Celiac disease affects about 1 in 133 Americans, according to Mayo Clinic researchers. The digestive and autoimmune disease is thought to be caused by genetic factors and has a wide range of symptoms.
The immune systems of people with Celiac disease respond to the ingestion of gluten protein by attacking the lining of the small intestine. This causes inflammation that damages villa, the small hairs in the intestine that absorb nutrients into the body. Because it affects nutrient absorption, Celiac has many symptoms beyond the digestive tract.
Nutrients include vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, proteins and fats. The body uses all of these in various vital functions, including cell production, muscle activation, growth of bones and muscles and organ function. Since nutrients are the basic building blocks of our bodies, malnutrition can wreak havoc on a number of structures.
Symptoms of Celiac include:
Digestive problems, such as gas, bloating, diarrhea, fatty stools and constipation
Muscle, joint and bone pain
In children, failure to grow properly
Tingling in the legs
Celiac Disease And Back Pain
If you experience chronic digestive symptoms and back pain, you should be tested for Celiac disease. Continuing to eat gluten can lead to permanent intestinal damage.
Nutrient deficiency affects muscles throughout the body. The lower back will likely be a site of pain, since the lower back muscles are both load-bearing and highly mobile. Electrolytes like potassium, magnesium, sodium and calcium are needed for proper muscle functioning. A lack of these electrolytes causes interference in nerve communication between the brain and muscles. Contraction and relaxation cycles become disrupted. The muscles may twitch, spasm and cramp up. As the muscles get used less due to pain and miscommunication, muscle tone is lost. This process is accelerated by the fact that protein, the building blocks of muscles, is not being absorbed properly. This means that muscle wasting can’t be counteracted by muscle repair.
Celiac disease can also cause osteoporosis and osteomalacia. Both disorders involve weakness of bones, but they are different in a few ways. Osteoporosis is a generally non-reversible thinning of bones caused by the body’s inability to manufacture more bone tissue. Calcium and phosphate deficiencies greatly increase risk of osteoporosis. Osteomalacia is a softening of the bones caused by vitamin D deficiency and, unlike osteoporosis, can be recovered from through vitamin D supplementation. Both disorders can cause bone fracture and pain, but osteomalacia also has neuromuscular pain symptoms. Osteoporosis can cause loss of height and postural dysfunction, which can exacerbate back pain.
Treating Celiac Disease
The first step to Celiac treatment is the permanent elimination of gluten from your diet. As long as gluten is present in your digestive tract, your body will continue to damage itself. See http://www.aboutgrain.com/gluten-free-foods/ for foods you can and can’t eat.
Celiac is usually detected before intestinal damage is beyond repair. You may begin to feel better a few days into your gluten-free diet, but it can take 6 months or more for your intestines to heal. It is generally considered a good idea for people recovering from Celiac damage to supplement nutrients in order to reverse the effects of malnutrition. Supplementation should be done under the guidance of a nutritionist or physician to ensure you’re getting the proper amounts of nutrients your body needs.
Back pain is one of the many possible symptoms of Celiac disease. If you suspect you have this condition, seek diagnosis and treatment early on.