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Lower back issues...would going Paleo help?

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  • Lower back issues...would going Paleo help?

    Hi everyone. I'd like to introduce myself, and get some input about whether switching to a Paleo diet could help my back pain...

    My name is Nicki, I'm 45 and a sahm. I am 5'9" and weigh 195#. I'd love to lose 30#. I've had a grand total of 6 back surgeries, all at the L4-L5 level, with the last one being a fusion in 2009. I did pretty well for a couple years, then about a year ago my back started acting up again, both in the lumbar and cervical regions. I've had MRIs, and it was determined that I have several discs in both areas bulging, with one in each place markedly worse than the others. I also have arthritis in my back, and degenerative disc disease.

    I have severe pain in my lower back and rt hip region, constantly. I am on muscle relaxers and percocet 3-4x/day, just to be able to function. I am unable to stand for longer than about 10mins at a time. For exercise, I walk outside when weather permits, 3-4x/wk, about 4mi at a time (I have 3 dogs). I gave up my gym membership because my back wouldn't let me workout there, and also walk my dogs at home....and my dogs needed their walks. While at the gym, I used to weightlift; now I have a Bowflex at home that I need to learn how to use. I also have intermittent neck pain.

    I am wondering if switching to a Paleo, non-inflammatory diet would make any difference at all in my condition? I generally eat pretty well, but do consume a fair amount of whole grains. I also have a sugar addiction.

    In addition to the pain relievers, I also take a Rx NSAID (Celebrex), and also Cymbalta for back pain. My back isn't bad enough yet to have surgery done....although if history repeats, it's just a matter of time.

    I am unable to do chiropractic due to all of my back surgeries and the fusion, and can't do the upside-down thingy that you strap yourself into (sorry, can't remember the name) for the same reason. I've tried PT several times, with no relief.

    Also, in the spirit of honesty, I'm afraid switching to Paleo 24/7 would be too extreme for me. I'm a carb addict!! Can one be successful having 1 or 2 "cheat" meals/week?

    I wonder if anyone on here has had similar issues, and used this diet to improve their symptoms or decrease their pain? I'd love to get any thoughts or advice you guys have. Thanks for reading. :-)

  • #2
    Yes it should.
    I used to have constant back/neck pain.
    Since going primal it rarely happens (if I go too high on the dairy it comes back).

    You can still have potato, sweet potato, and some around here even have white rice. You don't have to be really low carb at all. Have you read Marks book?
    Also as for cheats, for the inflammatory thing, I don't think the cheats would be worth it, to be honest, even small amounts of certain things could make you flare up.

    Good luck with it.


    • #3
      It might, yes. I have suffered from a herniated disc and chronic back pain for about 4 years now. Losing weight definitely helped but I was still needing to daily stretching, back strengthening exercises and acupuncture. Since going Primal I have virtually no pain, and I feel so good that I've been forgetting to stretch and do my exercises. Bad, I know. I'm trying to remember to do them anyway, even though I feel fine. Now I can't say for sure it's the diet because I'm walking more now than I was...but that's part of the primal lifestyle too.
      High Weight: 225
      Weight at start of Primal: 189
      Current Weight: 174
      Goal Weight: 130

      Primal Start Date: 11/26/2012


      • #4
        I'm fortunate--no back pain except when I stand too long on concrete. However, I encourage you to go primal and discover what it can do for you. I'm on a "trying again" round, so I probably don't sound like the world's greatest ambassador...but I share your sugar addiction. If you can't go whole-primal immediately, consider a few small things like dark chocolate (it's harder to over-do and it's better at doing what chocolate does), berries as your fruit of choice (if you tolerate dairy, frozen berries, thawed just enough so they're not solid, with a bit of milk or heavy cream...yummm). But what I remember most from when I was successfully primal--and what has encouraged me to come back and this time focus, is that being primal solved problems I didn't know I had--once I ditched the sugar/gluten fog, I could think more clearly, my pollen allergies cleared up(!), my immune system in general improved--no colds, even when my co-workers were out sick for days at a time with a bad virus--you name it, I probably started feeling better about it!

        Good luck.
        My primal journal: My journey, goals, recipes, random thoughts on primal and SAD.

        It's all about the journey. How we get there is at least as important as where we end up.


        • #5
          Eating a less inflammatory diet and losing some of the unnecessary weight your spine is being made to accommodate certainly can't hurt and has a great chance of alleviating some or all of your back pain. That being said, with that history, promising you complete relief would indicate we're zealots or liars. Fused vertebrae are serious.l

          Yes, you can absolutely eat a few carby meals each week, but if they're full of gluten or other potential sources of systemic inflammation, they'll seriously hinder your progress. If you're talking about white rice, fresh fruit, sweet potatoes, or other so-called "safe starches," you actually might be better off periodically indulging. It's called a carb re-feed or reload, and I use them when I'm trying to achieve an even lower body fat percentage than usual.
          The Champagne of Beards


          • #6
            I have a bulging disc in my lower back and have been in and out of PT for 8 years now.

            I think the strength training has helped the most. Strengthening the stabilizing muscles and stretching out my hips and legs have all helped with the pain. I don't know if this would work for you or not, but its more or less cured my problem. Do you know what the underlying problem is for your back?

            I also think the switch in food has helped, not only because it is less inflammatory, but also because I've dropped weight (less stress on my back!) and felt like I had the energy to move around more.

            Oh, and one more thing (not sure if it applies to you or not) - pushups! They've helped my posture, so that I have the slight curve in my lower back, instead of slouching and flattening the lumbar spine out.


            • #7
              I've heard amazing things about t-tapp, the gentle, no impact exercise program. Reading the fora there it seems that the exercises have helped many people with all kinds of back issues, some of them debilitating. I'm going to start doing it today, just trying a few of the videos there on the site and on youtube. If I like it I'm going to order one of the Basic dvds.

              What is T-Tapp?
              T-Tapp Forums

              I was a carb addict too, Nicki! I've been Primal since Oct 1 of last year and can honestly say that bread and pretzels and that kind of thing gross me out now. It doesn't even register as food. Because it isn't
              be the hair that knots with my hair
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              primal since oct. 1, 2012