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A Real Pain in the Neck

by Judith Price(more info)

listed in arthritis, originally published in issue 80 - September 2002

Case History

Carole was profoundly distressed and depressed through pain and exhaustion from lack of sleep. She had arthritis in her neck that was constantly painful, and pain medication (NSAIDs) was not helping as well as she had hoped. She was also concerned about the long-term effects of daily use of NSAIDs on her digestive system.

When I analysed her diet, I could see that there were areas where it was not meeting the needs of her body. These in particular were low:
•    Vitamin E: an antioxidant that protects against cancer, heart disease, premature ageing and other degenerative disease;
•    B vitamins (thiamine, riboflavin, B6, folic acid): crucial for many functions, nervous system, hormonal, neurological, and to protect against heart disease, etc.;
•    Minerals – calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc: required for proper nerve function, heart beat regulation, pain control, bone integrity, etc. I was particularly concerned to see calcium and magnesium so low with Carole’s history. Zinc is also a very important mineral, and often deficient in the UK. It is needed for immune system function, tissue repair, wound healing and to assist the absorption of certain vitamins and fats. Deficiency leads to increased risk of infections. Her potassium level was in the middle of the reference range, because she was not eating enough fruit and vegetables.


She was consuming less than half the protein she needed for amino acids to repair her body tissues and for production of hormones, immune cells and so on. Her carbohydrate percentage was too high and she was selecting from a limited range of carbohydrates such as potato and wheat. I like to see more consumption of a variety of whole carbohydrates, such as millet, lentils, quinoa, corn, sweet potato, rice, buckwheat, beans and pulses.

She was eating the right amount of fats but not enough of the beneficial fats that provide omega 3 fatty acids. I advised that she eat more oily fish, seeds and vegetables and take linseed oil. Like most people she was unaware of the potential health dangers of hydrogenated and over-heated oils and that it is wise to stay away from commercial margarine and refined, ‘pure’, bottled oils.

I noted that Carole ate a lot of wheat. Wheat is a very common allergen that has the potential to cause inflammation and increase joint pain. Eating the same foods every day was increasing her risk of developing food intolerances.

Acid and Alkaline Balance

Having too many acid-forming foods can overload the body, and in an effort to maintain the correct pH level the acid is buffered with alkaline minerals. If the body is in mineral deficit, these may have to be drawn from the bones. I believe that the key is to have a variety of protein and carbohydrates and to ensure that adequate alkaline foods are in the diet. I advise avoidance of acid-forming foods such as sugar, coffee and wheat. I recommended a healthy amount (about 30%) of protein from meat, fish and vegetable sources such as beans, peas and lentils. The evidence on high protein diets causing osteoporosis is contradictory. It would seem advisable to eat proteins that we are evolved for, especially because many people’s dietary intake of protein is woefully low and the body needs a constant supply of it to replenish tissues. I propose that the best way to increase alkalinity is by eating plenty of organic vegetables and salads and some fruit each day.

Emotional Aspects

Carole was a very emotional person with a low threshold for stress. Prolonged severe stress can have a negative impact on the adrenals and consequently on calcium absorption. Carole had a very unhappy relationship with her critical mother but was caring for her in the last few years of her life. I wondered if her mother was ‘a pain in the neck’ that she had to tolerate. I felt with Carole that although diet would help her enormously, her biggest challenge would be to make behavioural changes that would lead her to become more relaxed. I recommended hypnotherapy, a wonderful and powerful therapy when administered by a suitably trained individual (see


Her main dietary objectives were to remove common allergens and to ensure adequate intake of the raw materials for bone production: amino acids, calcium, magnesium, vitamin D, essential fatty acids, vitamin C and water. I also advised her to take a range of supplements for the condition, including a good sub-colloidal multi-mineral and -vitamin, vitamin C as magnesium ascorbate, vitamin E, B complex, magnesium and calcium with vitamin D, MSM (methylsulfonylmethane), HCL and pepsin and flax oil 15mls. This can be made into salad dressings or added to food but not heated. Capsules can be used as an alternative.

I also recommended ginger tea for pain. To make this, take a piece of root ginger and liquidize. Steep in boiling water for an hour and then drain and drink the liquid. It really works. Otherwise capsaicin or DLPA (dl-phenylalanine) can be helpful.


Now, three years later, Carole looks and feels much better. She is much livelier and healthier and seems more optimistic. She has not been as disciplined on the diet as she should be to get the maximum benefit. However, she has consistently taken the supplements and her husband is also taking supplements and feels better too. The pain has not totally resolved but has lessened by about 60% and she can manage it with occasional use of drugs. She is able to do more than previously because her sleep quality is better and she is less consumed with pain. Also her mother has since passed on, so Carole has lost a source of stress and is beginning to relax.


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About Judith Price

Judith Price R Cert NC, ITEC, RIPHH (Hons) trained in Nutrition at the Raworth Centre and Guildford College. She is a registered Foresight Preconception Clinician, and a qualified hypnotherapist, believing that the body and the mind need to be in balance before healing can be fully achieved. She can be reached on Tel: 01424 436587

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