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Pain Afterwards
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Hi all,

So I've had quite an intense couple of years in terms of destroying myself physically. I was a year-round swimmer, practicing 5 days a week for an hour and a half each day, and I injured my shoulder. Nine months of physical therapy concurrent with training, and no progress. So I quite swimming, and the shoulder problems only got worse. My shoulder popped almost constantly, and hurt all the time. This fall, I underwent surgery on that shoulder and was diagnosed with chronic subluxation (basically my shoulder popped in and out of socket dozens of times a day). Now I'm in physical therapy and having both shoulders treated because the other one pops constantly, much as the other did. My right shoulder's now doing the popping thing again so I have no clue what's going on there.

Long story short, I'm obviously not getting much exercise because everything hurts my shoulders. The other day, my mom brought me to the arthritis water aerobics class at the YMCA, which she said has really helped her arthritis (basically, everyone in my family has or has had arthritis. Grandmother had ankylosing spondylitis, Mom's got osteoarthritis, Dad has gout, Aunt has really bad arthritis in her knee). So I went and was being really careful of my shoulders, etc. After class, my hips started to hurt, and by the end of the day, I was having problems walking. This was yesterday, and now, even sitting here, I'm in pain. it actually feels better when I walk, but I can't walk fast and I can't spread my legs to stretch them.

I'm out of shape, to some extent, but I'm not that far out of shape. My mom is more out of shape than me, and she had absolutely no pain. I'm also only just turned 18. I haven't been glutened recently (last time was a few weeks ago though) and I don't think it's that, so I'm wondering if it's some added side effect of being gluten intolerant, or if it could be something else.

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Some of us with celiac suffer from musculoskeletal problems, such as tendonitis, ligament tears, cartilage tears, and muscle, bone, and joint pain. I was born with Rickets and connective tissue problems that plagued me throughout my childhood and adulthood, but I wasn't diagnosed with celiac until I was 47. When I was 18, my muscles, tendons, and ligaments began to give me trouble even though I was a regular runner. I suffered with terrible tendonitis in my knees and was almost completely disabled before I demanded to see a physical therapist when I was 22 (my doctors weren't convinced anything was wrong with me because I was so physically active and young). The physical therapist told me that babies born with my muscle, bone, and connective tissue problems usually begin physical therapy shortly after birth, and she showed me a little baby in the next room having her legs stretched--she was screaming in pain, but the rigidity of her muscles required this stretching. After three months of physical therapy, my knees were better...but then my hips developed tendonitis because my quadriceps had been built up but not my psoas muscles in my buttocks, so the muscles in my hips became unbalanced. After months of physical therapy on my hips, all was well....until after I had my first baby, when my shoulders needed physical therapy. I think you get the picture--our muscles and joints can be affected by gluten. It can take a while to get better, but, in the interim, you may have to do some reading on balancing muscles. In my case, it was determined that some of my muscles were inherently too weak while others were inherently too strong. Actually, some of my muscles are downright rigid so that I've experienced a number of tendon and ligament injuries. Once you figure out how to balance your muscles (which results in healthy tendons, ligaments, and joints), you'll know which movements NOT to make to upset the wagon.

Let me give you an example: There are many muscles in the shoulders, as it is a complex joint. It's possible that some of the muscles are, in fact, inherently weak while others are very strong. The stronger muscles then pull at the joint so that the weaker muscles start to grab onto the tendons and ligaments for support. Tendons and ligaments were not meant to take that type of stress, so they begin to rupture and tear and become inflamed. My femurs used to pop in and out of my hip joints during the height of the inflammation in my hips. You should examine each muscle "set" individually, and you may be able to identify the weak and overly strong muscle in each set. The idea is to strengthen the weak muscles and stretch the overly tight muscles. Usually, those muscles are as follows: The quadriceps can be weak while the hamstrings can be overly tight; the triceps can be weak while the biceps can be overly tight; and the psoas muscle, if too weak, can be pulled over the hip joint if the quadriceps become too tight. Therefore, if you strengthen your quadriceps, you MUST also strengthen your psoas muscle. It sounds as though your hamstrings, and possibly your quadriceps, are extremely tight from years of swimming--you might consider taking yoga in order to work on gaining more flexibility. Yoga can also help strengthen the weaker muscles and tends to "balance" muscles overall.

Muscles and connective tissues are very complex, so you'll really need to read up on them. Doctors seem to know practically nothing about how they work together in a healthy system, so, unless you find a truly wonderful physical therapist who understands that it is more than one muscle group that is involved with your disability (and not just a shoulder or a hip), you'll need to be your own advocate and experiment with strengthening and stretching exercises.

If you would like some pointers for stabilizing your hip joints, just send me a personal message, and I'll describe the physical therapy elements to you.

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Hi Rosetapper...I've been off the forum for a couple of weeks, so I apologize for the extended delay.

I appreciate your detailed response. I definitely believe gluten can affect joints (I'm currently in therapy for both of my shoulders, one as a preventative measure and one as rehab from surgery in September) and I appreciate all your information. If you have any specific information, I would LOVE if you could message me some, because since writing this post, my hip and back pain has gotten worse.

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FWIW, you might want to follow up with a rheumatologist if this continues. I'm very active (42) and have psoriatic arthritis....took awhile to figure out. I chalked it up to sports injuries and then when it got worse had to seek answers.

Don't go to no exercise at all - try walking at least. Activity is important for joint mobility and strength. If it hurts, avoid it. Swimming as much as you were was probably too much of the same activity. Cross trainig is important to avoid overuse of any particular joint. Swimming can be heavy shoulder use. Heat & gently stretch. You don't want to lose your range of motion.

I have been gluten-free for 10 years - my joint issues are not gluten related. Back when this all started I did have some achiness that I attributed to gluten but I eat very carefully these days. Being active is crucial, just switch it up a lot.

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My joint pain is gluten related, I think. It was quite bad before diagnosis, went away after gluten free, and comes back when glutened. I was very active with ballet and skiing and had to quit due to pain. I am now active again. I had swollen joints, such that I could no longer fit any rings on my fingers. My back was constantly out, and knees, ankles, wrists and elbows always hurt. I had trouble supporting my babies heads to nurse due to wrist pain. Since diagnosis and gluten free I was able to train and do a mini marathon and have taken a few ballet classes.

It could be gluten, or not in your case.

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Soy and nightshades cause me joint pain. So, even if it isn't gluten, maybe it is time to look at other foods that could cause issues. Low thyroid hormone can cause joint pain also.

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I am definitely keeping active...the surgery kind of laid me low for a couple of months (especially during the weeks I had to wear a gigantic brace), and I still haven't been given the okay for over-the-head movements, and I'm not strong enough to do much else with it. But my mom brought me to her water aerobics class for people with arthritis, and that seems to have "woken up" whatever it is. I have eliminated soy from my diet already, but nothing else.

I actually spoke to my physical therapist about the pain today, and he watched me move, and was immediately concerned because as I bent over, my back "caught." My body moved correctly, but the muscles within the movement weren't too happy. If I understood him correctly, my spine has essentially forgotten how to function properly and is very tight. He used the word "tone" but I'm not sure if he's referring to shape/fitness of the muscles or not. He doesn't know what's causing it, but he's willing to help me manage pain. :)

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Great posts all, especially rosetapper. I am still amazed that I can work out, go for a skate, etc and not spend the next day recuperating. This is real helpfull especially for those that need to exercise to lose weight.

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GlutenFreeAustinite,

Please send me a personal message if you're interested in knowing specific exercises. It sounds to me, from your description, that your hamstrings and quads are too tight, and your psoas muscles are too weak.

Also, in the interim, I would HIGHLY recommend that you take a combination of Omega 6's and 3's that should help with your muscle pain. A proper ratio of Omega 6's and 3's will oxygenate your cells so that your muscles will not feel so fatigued and sore. Simply mix 1/2 teaspoon of organic flaxseed oil and 3/4 teaspoon of safflower oil into a smoothie or juice twice a day. You should notice a difference immediately. You should also make sure that you take this ratio prior to doing any type of physical exercise. A number of us on this forum can attest to how much this recipe has helped with muscle pain.

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It suddenly hit me this morning when I was preparing my usual smoothie that I had completely forgotten about a possible cause of your symptoms: low zinc, manganese, and/or silicon. My connective tissue went crazy two years ago after I got glutened so that my tendons became floppy, causing pain and disability. No one could tell me what was wrong, even though I saw numerous doctors and specialists. In the end, I did my own research and discovered that I had symptoms indicative of deficiencies in these particular minerals. I began taking the chelated versions of zinc and manganese (it's important that they be in chelated form) and a product called BioSil, which contains silicon. All of my symptoms disappeared within a week.

I suspect that a deficiency in manganese just might be the culprit in your case, so you might try taking chelated Manganese to see if you feel better. If not, you might then consider trying the zinc and BioSil. BioSil has helped quite a few of us here on the Forum. It can't hurt to try....but it might continue hurting if you don't.

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