Don’t You Just Hate it When Your Joint Pain Keeps You From Sleeping?

Don’t you just hate it when your joint pain keeps you from sleeping? Hey everybody, this is Mike Uhrlaub, and this is another episode of Power Your Life by Flex PT. Don’t you just hate it when your joint pain or inflammation is keeping you from sleeping? It’s keeping you from fixing your hair or even putting on a shirt. putting on your shirt; those simple things in life. When that joint pain keeps you from going downstairs or walking, you start altering what you do in day to day life. You must start working around this problem that you have and find out alternative ways to still get the job done.

Every time you go to reach or lift for something, that pain just reminds you that you’re not a spring chicken anymore. For me, I hate when that happens, and I hate when it limits my sleep. When I can’t get a good night’s sleep and sleep through the night, it just drives me nuts. I’ve noticed it in the last couple of years that I need to get a minimum of seven and half hours, but I shoot for eight hours every night. You can ask my wife; if I don’t get a minimum of seven and a half to eight hours, I am a bear.

I’m no fun to be around. For the most part, I’m a pretty likable guy, unless you ask my employees because they might tell you a different story. However, if I don’t get that sleep, I wake up the next day irritable and unable to focus. It’s like I get up on the wrong side of the bed. When you have any kind of joint issue, it causes that same problem. It interrupts your life and it makes you miserable. Like all of us do, you will probably start taking some medication to try and alleviate it.

Sometimes that works and sometimes it doesn’t, but you just want to find a solution and you want that problem fixed. You want to feel like you did before all that started happening. So, I want to tell you a little story. Now, many of you that have been following me for a while or may have been coming into the clinic. About 58 weeks ago, I ruptured my, my right bicep and it ruptured off the elbow. You can still see the scar from where I had it fixed last year.

When I ruptured that, I had to have surgery because the tendon got balled up. I just started having problems with that elbow now and I’m righthanded. When you surgically repair a tendon, then it had to get reattached down into the elbow and it will get casted. You’ve got to cast that arm in a position where the tendon isn’t being pulled on. That means that your elbow must be casted at about 90 degrees. I had a cast from the end of my hand all the way up to my shoulder

I was like that for six weeks now. Because I am righthanded, my left hand had to learn to do everything. From typing to fixing my hair, I had to relearn how to do it all. One of the hardest things was learning how to put my contacts in with my left hand. I started dressing myself one handed, trying to figure out how to button pants, pull zippers, etc. Even wiping is a challenge with your non-dominant hand. When I injured it, I remember that I reached out to grab my work bag, just lifting it. Then, I felt a searing pain right in the point of the elbow. I knew that I had tennis elbow and I thought I just had to push through it because there were no other options. Eventually, after I got the cast off, I got a brace, I rehabbed it, and I got all my motion and strength back in that right arm.

Finally, I became right-handed again, but I still had this pain and I had the worst tennis elbow. It was extremely sore. I was taking the Naproxen, the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication, and I was doing self-massages. I was icing it and doing all my elbow and wrist strengthening and stretching exercises. It just wasn’t getting better. I even went to see a massage therapist. She did some active release techniques, and it helped, but the pain persisted. It was keeping me up at night and it was turning me into a bear.

If I would even bump my elbow into something, it was killer. While I was sleeping, it was super tender. Even though I was righthanded, I still used that left arm for a lot of things. Because I was so frustrated, I attended a wellness conference, where we learned a lot of different nutritional changes that you can make in your diet. Even though I had already made a lot of these changes when I lost weight, I thought a few more changes couldn’t hurt.

I started following intermittent fasting, which is not only is a fantastic way for you to lose weight, it also normalizes your blood sugars. Then, I learned how to alkalize my diet. These changes weren’t that hard, it was just changing the way that I ate. I stopped eating some things that weren’t helping me. I knew I had this chronic inflammation irritation at this tendon, and I stopped doing all the other treatment because it wasn’t fixing the problem. I just focused on these dietary changes. Then, within about two and a half weeks of doing that, the pain was less.

I noticed it when I was at the clinic and I walked through the doorway again, misjudging the doorway, and my elbow bumped into the door jam. I thought that it didn’t hurt as much. I poked around at it and it also seemed less tender. The only thing I had changed was my diet. Because I made these dietary changes, that tennis elbow was gone, and the pain was gone. I was sleeping through the night, and I could reach, lift, push, and pull with the left arm without pain.

It led me to this discovery that clicked for me. I figured out that the key to healing is what you eat. If you have knee problems, back problems, etc., the inflammation levels in your body are keeping you from getting better and what you put in your mouth is the key. This has been proven because I’ve started doing this with some of my clients, and it’s amazing of what it does for them. It’s all based around raising your pH levels. When you are eating a diet that has a lot of acid forming, inflammatory type foods, like carb based, processed foods, sugary foods, and alcohol, your pH is dropping

Your body is becoming acidic. If you’re overweight, your body is acidic. So, the acid levels in your body influences the inflammation markers, which influences and changes how fast you can heal. That’s one of the other discoveries I realized is that if you do not address your nutritional needs in healing, you are going to have a very hard time getting better. This is the one key piece that you’re missing.

This is probably the thing that’s hardest for all of us to understand because we want that quick fix, right? We want a magic pill that is going to solve all our problems in an instant. However, that’s not how your body works. I’m here to tell you that if you can’t make some of those changes, you’re going to have a hard time healing and going to be in chronic pain. You’re not going to be sleeping through the night and you’re going to be crabby. You’re not going to be any fun to be around and you don’t want to be that person. So, making some of those key changes can make all the difference in the world.

I’ll just give you a little overview of what I did. I started following intermittent fasting and I made my last meal no later than 8:00 PM. Then, I did not eat again until noon. Now, that lowers and stabilizes your blood sugars, which is tremendously helpful in healing. Also, that 16-hour gap in your eating, causes a greater release of growth hormone in your body, which your body needs to stimulate the repair of collagen fibers. Collagen is the building blocks of your body, your discs, your ligaments, your tendons, and your cartilage. All those things are built up of college and it can be improved by growth hormones being released in your body, which happens when you follow that timed eating.

Then, the next thing I did is I eliminated sugar. I eliminated carbs and processed foods. I cut those things out. I also cut dairy out and I just stopped eating and drinking it. These are all acid forming foods and you want to get rid of it. Also, meat in the form of beef, chicken, and pork are some of the worst acid forming foods that you can take for your body. However, you can still have meat in smaller amounts, but focus more of seafood and fish. You can still have some of the others, but just limit the amount. Another thing that helped was I started eating a lot more vegetables.

When I would first eat at around noon, I would have salad. I would eat some tuna and that was about it. I made sure I had adequate water intake, at least two to three liters of water per day. Then, you want to avoid snacking. I didn’t snack throughout the day. I would eat a meal in the evening time, around 6:30 or 7. About 80% of my plate was vegetable and 20% was a meat. Sometimes, it was salmon, mahi mahi, or tuna. I still occasionally mix in some of the red meat, chicken, or pork, I just kept it in small amounts. Then, I would make sure that I didn’t eat anything after 8:00 PM. I made sure I supplemented good micronutrients, a good multivitamin, and focused on also getting a good joint supplement.

I maintained the cartilage health in my body and those key changes. That’s all I did, and it is so simple. Once you alkalize your diet, your pH starts to come up and your inflammatory markers start to come down. Your body can actually heal itself. So, if you want to try this, take it in small bites and do small pieces at a time. Right now, you can just drink water. Drink water, coffee, or tea, but stay away from soda. Only drink that for the next three weeks. Then you can start to avoid all the high sugary food, processed foods, and carbs.

Then, the next is avoid dairy products. Cut them all out. You don’t need to eat the yogurt because it’s full of sugar. If you’re getting yogurts for the probiotics, go out and purchase a good probiotic because there are tons of them out there. That’s going to be far better for you than just eating the yogurt. If you want to do a little bit of cheese, that’s okay, just be careful with that though and make sure you have a limit. Try and follow the 80/20 rule. 80% of your plate can be veggies and 20% should be meat. If you make those changes, in about 3 weeks, you’re going to be amazed. You can do anything for three weeks.

This will do dramatic things to help your life. Not only that, it is going to help you lower your inflammation levels and you’re going to lose some weight too. So, there’s a quote that I want to leave you with. The quote is “let food be thy medicine and let medicine be thy food.” That was a quote from Hippocrates. I think today, we’ve forgotten about that. If you’re struggling with any pain or irritation, make those changes to your diet and it will help. Just reminder, next Tuesday, we’re going to be live again at 1:00 PM. Until then, stay healthy and keep moving forward.

I am a Physical Therapist and CEO/Owner of Flex Physical Therapy.