Joint Pain Observations

One thing I’ve discovered is that my joints react negatively to any spice I try to add to my food or cooking, including those touted to be anti-inflammatory, such as turmeric and ginger. Whether a dash of black pepper, a sprinkle of cinnamon, or ground or fresh turmeric root, my joints become destined for their painful, throbbing swelling cycle. The severity and duration of the reaction seems dependent on how much of the spice has been consumed, but even the tiniest pinch will invariably send me grabbing at my knees and ankles by bedtime. Although it’s not like I’m free from baseline joint pain or flares when I don’t have any seasonings in my food, I’ve established a definitive cause and effect relationship and worsening pain when I do. I’ll happily take comfort over flavorful food, even if it means missing out on healthy, tasty spices.

I wasn’t able to see the rheumatologist yesterday because I had an unworkable stomach issue. I can’t say I’m overly disappointed because I envisioned the appointment to be futile at best, frustrating or angering at worst. With that said, even in light of the revelation about my intolerance to all spices and seasonings from a musculoskeletal standpoint, I’m still clearly in need of specialized diagnostic and troubleshooting care for my joint and muscle pain. I guess I’ll be waiting to see the new doctor in January!

The final component that has been clearly elucidated to be correlated with the pattern and presentation of my joint pain is my physical activity level. If I don’t do any kind of exercise, that evening and the next day, I’m an unoiled tin man. The daily movement seems requisite to lubricate my joints enough to amble around. If I’m too sedentary, they bind up and adhere together, making me stiff and awkward, much like that uncomfortable feeling of trying to walk to the bathroom at a rest stop on a long car trip cooped up in a confined seat. Of course, there’s a tendency to enter a negative feedback loop wherein I am sick so I must remain inactive, after which I become, consequently, stiffer and more debilitated, causing me to feel even sicker and less like moving around. The cycle perpetuates.

Right now, I’m in a major joint flare thanks to ground cinnamon. There’s no telling exactly when things will ebb back to my tolerable, though uncomfortable, baseline levels. For now, I’m riding the red line of what feels like the maximum amount of pain I can withstand; in practice, I find I’m always able continue the fight, but it’s often miserable. They say God doesn’t give you more than you can handle; if there’s truth in that, I wish he would lower his opinion of me. I pray that this subsides expediently and that the awareness of the trigger of the current flare up will help prevent another similar one in the coming days.

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