Severe or constant neck pain in celiacs can represent a truly baffling symptom for persons with celiac disease. One of the major problems with celiac disease is that, when untreated, it wears away at the body and can therefore be linked to almost any symptom. A disease that is responsible for such a broad array of symptoms and secondary conditions is often labeled as the culprit of any ailment that occurs in a celiac patient. However, the fact that many celiacs suffer from neck pain doesn't necessarily correlate with the disease itself.
About Neck Pain in Celiacs
Neck pain is a fairly common symptom in adults. In fact, as a person grows older, he is more likely to suffer from chronic neck or back pain due to the general weakening of muscles and joints that is so typical of the aging process. Lifestyle and environmental factors also contribute to problems like neck pain. Many individuals lead sedentary lifestyles, particularly those who spend a great deal of time craning their neck in front of a computer screen. Such habits can lead to a permanent stiffening and straining of certain key neck and upper back muscles. In fact, the stiffening of these muscles can often be an influential factor in chronic migraines.
The body is formed from a number of complicated and interworking systems and, at first glance, it can be difficult to diagnose the link between celiac disease and neck pain. For the most part, the majority of cases involving neck pain in celiacs will involve muscle strain, a condition relatively unrelated to celiac disease. However, celiac disease has the ability to affect multiple organs and systems within the body, and certain aspects of this disease can make a celiac more susceptible to chronic muscle pain.
The Role of Electrolytes
Untreated celiac disease can wreak havoc on the digestive tract as indigestible gluten proteins trigger an immune reaction that launches a full scale attack on an individual's intestinal villi. Most people equate this digestive meltdown to severe abdominal pain and excretory symptoms such as diarrhea and constipation, but there are still other factors at play. Digestive distress, especially symptoms like diarrhea, can lead to an imbalance of the bodies electrolytes such as sodium and potassium. Electrolytes do more than just contribute to the peristalsis on involuntary intestinal muscles. These essential electrically charged particles influence muscle activity throughout the entire body. So an individual who lacks the proper amounts and ratio of such electrolytes can expect to have all sorts of symptoms that involve the muscles.
Chronic stiffening, weakening, and spastic muscle activity are amongst the most common symptoms that may affect the muscles as a result of an electrolyte imbalance. A person with an ideal nutrient balance will be able to take on more physical stress without severe consequence than an unhealthy body that is lacking in key dietary elements. Individuals with untreated celiac disease may find that jogging or any form of exercise will have deleterious consequences. Their muscles will feel extremely sore for days after an activity, despite conditioning. Or their system may not be able to cope with the exercise from the very start.
Hence, it is possible that neck pain in celiacs may be exacerbated by certain aspects of celiac disease, though in most cases the pain will be triggered by environmental and lifestyle factors.
More Severe Cases
As previously mentioned, celiac disease can trigger all sorts of secondary conditions from diabetes to lupus. When the body is weakened and left nutritionally bereft by a long-time untreated illness such as celiac sprue, it is more vulnerable to any sort of environmental or germ-related attack. Not all neck pain is muscle related. There are several lymph glands located in the neck as well as the ever-important thyroid gland. Neck pain that simply doesn't seem like a muscle strain should always be investigated by a physician right from the start.
Muscle-related neck pain can often be helped by dietary improvements, particularly with fresh raw fruit and vegetable juices that are rich in vitamins, minerals, and electrolytes. Avoid commercial electrolyte beverages as they are loaded with sugars and chemicals which can damage your electrolyte balance even further. Deep tissue massage, proper exercise and acupuncture, may also help to relieve chronic muscle stiffness and strains.