I am a 47 year old male, and here is my story of back and joint pain. For most of my life I was a regular exerciser and also regularly took multivitamins.
It began in my mid 20′s, when I got a nasty flu. Along with it came severe back pain, so much that for a day or two, I could hardly get out of bed. When the flu went away, so did the back pain. Weird. However, any time I got the flu after that, the back pain returned, not as bad as the first occurrence, but definitely there. As I got older, the recurring back pain would get a bit worse every time.
Fast forward to my late 30′s. The back pain started to intrude upon my life even when I didn’t have the flu. I chalked it up to old age and eased up a bit on exercise. But over the next few years, this became noticeably worse, and the back pain became a general joint pain everywhere. It gradually got worse and by my early 40′s it was debilitating. I stopped exercise entirely. Every joint hurt and I was able to crack not just my knuckles, but unexpected joints also such was wrist, elbow, shoulder, ankle, knee, etc. Standing or even sitting was painful. But I toughed it out and started taking joint pills (glucosamine, chondroitin, MSM), which definitely helped. There was a reduction of pain for a little while, and then it slowly started getting worse again. Google was my friend, as were various medical websites, but I was unable to find anything helpful.
Then I saw an episode of “Mystery Diagnosis” of a man with remarkably similar symptomology and about my age. It turns out he had hemachromatosis, where his body was unable to rid itself of iron and the iron would gradually wear down his joints. The cure for him was regular blood-letting to get rid of the excess iron. As it turns out, I have always had congenitally low levels of iron in my blood so it could not possibly be my problem.
Months went by. Then one day I was reading the list of ingredients for my multivitamins. And after the list of vitamins, here is what I saw:
- Iron 0 mg
- Magnesium 120 mg
- Zinc 15 mg
- Selenium 110 mcg
- Copper 2 mg
- Manganese 2 mg
- Chromium 120 mcg
This was a men’s formulation so there was no iron, but there were plenty of other metals at very high levels. What the hell, I would stop taking the multivitamins for a few months and see what happens. Within 3 days, there was a noticeable reduction of pain! I had not expected such an immediate effect, and every day it got better. It is now 3 years later without the vitamins and I continue to take the joint pills (twice a day instead of the recommended thrice, because who remembers to take a pill in the middle of the day). The joint pain is virtually gone, the joint cracking has mostly gone away, and I estimate I am at the same state I was in my mid to late 30′s. I still get a back ache when I get the flu, but I’ve learned to live with that. I have not yet resumed regular exercise due to other issues (adhesive capsulitis of one shoulder, then the other), but I’m ready to now.
Since then I have heard of 2 other cases, one independent and the other person following my recommendation of cessation of multivitamins. So this is not a case of unique body chemistry. If this post helps you, then make a comment, maybe an enterprising medical researcher will start a clinical trial.