If you are experiencing joint and/or muscle pain, it may be caused by the foods that you eat. Milk products in particular can cause a wide array of health issues…up to and including this type of pain. There are two main proteins in milk: whey and casein.
However, these proteins are also in many other foods such as processed snacks and even some lunch meats. If you suspect that your pain may be caused by an intolerance to lactose then you need to consult a doctor about the issue.
Joint and muscle pain are not the only symptoms of a possible intolerance to lactose. Symptoms can actually vary depending on the makeup of the person’s body.
Alternate symptoms can include but are not limited to abdominal pain, arthritis, bloating, fatigue, eczema, irritable bowel syndrome, lethargy, headaches, rashes, nausea, sinusitis and various skin problems.
According to a website that is managed by an organization known as the British Allergy Foundation called Food Intolerance Awareness, gas, acne and asthma can all result from an intolerance to lactose.
Food intolerances differ from food allergies although sometimes the signs can be the same. A food intolerance is actually more common than an allergy to certain foods.
Food allergies trigger a response in your immune system and release histamines into your blood stream triggering a reaction.
According to the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network, milk is one of only 8 different foods that account for an astonishing 90 percent of food allergies.
That said, the prevalence of intolerance to the lactose itself is not known. Again though, the intolerance to lactose seems to be more prevalent than intolerance to the two proteins named above.
According to the National Institute of Health, there are between 30 and 50 million Americans who suffer from an intolerance to lactose.
The time frame for joint pain or muscle pain after ingesting lactose is not really nailed down. Some people seem to experience joint pain immediately while others do not experience any pain for hours or even days after ingesting lactose.
If you believe that you suffer from an intolerance to lactose then you need to get in the habit of reading food labels to ensure that you are keeping it out of your diet. Many of the non-dairy products still have the milk protein casein in them too.
There are certain factors that can raise the risk of your developing an intolerance to certain foods. These factors include but are not limited to ingesting large amounts of the specific food, consumption of processed foods, too much consumption of alcohol, exposure to chemicals that are toxic and consumption of foods that are spicy.
Tests and Diagnosis
One of the standard methods of diagnosing an intolerance to lactose is removing it from your diet. This will need to be for a number of weeks.
During this time, pay close attention to whether or not there is a lessening of your joint pain or muscle pain. Also pay attention to whether or not any of your other symptoms lessen or disappear completely.
Once you have done this, the milk products can then be gradually reintroduced so that you can see what the effects are. You will need to have a qualified physician or dietician monitor this type of elimination diet.
You may also ask your physician about a blood test. The blood tests that are administered for “true allergic reactions” are known as IgE or Immunoglobulin E tests.
There is a different blood test known as the IgG test or Immunoglobulin G test that can indicate whether or not you have food intolerances.
Be advised though that many insurance companies do not cover these types of tests and the cost can be between $100 and $400.
All in all, spending the money for a test to find out whether you have one of these issues or both can be well worth it. Joint pain is never a nice thing and it can be debilitating.
If you could cure your joint pain by simply finding out if you have an intolerance or allergy to lactose then you should definitely do it.
If money is tight, you can always go to your local health department and see one of the doctors there and ask what they would charge for the tests.
Many health departments will offer free services or services on a sliding scale to those with a fixed income. Either way, what have you got to lose…other than your pain?