Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Neck Pain Gone: My Expensive Diet Keeps Paying Off

As of this month, I've been wheat-free (for the most part) for a year, and as of February, low-carb for one year. I'm also approaching another important anniversary: on February 8, it will have been one year since I saw a doctor for a medical problem. Coincidence? No.

Up until mid-February last year, I saw my chiropractor for aches and pains in my neck and shoulders. A couple of weeks after my last appointment, I was well enough to skip the treatments for good.

I recently thought of seeing my chiropractor again for a minor neck injury. While lifting weights, my neck felt strained, but being stubborn, I kept on and ended up in pain. There was a knot on my spine and a dip just above it, like a vertibrae had tilted on the x axis. It was painful to look left, tilt my head or do the Indian dance move where you slide your head left and right.

Having had good results with my neck and shoulder healing on their own after I changed my diet, I decided to see if this injury would do the same. It's been two weeks, and it's nearly healed, just as I expected. The lump/dip is mostly gone, I can turn and tilt my head, and the head slide isn't nearly as painful as it was. All I used was aspirin, arnica cream, and yoga exercises. I've skipped weightlifting to give my neck the chance to rest. Had I seen my chiropractor for, say, two visits (yeah, sure!), it would have cost me $90, plus vacation time from work. (The arnica cream was around $7.) The $13 extra I'm spending at the grocery store on nutrient dense food like meat, eggs, protein powder, full-fat cheese and veg and skipping the wheat and other high-carb foods pays off once again.

If you're living on a diet of cheap calories, are you sure that's a cheap diet? If you can live on food like cereal, noodles and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches without stomach problems, cavities, aches and pains, acne, midafternoon slumps, or a gaggle of other health problems, or having to buy ever-bigger clothes, more power to you. (And if you can, what are you doing here?) Otherwise, the costs of medicines, doctor bills, sick days and bigger clothes should be considered along with your grocery budget.

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