Back Pain and Gluten—What You Need to Know

Back Pain and Gluten

Celiac disease—and even gluten intolerance—has a variety of symptoms, some of which have nothing to do with your stomach. When your body can’t process gluten, it can have a variety of effects on the body, and since everyone’s body is different, not everyone will experience the same symptoms. Gluten intolerance means the body has an autoimmune reaction to gluten. But what do back pain and gluten have in common?

Inflammatory Response

Autoimmune responses typically involve some type of inflammation. This means your body is not able to properly process the food. So, your body will have a reaction which could mean:

  • Chronic pain. When gluten is ingested and the body is intolerant, you may develop chronic pain. That weird part of your leg that’s been hurting since springtime? Yeah, that could actually mean you have some type of food intolerance.
  • Gastrointestinal problems. Not everyone with celiac disease will experience these, but for those who do, they’re very unpleasant. Flatulence, diarrhea, constipation, and indigestion are some common ones.
  • Back pain. Sacroiliac joints have been found to be affected in people with celiac disease. These joints help to support your spine.

The inflammatory response could be either aggravating your existing back pain or could be a symptom of celiac disease. In people who didn’t experience any gastrointestinal symptoms where celiac disease was present, many times they experience some of its unconventional symptoms, such as back and muscle pain or skin rash.

Dr. Gil Kentof of Dr. Gil Center for Back, Neck, and Chronic Pain Relief knows how inflammation can affect his patients when it comes to autoimmune responses. “Recent studies indicate that low-level Inflammation is the cause for nearly all the diseases associated with the aging process, whether it’s arthritic joint pain, heart disease, or neurodegenerative conditions. Eating a diet high in omega-3 fish oils and eliminating gluten if necessary can help lower inflammation, decrease pain, and improve overall health.”

Is Back Pain a Symptom of Celiac Disease?

Back pain is not a common symptom of celiac disease or gluten intolerance; however, it is still a symptom nonetheless along with chronic pain, muscle pain, and gastrointestinal problems. Gluten intolerance can cause a range of other issues in the body as well.

When it comes to back pain, your back pain could be alleviated with a gluten-free diet. This means you’re minimizing inflammation and helping to control your chronic pain. If your back pain doesn’t go away with a gluten-free diet, you likely have something else going on.

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People who are experiencing back pain shouldn’t merely go gluten-free or even be tested for gluten-free. Visiting a doctor or chiropractor to first determine the potential cause of your back pain is important to determine the root cause of your problem, therefore you’ll be able to determine what the best treatment will be.

Know the Root Cause

Many doctors merely treat symptoms; they don’t treat the root cause of your problem. If you’re experiencing back pain, whether it’s happened all the sudden or is the result of an injury or accident, it’s important to get checked out. Your spine houses many nerves that protect and nourish your body, and can be linked to many things including your digestive health and sexual health. And, let’s not forget, your brain, which is the motherboard to everything that ever happened in your body and ever will happen.

Once you know the root cause of your back pain, you can treat it. Your treatment may or may not involve a gluten-free diet. If your pain doesn’t go away even after treatment, consider a gluten-free diet to eliminate an inflammatory response in your body and alleviate your back pain.

Talking with your doctor about how gluten relates to your back pain is important. If you’re already gluten-free, ensure that you’re not accidentally ingesting gluten that could be causing your pain. Knowing the symptoms of gluten intolerance, understanding the origin of your pain, and working with your doctor to treat it can help you feel great again!

Jenn Ryan is a freelance writer and editor who’s passionate about gluten-free, holistic health, animals, and fitness.

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