putting wheat out of my diet, I had almost constant pain in my right side below the ribcage. I don’t know what it was but it went on for years. Not that I have changed my diet the pain has gone along with 145 pounds. My energy level is through the roof and I feel great.
    Thanks for the book Dr. Davis.

    • Happy Wheat free New Year to everyone. I am almost 4 months into the wheat free lifestyle. If you can believe it I have not lost a pound.I have not cheated even once but I feel so much better than I have in years. I convinced my PCP to do the blood work TSH,Free T4 and T3 plus a metabolic panel. I called him yesterday and the nurse told me that my doctor had told her that all of the tests were in range but my TSH was a little elevated.
      I know that the T3 is crucial for weight loss. Would I be out of line when I see him next week to ask him to please put me on Armour Thyroid or Naturethroid as my T3 is 75 out of a range of 71-180 ?

      • Uncle Roscoe

        There are lots of people who suffer autoimmune thyroid problems. The problems can come from direct antigen attack, with related inflammatory response, or from autoimmune response. The problems can cause low thyroid output or high thyroid output. Many people, doctors included, look at low thyroid hormone and assume the thyroid is under-producing. This is not always the case.

        T3 is used inside cells as a catalyst for metabolism, for turning food into energy. Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) is the energy currency of the cell. T3 and ATP are three part proteins. T3 holds three atoms of iodine, and ATP holds three molecules of adenosine.

        Stage 1 metabolism concurrently peels off an iodine atom from T3 as it peels off an adenosine molecule from ATP. T3 becomes T2, and ATP becomes ADP (adenosine diphosphate). If the cellular metabolic engine is working, AND you are getting sufficient exercise, catalysts return T2 to T3 and return ADP to ATP. Then stage 1 metabolism repeats itself. If your metabolic engine is not working, OR you aren’t getting sufficient exercise, metabolism is forced into stage 2. Stage 2 breaks T2 and ADP into T1 and AMP (adenosine monophosphate).

        This broken cycle repeats in successive stages until the original ATP and T3 proteins are depleted. Then cells try and import more T3.

        A person with bad metabolism or insufficient exercise depletes T3 at a faster rate than a person with good metabolism and sufficient exercise. So when a person’s thyroid panel comes back with low T3 numbers, it could be a sign of low thyroid function. But it could be a sign of a broken metabolic engine, or inadequate exercise.

        If insufficient exercise is the problem, get some exercise. If broken metabolism is the problem, look for the solution in reduction of simple sugars and glycoproteins ……sugars like the fructose in fruit and table sugar …….glycoproteins like the ones in wheat. If thyroid output is the problem, again, look for the solution in reduction of simple sugars and glycoproteins. If you supplement extra thyroid hormone, and afterward you treat your metabolism problem, you could end up with symptoms of Graves disease …….excess thyroid hormone.

        If your problem is metabolic, and you supplement with extra thyroid hormone, then you will still be left with broken metabolism, and declining health. Cancer is the ultimate end stage of metabolic disease. If you need temporary thyroid supplements in order to start exercising, fine. But exercise is the goal, not supplementation. Metabolically, animal fat is a far superior energy source to any form of carbohydrate.

        Most doctors know some of this stuff, but apply it pragmatically ……”She won’t improve her diet or start exercising no matter what I tell her”. So they prescribe thyroid hormone. But that happens one-on-one, without onlookers who could benefit from the truth.

        • Ann

          @Uncle Roscoe – I’ve never had this explained this way! I never have been told, or understood, that exercise could do what thyroid supplements could. It makes me more motivated to exercise, but I do have a lifestyle that doesn’t lend its self well to “regular” exercise – I have a profoundly disabled son, and he doesn’t always allow me that luxury.
          I exercised very regularly when I was younger, five or six days a week for many years, usually only taking Sundays off, but back then I was eating a low-fat, high complex-carb diet, and while I certainly didn’t feel awful, my weight continued to increase over the years, despite pretty consistent efforts with diet and exercise. The birth of my above-mentioned last child curtailed much independence or ability to do anything “extra” for myself, and my weight has ballooned in the years since.
          I was really interested in seeing a Dr. this year to get tested, and possibly get started on the natural, dessicated thyroid. Maybe now I will just plug along and try to move things around and see if I can’t get out of the house a little more often ALONE, and get in a few extra walks a week.
          Thank you so much for your explanation!

          • Kaylana Miller

            While exercise is great for anyone, I might also suggest getting your estrogen and progesterone ratio checked. The thyroid might also be responding to a high level of estrogen due to environmental exposure and diet.
            Wheat influences estrogen levels too.
            The research is out there. Happy hunting!
            Cheers to a wheat free lifestyle!

          • Uncle Roscoe

            I hear ya. There are sometimes more important considerations than our immediate health. It appears to me that you would benefit from exercise if you can find a way. In that regard, any exercise is better than none, inside or outside. Up to a point, the more exercise you can get, the better.

          • Uncle Roscoe

            Okay I screwed up. Adenosine triphosphate is an adenosine molecule which carries three phosphate molecules. Metabolism stages successively peel off phosphates as they peel off iodine atoms from T3. The T3 activity remains correct. If it was an article I’d have refreshed better.

            Dr. Davis has to be chuckling. But hey, I can screw up. I’m not the host.

        • mama kass

          Uncle Rosco, Thank you for your insights on my T3 problem. You obviously are very knowledgeable about the issue. I have been thinking that my answer to the lack of weight loss was simply to add in T3.I See now that I need to also ramp up the exercise. As I mentioned in a previous blog, I am currently on 150mcg Levoxythrone and I take 375 mg of iodine daily. I am meeting with my PCP next week and your information will be helpful.
          Thank you for taking the time to explain things!

      • Julie

        I have also been querying my thyroid function and have found that along with the rather wonderful explanation by Uncle Roscoe, is this another that is pertinent.
        For the cells to be able to use the T3 you need to have good levels of iron, transferring saturation%, ferritin, vitamin B12, vitamin D3, magnesium, folate, copper and zinc – all of which, if low, stop the thyroid hormone from being utilised by the cells – these have to be treated. Not forgetting iodine, which the western diet tends to be low in.
        My thyroid tests all came back pretty healthy, but my B12, Iron and folate were all disastrously low, yet my ferritin was above range.
        Getting my vitamins topped up has made a major improvement with my energy levels, to such an extent I am now managing to exercise again, which hasn’t been an option for over a year.

  4. Carol

    Dear Dr. Davis: Over a year ago, I went to see a rheumatologist on the advice of my chiropractor and my primary care physician. My chiropractor had been treating me for chronic shoulder and back pain, and I had already been diagnosed with osteoporosis of the spine, osteopenia of the hips, and DJD. On x-ray, there appeared to be bone spurs on my spine, and the doctors were questioning if I had ankylosing spondylitis. I was 53 years old, 5’3″ and 163 lbs, had extreme acid reflux, and was tired all the time. Most mornings I had to roll out of bed sideways just to get up due to the pain and stiffness. I had tried Actonel for the osteoporosis, but after 2 doses I had an extreme reaction – pain and inability to stand up straight – and was told I would be unable to tolerate any bisphosphonates. The rheumatologist examined me, looked at my x-rays and blood test results, told me that I was probably in the beginning stage of Rheumatoid Arthritis…and gave me two options. One was tradtional anti-inflammatory pain medication, and he handed me a prescription for this. The second option was to go on an anti-inflammatory diet. What he was suggesting was no wheat and no sugar – a “low carb” diet. Ever the skeptic, I thought “I’ll try this for 2 weeks and prove him wrong, then go fill my prescription”. Imagine my surprise (and DELIGHT) 2 weeks later, to realize that I was virtually pain-free, had no reflux, more energy, and was losing weight! It has now been a year. I have lost approximately 30 lbs. My pain is gone. My hair and skin are softer. My dentist is amazed at my oral health. And those around me are noticing – and some are even crossing over to the wheat free lifestyle. My sister (previously the poster child for high carb living) swears that she will never go back to wheat or sugar again. I work at a health care facility, and several of my work colleagues are reading your book and trying it for themselves.
    Thank you for your honesty, and bravery, in writing your book. It is not something that many people want to hear. But, so many people will benefit from what you are telling us. I know I have! Keep up the great work.
    Sincerely, Carol

    • Excellent, Carol!

      I am quite impressed that your rheumatologist offered this as an option. If some of my colleagues are saying it, then the message is spreading!

    • Gretchen Linden

      Hi, Carol! I have RA too and I was tickled that my story was posted here on Dec 24 11; it’s called “Gretchen’s cheat day”. I think you’ll be interested. Wow, I’m glad you had such an immediate response to giving up wheat and sugar! That’s so fantastic, and I’m very glad that you are doing so well. Have you turned into a “lunatic evangelist” too, like I have??! LOL ;) I hope so! Those of us who’ve experienced it have to do everything we can to spread the word. Be well — Gretchen

      • Carol

        Gretchen, thanks! I read your story with tears in my eyes. It is difficult not to be a “lunatic evangelist” when you know what we now know! That must be why Dr. Davis felt compelled to write the book. I just had my yearly physical this past week, and bloodwork done on Friday morning. My dexa scan is scheduled for this Friday. I can’t wait to see all my test results! My primary care physician was surprised, I could tell. When we go over my recent test results (because I anticipate that they will be amazing), I will waste no time in telling him why things are better. From one “lunatic” to another – best wishes!

  5. Phillis

    Hey Dr. Davis and Wheat Belly Buddies! Just my two cents worth here in regard to what may be the correlation between the low back pain and wheat consumption. First I’ll qualify my two cents with the disclaimer that I’m not an expert here but have in trying to solve my own and my family’s health issues picked up a little knowledge (which can be a dangerous thing, hahahaha!) about things. I’ve always heard that the enteric nervous system (the nerves lining the gut) are considered the “second brain” in our bodies due to the amount of nerve cells that are there. In fact, there are more nerve cells there than in the whole spinal cord.. The enteric nervous system is part of the autonomic nervous system and it communicates with the central nervous system which includes both the brain and spinal cord. Since the enteric nervous system contains more nerve cells than the spine wouldn’t it stand to reason that the entire nervous system which would include our backs (including the spine and adjacent musculature) would be screaming out in pain as the ENS is attacked by the inflammatory components of wheat? And couldn’t that pain possibly be expressed in the weakest parts of our bodies?? I would consider it more like yelling for help out of a window rather than trying to scream through a wall. None of the parts of our body stands alone but works in concert so I wouldn’t have a problem believing that if one part (especially the part with a LOT of nerve cells) is in an inflamed condition that it would find some way of letting us know about it? Now this is not an attempt at an explanation but is just proposing a theory perhaps. Our bodies are incredibly marvelous machines and it constantly amazes me how even when ingesting this wheat “poison” our bodies will try it’s very best to assimilate and deal with it but at the same time it will communicate non-verbally with us about the fact that it is NOT happy about it!

    • Ann

      I LOVE that theory. I, too, really know the connection between the gut and the nervous system. I will SWEAR until I’m in my grave that drinking kefir and kombucha make me feel happier for hours after consumption. If probiotics can make me feel that good, it stands to reason that something as inflammatory as wheat can make me feel that bad…

    • Yeah, I’m thinking along the same lines, Phillis: Inflammation and destruction in one part of the body is experienced in another. This has been indeed described via several mechanisms.

      What I don’t know for a fact is whether the back pain Wendi and others experienced can be attributed to precisely this cause. But I’m sure there is a valuable wheat-bashing insight in it somewhere.

      • Phillis

        I’m sure that there probably is a wheat problem relating this whole thing as well. I also am wondering if the lower back pain could also be due to inflammation of either the lower bowel or even the kidneys and adrenal glands?? I suffered frequently as a child with kidney problems and low back pain was one of the symptoms. I am truly looking forward to the answers as more research is done also but since there are so many areas that wheat affects it may take a awhile for those answers to come, sigh.

  6. I am a Chiropractor in Southern California. I have been promoting the Wheat Belly book since the book came out. Both on My FB page, Health blog, and in my office. I have loaner copies for patients. Most Chiro’s that I know promote no Wheat/Gluten for better health.

    • Thanks, Dr. Kevin!

      Yes, the chiropractic community has been a champion of this cause. They have been years ahead of most of my colleagues on this.

  7. yuma

    Hi Dr. Davis,
    you recommend 40-50 grams of carbohydrates per day, 13-16 per meal, assuming 3 meals per day.
    If I only had 2 meals per day (i.e. intermittent fasting) would I still have only 13-16 C per meal or 20-25?
    If I only had 1 meal per day (i.e. intermittent fasting) would I still have only 13-16 C per meal or 50?
    In other words, does the fasting period compensate for the impact of higher carbs per meal?

    Thanks!

    • Hi, Yuma–

      No difference if your goal is to limit glycation.

      In other words, if you wish to minimize glucose excursions, thereby limiting the process of endogenous glycation, then per meal consumption is the key.

  8. I too noticed right away that random neck and back pains just didnt bother me as much as they used to. Specific example: two weeks after going wheat-free (paleo, actually) i pulled something in my neck and it was sore and crampy for the rest of the day. But the pain didnt radiate and spread to my whole neck and shoulders like it usually would; it stayed confined in one area, triggered only by one plane of movement, which I of course avoided. The most amazing thing was, the next day, I woke up, WITH NO PAIN WHATSOEVER. Not even in the area that had been hurting the day before. This was astounding, since normally any neck or back tweak would plague me for days and days, getting worse before getting better.

    I have been dealing with some mid-back pain lately, but I honestly feel it is caused by a few reasons: 1) I sleep on my side, and i dont have all the “side padding” that I used to, so I think my spine is slumping into the mattress more than it ever has before. 2) I am gaining a lot of flexibility and mobility that I never have had before, so I think the pain might be partially caused by loosening tissues and using muscles that have been bound up for years and years. In any event, the pain stays localized, comes and goes instead of lingering for days, and is only triggered by specific movements. By avoiding those movements, conveniently i am also learning how to activate my core muscles and hold myself better, which is gradually eliminating the pain altogether. Its like im using the pain like its supposed to be used: signals and information to help guide me away from things that hurt me and help get me back on the right course. Im sure I wouldnt be able to do this if my back was a wheat-inflamed ball of pain all the time.

  9. You mean pain that is truly meaningful, not just a result of wheat consumption? A novel concept!

    I hope that joint pains become a distant memory for you, cTo.

  10. Mary

    As always, sorry for my English, I’m from Spain. I’m 39.

    I have spent almost four weeks wheat free. I notice my skin has improved. It’s clearer and brighter. My joints do not hurt when I bend or move vigorously. And that I’m not in shape. I’ve lost part of my belly and I want to disappear it completely. Although I have an overweight about 18 pounds.

    I hope neutrophils raise and IgA turn lower. I’ll tell you in several months when it takes more time and again I have blood tests.

    I would like to tell me your progress on the skin. Wrinkles, eczema, acne, acne scars, dull ….

    Thank you.

    • Very nice, Mary/Maria!

      Yes, update us on your progress from Spain. This is a worldwide phenomenon that spares no population that consumes the evil grain.

  11. Barb

    Before going wheat free, I often had lower back pain that would radiate down my legs like sciatic pain. After a couple of years of suffering with this pain, I started to connect it to gas in my lower intestines. I guess maybe it was putting pressure on my spinal nerves. Since going wheat free, I don’t have the gas anymore…. Also no back pain!

    • Interesting, Barb!

      One of the issues that needs more exploration is the change in bowel flora that develops with wheat consumption, as well as the changes that develop with wheat elimination. This may be at least part of the reason so many people enjoy better bowel health by saying goodbye to wheat.

      • Uncle Roscoe

        Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) is the energy currency of the human cell. So Adenosine is the base metabolism molecule. Adenosine molecules are probably the most common amino acid molecules in the human body. How do we maintain an adequate supply of adenosine?

        Answer: Adenosine is an “essential” nutrient. Like most other basic amino acids adenosine is supplied through digesting food. Incomplete digestion fails to supply sufficient adenosine. Eating wheat and sugar arrests digestion, and places proteins into the bloodstream before they can be broken into molecules as small as adenosine.

        Many body systems have metabolic feedback loops. They adjust function based on metabolism rate. One such feedback loop is in the liver’s production of bile acid. The stomach releases bile acid for digesting fat. The acid environment triggers enzymes which digest meat proteins. The liver also produces choline, the base chemical for cholinesterase. Cholinesterase has a few functions. In the small intestine cholinesterase absorbs fat and neutralizes bile acid. The small intestine is where other enzymes break apart the complex proteins in wheat.

        http://www.springerlink.com/content/qrn9gm6umvxmy5pd/

        The liver bases its production of bile acid and choline on its metabolic rate. The liver’s metabolic rate depends on the digestive supply of adenosine. Wheat eaters continuously have acid stomachs and heartburn. Wheat eaters also get conditions of lower bowel irritation. I think it’s safe to assume these conditions are aggravated when wheat ingestion cuts short the liver’s supply of adenosine. The liver continues producing bile acid, and delays producing choline, long past the point where it should transition.

      • Barbara

        Cannot thank you enough, now I have lost about 8 lbs and feeling great…I even had my gall bladder removed 5 mths ago and now wonder if it was for nothing?
        I am definitely sticking to this and luckily my fiancee is supporting me and doing it too and has seen differences for himself too.
        Thank you!!
        Barbara

  12. Jeanne

    Great article ! I have a diagnosed gluten intolerance and fructose malabsorption. I have noticed when I fall off the wagon and eat wheat/ gluten I feel low back as well as low front abdominal pain that kinda feels like cramps from a period. Took me a long time to realize it was probably pain from inflamed intestines that was also referring to the low back. Duh!

    • mama kass

      Jeanne, I could have written your response. I have not been diagnosed with celiac but I have been on the wheat free diet since August. I have a history of lower back pain and I have over the last few months also felt almost a period cramp with the back pain. My sister in law (who just started the wheat free diet ) also complained of the same pains………What isn’t connected to wheat!!! I was in the grocery store yesterday and the woman in front of me put two loaves of whole wheat bread in her cart.I fought back the temptation to rip them out of her cart and say ” Lady you’re killing yourself”!!!!

  13. Coleen C.

    I’m also someone who experienced relief from low back pain. I have a herniated disk, but my understanding is that almost everyone (middle-aged and over) has those but not everyone suffers pain. Mine has gotten much better, even to the point where I can be on my feet, shop, etc. for hours and my back will be okay.

  14. Lynne

    For years, I suffered from wobbly and painful hip joints. It didn’t take much for me to rotate a femur out of the socket and even after it was put back in, the pain and weakness would continue for weeks. The sciatica was excruciating at times. I was convinced I had a couple of hip replacements in my future.

    I went low-carb at the end of last April. By mid-July, my hips no longer hurt and they were much more solid and stable than they’d been since I was a child. I was able to drive from Phoenix to Dallas by myself with no problems.

    (As a side note, because it’s not really part of this story: I also had a painful bump on each wrist, with pain in the lumps and radiating up my hands into my thumbs. Using my hands for just about everything was becoming more and more difficult. I was having trouble typing (bad news for an editor!); I couldn’t use a pen; I could no longer knit; my kids had to chop veggies for me; and driving was painful. I couldn’t even hold a book to read. Doctors had no ideas what the lumps were or what to do. By mid-July, they were gone and I’ve had very little wrist or hand pain since!)

    At Thanksgiving, in order not to hurt my guests’ feelings, I ate some wheat-containing dishes that they’d brought. Within 12 hours, the hip pain and weakness were back (and I got a cold sore, something I haven’t had since ditching the wheat). It took about 4 weaks before my hips were back to where they were before Thanksgiving. I didn’t make the same mistake for Christmas or New Year’s!

    • It’s amazing, Lynne, how far off course health can go before someone finds the answer. And I think you’ve found yours.

      But, given the severity of your response, meticulous avoidance is key!

  15. Mike

    Well …
    Not to be a party-pooper, but 3 weeks after going wheat-free, I suffered a bulging disc in my back that laid me up for more than a week. So, going wheat-free isn’t going to cure every problem in your body.

    What it will do, based on my experience, is eliminate the 2:30 crash/hunger, change hunger pangs to vague feelings it should be time to eat something based on prior patterns, improve digestive-tract function, increase overall energy levels and lead to gradual elimination of the book’s title, the Wheat Belly. I’m blown away by the positive improvements. But it doesn’t cure everything!

    • No, that’s right, Mike.

      Wheat elimination will not heal you broken femur, nor your hammer toe, nor your metastatic cancer.

      But what if elimination of wheat eliminated just 20% of all human illness, no drugs or procedures required, while enhancing health in other ways? Isn’t that still worth talking about?

  16. Kathy

    Hello,
    I am new to this site, I found Dr.Davis article in Life Extension magazine and I have to say I was impressed,
    So much that I plan on getting his book. I too have been having alot of issues with back pain & joint pain.
    I would like to know if Fibromyalgia is connected to wheat? I have not started on the wheat free journey just yet as I would like to read the book first but all these blogs have really opened my eyes!
    Thank -you Dr. Davis for the article In Life Extension without that I would have not found your wonderful site!

  17. aletha pagett

    Just purchased the book on the advice of my dr and am only on page 50 but of course am finding the information very disturbing. If my father had only had this information–he ate shredded wheat every moning for breakfast as well as bread at every meal–and passed away at the young age of 102!

    • Boundless

      > … passed away at the young age of 102!

      Random thoughts on that:

      What, if any, health problems before age 102?

      How many of those 102 years were prior to modern wheat?

      What country was this? (French results are different.)

      Just as 1% are celiacs, and another 1% are equally acutely reactive to wheat (but lack the celiac markers), there is a spectrum of responses descending from that, and I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that most centenarians are in a 1% that is highly tolerant to wheat.

  18. sandy mills

    I’ve just read the book and went wheat free 7 days ago. I’ve been amazed at how fast the weight is dropping off and that I have no hunger pains. I have one problem, however. I am having a difficult time during singles tennis, in particular, with my energy. I am very athletic and in good shape, but want to take off 10-15 pounds. I’ve always been a big eater, and I am use to consuming carbohydrates, energy bars, gatorade, etc. before and during a match. Now, without that, I don’t have any stamina on the court. Any suggestions?

    • Yes: Be patient.

      You are likely in wheat withdrawal. This effect will more than likely end very soon, and you will find that the carbohydrates and energy bars are no longer necessary.

  19. donna green

    Just started the book.
    Started down this rd by my son putting me onto mark lessons primal eating philosophy-excellent. On wheat free lost tummy bloating &tummy. Didn”t like the taste of wheat free bread so now on reduced wheat bread 2 slices max day. Not eating much of that either after massive flare up from eating some bread slices(couldn”t afford other bread). What amazes me is how rarely I get hungry & I”m eating a lot less. Always knew eating coral made me hungry i”m! Have chronic pain improvment-any& didn”t get any relief from that during my wheat free time-feel better though. Its so great not to have the bloating tummy! And tummy is going so easily. Hope it helps pain too. Good luck everyone-so happy this is helping us all! Donna

  20. 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

  21. Allen

    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.

  22. PJ

    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.

  23. Karen

    Hello,
    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

      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!

  24. Michael

    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

      Excellent, Michael!

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

  25. Cat Neves

    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!

  26. 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.

  27. Ryan

    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.

  28. Jane

    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.

  29. Mason Zander

    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