Updated: May 23
Here's my experience with nerve pain (and doctors).
Last year, my stomach was so inflamed and raw, that I was forced to finally to give up bread and all gluten, followed by rice, and even gluten free products. The inflammation was something that just went on for years - that I had grown so used to it. I just didn't connect the dots sooner.
As I had basically given up on doctors, someone encouraged me to go finally see one.
(Doctors don't know anything about nerve pain or nutrition - unless handing out Lyrica).
I was given several diagnosis's by different doctors. One even said I had early arthritis. No I didn't! My gut instinct disagreed with them.
In the meantime, the nerve pain was really bad. It made basic tasks just difficult. (I even had a temporary walker for around the house). Couldn't even chop food with one hand, brushing hair was difficult (hey still brushed it or I'd look a mess lol). Bad, really bad!
Spoke to a nutritionist, which lead to stripping right back to basic soups, smoothies and not much else. (Meat, fish, chicken and vegetables). (No sugar, quit dairy for a while, no fruit, no gluten or any grains). Almost a GAPS diet.
Prior to all this, I had been suffering chronic fatigue for 23 years.
I noticed when I gave up gluten, that my energy levels were slowly coming back. In a few months, I was able to do things that I hadn't been able to do for a very long time. Also the nerve pain was diminishing and I was getting back to normal. With chronic fatigue, it feels as if you have a flu for years. Not fun at all.
Giving up grains was far more simple than I thought. I felt like the way I was eating was making cravings subside, I no longer felt so 'famished' when I was hungry (but could handle hunger with ease). There seemed to be great benefits - particularly sleeping better - another darn thing many of us struggle with (insomnia).
Slowly I reintroduced foods, and even kept having dairy (I just couldn't give up dairy, didn't really want to either).
Then bang .... my stomach was beginning to feel sore again and the nerve pain came back (to the point I was in bed for a month). Before this, the body had been signalling for me to pay attention - but I didn't. I couldn't even sneeze or cough properly as there seemed such an injury in my stomach (I would hold my nose as sneezing became so painful. Coughing - I'd reach for water so I prevented coughing). It was like a real injury to the stomach. Also the bloating seemed a permanent fixture, that I just thought it was a part of life. But the bloating was a MAJOR body signal to pay attention to it. As I healed even though I was having dairy last year, I thought that dairy really wasn't a problem - so it was really confusing.
I reflected back to last year and how my body healed - so even though I was out of action, I had to just remain 'brave' - as it wasn't anyone else's journey, but mine. No one could help me but I had to figure this out. I did pray as I had no idea what was going on.
I had a situation one morning around 3am where the pain woke me up - as something else was going on (intense pain). It went on for 20 minutes, then subsided.
I then had to go back to the doctors, mostly to get scans and MRI's. An MRI showed up something else that I didn't know about, but is very common for women in their early 50s - which can be dealt with.
What an experience having to go to doctors, specialists etc. I hate it at the best of times, but you do need to investigate and try to work with them to pinpoint what's wrong.
You'll no doubt relate to this one...... the original doctor who requested the MRI's and letters for referring specialists - had nothing to say except 'there's a condition where it's all in the mind'. Shocked, I said 'Are you serious? So you're saying I'm making this up? She literally didn't say anything further - just stared at her computer. (I should've walked out, but still paid her).
One specialist just left me with the worst feeling. Couldn't even get up from behind his desk, spoke AT me (didn't greet me or acknowledge me walking in). Cold dark eyes, wouldn't even listen to anything I was 'trying' to communicate'. He offered an operation but I thought at the time 'I can't trust you with my body'. Answers the phone, no 'excuse me 1 minute'. Stays on his chair while I walk out. ($400 later).
One of the best things I was forced to do - was to finally 'tune in'. This replaces the desire for a 'quick fix'. I had interesting experiences where when I was no longer consuming something that my body was NOT tolerating, the body actually gave signals of 'relief'. When I gave up dairy, I felt 'relief'. When I gave up gluten and sugar, I slept better. I had to tune into the signals to figure out what to eat, and what I had to keep away from. It works!
The human body is designed by a genius, and it is a walking miracle. I feel empowered now, and will know to tune in when something is not right - rather than ignoring it. We're all so busy after all and don't have much time to bother. But it will catch up on us later.
Back to bone broths, vegetables, soups, smoothies and not much more. (Anything crunchy had to go, and dairy as well).
Slowly but surely, my nerve pain is now healing. I'm able to sneeze and cough now! I'm able to put both feet on the ground (one foot was too sore to fully lean on) (nerve pain switches around the body, making no sense). Everyday there's increments of healing going on.
The nerve pain I've had - does seem related to my stomach problems.
I just never made the connection before with dairy (but yet to find out if it's just lactose intolerance, or dairy altogether). Lactose intolerance is very common (around 65% of people cannot tolerate it - tho many who are consuming dairy - wouldn't know this).
A diet that heals you, requires intense focus, good organising as you prepare all your own food (eating out is no big deal to me anymore). Organic produce, broths, loads of vegetables. Then slowly reintroducing foods and learning what I can tolerate.
While it's a discipline, the payoff is better sleep, and restored energy levels and hopefully soon - back to normal.