Whats The Difference Between Celiac Disease And Gluten Sensitivity
Its pretty common for people to feel better after eliminating gluten from their diets, even when they dont have celiac disease. These individuals most likely suffer from whats known as non-celiac gluten sensitivity, a condition that causes celiac-like symptoms in people without the specific disorder. This diagnosis has contributed hugely to the growing market for gluten-free foods. NCGS has given way to a ton of discussion and confusion among sufferers.
What we do know is that, in people with celiac disease, eating gluten triggers inflammation in the small intestine. Meanwhile, theres a lot we dont know about NCGS, such as how much gluten it takes to trigger symptoms. As a result, people are eliminating gluten from their diets in increasing numbers in hopes that it will improve their health even when they know that they dont have celiac disease.
Celiac Disease And Back Pain
There is scant information in the medical literature on the relationship between low back pain and celiac disease, but what is available is worthy of mention. In a 2010 study evaluating back pain and sacroiliitis , 70% of adult celiac patients were found to have changes or involvement of the sacroiliac joints. These people were on a gluten-free diet and had no gastrointestinal symptoms, yet these changes were still seen.
A few other case reports on celiac patients with osteopenia or osteoporosis had back pain as their initial presenting symptom of celiac disease. Beyond that, there is very little information to say what the incidence of low back pain is in celiac disease before or after diagnosis. Anecdotally, I see low back pain as a manifestation of celiac disease, and it commonly resolves after initiation of a gluten-free diet. It also frequently recurs if gluten is ingested.
What Foods Cause Joint Pain
For people who suffer from arthritis, the constant pain and stiffness often lead the body to be in a state of stress or inflammation. In these cases, some food may aggravate the inflammation or relieve it. Hence, along with taking medications, people must restrict some types of food.
The most common causes of joint pain are
Other causes of joint pain are quite rare and may include
- Bursitis , often specific to certain professions
- Tendinitis due to conditions, such as improper use of joints, poor posture, hypothyroidism, diabetes, vitamin D deficiency
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The Link Between Gluten And Back Pain
For most people, back pain does not evoke any thought of gluten intolerance. Clearly, most back pain is not attributable to gluten there are far more common reasons to experience it.* But the connection between back pain and gluten is worthy of discussion. Research has now emerged to show a link between gluten and some forms of back pain.
Many of my patients have celiac disease or gluten intolerance. Often, they recount back pain so severe it required MRIs, medication, and therapy. Some had mysterious pain that no one could explain. In many cases, the back pain resolved with a gluten-free diet. I often wonder how many of them made trips to their practitioner for back pain and were given various treatments that did not address the root cause.
Gluten Vs Other Potential Causes Of Inflammation From Diet
Consider that going gluten-free in and of itself doesnt guarantee youre eating a healthy diet. As a result of going gluten-free, you may shift your diet to a healthier pattern by eating more fruits and vegetables, but many people dont, says Dr. Konijeti. Theres an entire industry of highly processed gluten-free foods. In other words, gluten-free doesnt mean nutrient-dense.
Theres also the idea that the bad guy gluten may not be the real or only culprit. People may feel better removing gluten-containing foods because they are eliminating something in those foods other than or in addition to gluten.
Many foods with gluten also contain other compounds known as FODMAPs, which is an acronym for different types of carbohydrates found in dairy, certain fruits and vegetables, grains, and sugars. Lactose is a FODMAP, for example. According to review published in JAMA in 2017, the reduction of FODMAPs associated with the gluten-free diet may explain, at least in part, why some patients affected with irritable bowel symptoms may report amelioration of their symptoms after starting a gluten-free diet.
Other components of grains, called amylase-trypsin inhibitors , have also been implicated in promoting inflammation, says Dr. Konijeti.
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Avoid These 5 Inflammatory Foods To Ease Joint Pain
As a leading orthopaedic practice serving patients throughout the Triangle region, we care about your bone and joint health. Not only do we offer comprehensive surgical and non-surgical orthopaedic care, but we also advise our patients about things they can on their own to increase strength and mobility and improve their overall health. Choosing the right foods is a basic place to start.
Smart food choices are important for everyone, especially for those who suffer from joint pain and inflammation. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, a well-balanced diet should be full of plant-based foods. The FDA recommends a diet of two-thirds fruits, vegetables and whole grains, leaving one-third for lean protein and low-fat dairy.
While some foods may help fight inflammation in the joints and muscles, studies have found that others can exacerbate inflammation, causing pain in the knees, back and other parts of the body. Compounds found in certain foods can trigger the body to produce chemicals that cause inflammation as well as other health issues such as heart disease, diabetes and obesity.
To help decrease joint and muscle pain and inflammation, try eliminating these foods from your diet or consume them in moderation:
Other Autoimmune Arthritic Conditions
There are several other pain-causing autoimmune conditions associated with celiac disease and gluten sensitivity, which include scleroderma, migratory arthritis, reactive arthritis, dermatomyositis, and ankylosing spondylitis among others.
For example, in this study, researchers found 83% of patients with celiac disease had symptoms associated with scleroderma. Symptoms were also statistically more severe in those with gluten sensitivity. Plus, patients reported an improvement in muscle pain soon after a gluten-free diet was implemented.
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Some Arthritis Patients Swear That Ditching Gluten Has Helped Their Joint Pain Others Havent Seen Any Impact So What Does The Research Say About Gluten Inflammation And Arthritis
Ask people with inflammatory arthritis their thoughts on following a gluten-free diet, and youll hear some strong opinions.
For some, the results of following a gluten-free diet have been impressive: Ive given up my handicap placard and my cane. My psoriasis has gone completely as well. When I eat gluten, my pain comes back as does my psoriasis, Kelly G. told us on Facebook. Marjorie W. says that her hands feel much better since eliminating bread, cake, and pastries. When I indulge, swelling, stiffness, and pain return, she says, noting that shes also filling her diet with ample fruits and vegetables.
While many CreakyJoints members have been pleased with a switch to a gluten-free, just as many reported that cutting out gluten hasnt improved their arthritis symptoms. Eliminating gluten made no difference for Sue D., whose friend suggested she start a gluten-free diet. Pam E. says that going gluten-free was the best thing Ive ever done for myself but only because it decreased her GI distress it didnt seem to affect her joints.
Gluten has earned a reputation for promoting inflammation and causing a host of health problems. In turn, going gluten-free has been perceived by many in the chronic illness community as a panacea particularly because its a natural approach. As such, many arthritis patients have adopted a gluten-free diet, though to mixed success.
Joint Pain Improvements On A Gluten
In 2011, doctors in Turkey told the story of a 42-year-old woman in the prestigious journal Rheumatology International. The title of their small case report was Celiac disease of the joint. Here is what they recorded:
- A 42-year-old woman presented with a 3-week history of left knee pain and swelling.
- She had suffered dermatitis herpetiformis for 12 years.
- She had never been on a gluten-free diet.
- Knee pain increased with motion and her gait was antalgic .
- The 42-year-old was mainly dependent on a wheelchair due to pain and limitation.
- She responded well to a gluten-free diet. The Association of joint involvement and dermatitis herpetiformis is more than just coincidental.
The Turkish doctors emphasized that her joint pain and skin rashes improved when she went on a gluten-free diet, so much so that they stressed in their paper, that these improvements were more than just coincidental.
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Gluten Is Connected To Many Forms Of Autoimmune Arthritis
Can gluten cause muscle and joint pain? For genetically susceptible individuals, the intestinal damage caused by gluten in combination with an overactive immune system and chronic state of inflammation leads to celiac disease.
Celiac disease is an autoimmune condition that causes your immune system to attack your intestines, which creates even more damage and inflammation. But as I mentioned, the inflammatory effects arent limited to your gut. Which is why celiac disease is associated with many other autoimmune conditions. And several of them cause your immune system to attack your muscles and joints, which causes pain.
Gluten And Joint Pain: What You Need To Know
Most people dont realize it, but this sneaky ingredient can cause serious damage in our bodies, especially if you suffer from arthritis .
But before we get to the bottom of how taking gluten off your plate can help relieve your symptoms, lets look at what causes joint pain in the first place.
Inflammation and Joint Pain
Although there are many different causes of joint pain, more often than not it all boils down to one thing: inflammation.
Rheumatoid arthritis is one of the most common sources of joint pain, and its also the most common type of autoimmune arthritis. This chronic inflammatory disorder causes symptoms like pain, swelling, and stiffness and it usually affects the small joints found in the hands and feet.
This type of arthritis occurs due to confusion in the immune system. The wires get crossed somewhere and the cells that are supposed to defend our body against invaders and infection start attacking our own healthy tissues instead.
The result is inflammation, which is actually a normal, healthy process designed to help the body to heal. But when things go haywire, it can also lead to chronic pain and swelling in the joints.
This is why many people with rheumatoid arthritis often get injected with steroids or why your doctor might recommend taking an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory like Advil or Tylenol when symptoms flare up.
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Testing For Gluten Sensitivity
Doctors can test for celiac disease or a gluten sensitivity using a blood test. Generally, having higher levels of certain antibodies indicates that a person has celiac disease or is sensitive to gluten.
If the blood test comes back positive, the person may find that cutting out gluten from their diet makes them feel better overall.
In some cases, the doctor may need to take a biopsy of tissue in the small bowel to confirm the diagnosis. It is necessary to consume gluten before the biopsy to avoid getting a false negative test result.
People with a gluten sensitivity will benefit from removing foods that contain gluten from their diets. This may seem difficult at first, but it should become easier over time gluten-free alternatives to common foods are becoming much more widely available.
Most major food groups contain no gluten, including:
- nut flours such as almond, hazelnut, or acorn
However, many manufacturers package these grains and flours using the same equipment as they do to package grains containing gluten, which may lead to contamination.
People who are severely allergic to gluten should always read the label. The label may say that the product comes into contact with gluten or may contain gluten.
Those who are especially worried about gluten may want to only choose certified gluten-free products.
Symptoms Of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Some of the early signs and symptoms of the most common form of arthritis rheumatoid arthritis are as follows:
- Numbness and Tingling in Hands One of the main symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis is a continued tingling and numb sensation in wrists and hands caused by carpal tunnel syndrome. The swelling caused by arthritis compresses the nerves and cause this tingling sensation.
- Foot Problems Yet another early symptom of rheumatoid arthritis is recurring foot trouble. Rheumatoid arthritis causes inflammation and pain in the forefoot and heels caused by plantar fasciitis.
- Hard to Heal Injuries If you had a sprained ankle that is taking too much time to heal then it might be an early sign of rheumatoid arthritis.
- Joint Stiffness Stiffness in smaller joints of fingers and toes is a typical sign of arthritis.
- Joint Pain Joint stiffness is accompanied usually by tenderness of joints and joint pain during movement. The most common areas affected by joint pain are shoulders, wrists, fingers, knees and ankles.
- Joint Swelling The first sign of inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis is swelling of joints that feel warm to the touch.
- Inflammation and pain in joints lead to deformation of the ligaments and tendons, which causes difficulty in straightening the joints, thereby limiting the range of motion.
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Celiac Diseases Cause Bone Damage And Tendon Damage
In the above study, the researchers pointed to the high risk of bone erosion and bone damage in diagnosed and untreated celiac disease. Clearly, if you have bone damage and bone loss, you will have joint and spine pain. According to other researchers, you will also have joint pain coming from the tendons. This pain too is caused by celiac disease.
What Is The Relationship Between Gluten And Inflammation
The relationship between gluten and inflammation is well known. In people who are sensitive or intolerant to gluten, the consumption of this nutrient, which is found in wheat and rye, as well as barley and a few other grains, will cause an inflammatory response in the body as the immune system attempts to fight it off. Some nutritionists recommend cutting back on gluten even for individuals who are not sensitive or intolerant, but who suffer from other inflammatory conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis. It is important for individuals to recognize the connection between the consumption of gluten and inflammation in order to take steps to resolve their symptoms.
People who are sensitive to gluten, or completely intolerant to the consumption of it, can experience inflammation in all the cells in the body. This means the cells that make up the organs can become inflamed, or the joints can become swollen and sore. True gluten intolerance is known as Celiac disease, and has a number of other symptoms, but the inflammatory response in the body is one of the most common. Many people are unaware of the connection between gluten and inflammation, and as a result suffer for much longer than necessary, often with extreme fatigue and digestive issues as well as pain in the joints.
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