Edward Leyton, MD, CCFP
Dr Leyton:I am 66 years old and when I wake up after eight hours of sleep I'm in violent pain all over my body. I'm also so stiff it's a great effort to put my socks on or my leg muscles will cramp.
Dr Leyton:I am 66 years old and when I wake up after eight hours of sleep I'm in violent pain all over my body. I'm also so stiff it's a great effort to put my socks on or my leg muscles will cramp. I go downstairs to the bathroom, wash, go upstairs and make my bed, but the pain is so intense I fail to see how I can make it through the day.
My toes feel numb all the time. There seem to be lumps in the centre of the balls of my feet that hurt when I walk. The calf muscles never stop jumping and my whole body tingles. All my body muscles remain sore all day. I must do all things very carefully and slowly.
I was also a welder all my professional life and am the only one of my compatriots to reach pension age. Can you help?
Your symptoms could have many underlying causes. For example: feeling stiff when you wake up in the morning, which improves as you move around, is common in people with rheumatoid arthritis. Having pain in the pads of your feet also indicates some kind of inflammation in your joints. However these symptoms can also be caused by deficiencies in magnesium or by osteoarthritis. With your long history of welding, you should seriously consider the possibility of being overburdened with toxic metals such as mercury, lead, cadmium or aluminum. A hair analysis will determine this.
Your symptoms can also occur as a result of poor sleeping habits, such as not having a good mattress, or simply sleeping in a tensed-up state.
You mentioned that you are a welder and must consider this a possible or additional cause for your symptoms as this profession can produce metal fumes and gases that can make you sick. Mild steel (known as red iron) and carbon steel contain manganese, which can cause Parkinson's disease. The lead in some paints can cause symptoms such as headaches, sore muscles and joints, nausea, stomach cramps, irritability, memory loss, anemia, kidney and nervous system damage. As well, when aluminum is welded ozone and nitrous oxide is produced. These fumes irritate the eyes, ears, nose, throat and lungs and can damage the lungs.
First of all, make sure you rule out the possibility of arthritis by visiting your doctor, and make sure your mattress is firm and in good condition
Place yourself on a good detoxification program. Eliminate red meats, all fried foods and irritant foods such as peppers, eggplant, tomatoes and potatoes. You should also eliminate alcohol and caffeine. Eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. (You can also use some tofu.) Drink plenty of fresh fluids and fresh squeezed juices, but avoid citrus foods and juices for the time being. You should notice your symptoms change over a period of two to four weeks. If your symptoms improve significantly then try adding back one food every three days, carefully noting which food makes your symptoms come back. This is not a complete detoxification program, but I think it will help you identify which foods are causing the problem.
During this time also take a calcium/magnesium supplement: I would suggest 800 mg per day calcium and 400 mg magnesium. The magnesium should be chelated. Take a warm daily bath using Epsom salts. Go to a good massage therapist and have a complete massage. This will help you identify which areas in the body need most attention. Acupuncture may also be helpful.
If you do turn out to have some osteoarthritis, then the above instructions will apply anyway. In addition you could then take glucosamine sulfate, 500 mg three times a day. This has been found in many research studies to be very helpful for osteoarthritis, although you must persist for at least six weeks before any significant effect may be felt from the treatment.
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