My Journey to Silencing Arthritis: How a Diet Shift Brought Back My Music

Five years ago, I gave up gluten, and while it brought me several benefits, it didn’t cure all of my physical ailments. One issue that persisted was the arthritis in my fingers. It got to a point where I had to cut back on my musical activities. However, upon additional dietary changes, I managed to halt the soreness and regain the use of my hands.

The Good Outcomes

When I decided to cut gluten out of my diet, my brain function and memory ceased to deteriorate, and my mental abilities started to improve. Now my brain problems are mostly non-existent. My gluten-free diet also conquered skin rashes that had tormented me for decades. The inflammation accompanying my insect and spider bites also lessened in intensity.

Aside from these improvements, I also saw positive changes in my body. My blood pressure and weight both dropped, and even my dandruff disappeared almost entirely. It is important to note that these benefits might not be universal when adopting a gluten-free diet.

Pain Persists

While I enjoyed many improvements from altering my diet, going gluten-free did nothing for the arthritis in my hands. In fact, the joint pain in my fingers became worse after giving up gluten. Playing the guitar turned into an endurance test. Each time I grasped the fingerboard, I had to see how long I could resist the pain.

The type of osteoarthritis I have in my fingers is called Heberden’s Nodes. It causes bumps to form in the finger joints and is genetic. I inherited it from my mother. As the pain worsened, I opted for an even more restricted diet to see if it might help alleviate the arthritis. In addition to giving up gluten, I also stopped consuming corn, soy, and dairy products.

Dietary Shift Eliminates Pain

The stricter diet worked! Although friends recommended giving up one food type at a time to figure out the root of my problem, I didn’t want to spend that much time on targeted elimination diets. Now that my new diet has eliminated most aches in my hand, I won’t change it.

Mainstream medical researchers are finally starting to recognize diet’s impact on arthritis. They’ve discovered the anti-inflammatory effects of fish oil, which may help reduce arthritic inflammation. Alternative medicine practitioners also recommend strategies for lowering arthritis pain. Dr. Andrew Weil suggests:

  • Losing weight to relieve stress on arthritic leg joints
  • Consuming up to 3 grams of fish oil daily
  • Taking supplementary calcium (1,000 mg) and magnesium (500 mg) daily for women
  • Meditating
  • Supplementing with anti-inflammatory herbs like turmeric and ginger

The restricted diet I adhere to, similar to the paleo diet, isn’t for everyone. It demands constant attention to what you can and cannot eat and requires you to prepare most of your food. However, the rewards have been so valuable that I can’t envision any alternative way of eating.