I Lived with Chronic Pain for Years—Until I Cut This One Thing From My Diet


Four years ago, I was suffering from constant pain and paralyzing fatigue, as well as from depression, stress, and weight gain. I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia in my early forties. Until then, my doctor and I had both chalked up my exhaustion, aches, and pains to parenting active children while working part-time. But eventually, my aching muscles began to keep me up at night. I’d often go back to bed when I got the kids off to school and took naps nearly every afternoon.

Then, my husband took a new job; a different health-insurance plan meant changing doctors. My new physician used blood work to rule out other illnesses like Lyme disease, cancer, and thyroid problems. She explained that most fibromyalgia patients have a number of specific “tender points” on their bodies-places that are painful to even the gentlest touch. Some of my tender points were at the back of my head and on my shoulders, elbows, and hips. No wonder I cried “Owww!” when my husband hugged me.

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The doctor prescribed Flexeril, a muscle relaxant; Tramadol for pain; and a low dose of the antidepressant Cymbalta. The meds helped me sleep at night but I occasionally needed cortisone shots for pain in my right hip. A couple of years of monthly talk therapy helped me get my stress under control and reframe the negativity I’d fallen into in my achy and exhausted state. I felt better, but never entirely pain-free.

It wasn’t until we moved to the west coast that I realized how much my diet was contributing to my problems. My teenage daughter had asked to see a holistic practitioner because therapy and prescription drugs hadn’t relieved her of paralyzing anxiety. I was so impressed with the naturopathic physician and the way she treated my daughter that I made an appointment for myself.

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