Dairy-Free = Pain-Free (for me)

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By Kathleen Mueller – Well, folks, I have been dairy-free for one week. I have not had to take even one Motrin. (After three years of eating the stuff like candy!) Bloating is pretty much gone, and I’ve lost three pounds. I no longer look four months pregnant, but I’ve still got a ways to go!  Before I go any further: may I remind you I am not a doctor, not a medical professional. I’m just a person who has been suffering in excruciating, widespread muscle pain, mental incapacitation and bone-crushing fatigue for three years, with no diagnosis and hardly anyone believing my symptoms.

Since going dairy-free, I have more energy than I’ve had since all this started in 2004. I’ve been able to walk the dogs, do housework, write, and go to work. Instead of having to pick just one activity, I can once again do them all. I can drive my car without feeling like I’m going to fall asleep. I can handle the stresses at work and at home with relative ease, instead of falling into a funk and wanting to “drop out”.

But the best part is the absence of pain. For the first time in three years, I have hardly any muscle or joint pain. There is the ever-present shoulder/neck thing, but I’ve had that for so long, I doubt it has ever had anything to do with this mysterious thing that overtook me in 2004, and for which not one doctor has provided a diagnosis. I have an occasional twinge in a knee, wrist, fingers or lower back. Sometimes it lasts an hour or so, but no longer wipes me out.

My sleep is still disordered, no matter what I do. But if I go back to sleep after lying awake in the night, I feel well-rested enough to get on with my day when I do awaken. This was something impossible when all that lactic acid was rooting around in my system.

I remember describing to a couple of different doctors that I felt as though something was literally coursing through my veins and blood. I described it as a feeling of electrical current, or some foreign substance running through my veins. It would sizzle and burn. The sizzling would root around system-wide for a while, and then land in one spot — generally my lower back right where the two FM “tender points” are located just above the hip bones in the lumbar area. But it would “land” or “settle” in other places, too. Many times the lower abdomen, so that I felt as though I had menstrual cramps. My neck and shoulders, always. My jaw, knees, wrists, ankles, feet and hands. After the sizzle-burn settled in one (or multiple) spots, it would last hours and hours. Of course, the more dairy foods I consumed (and I consumed a lot), the longer it would last. I didn’t know this at the time, but looking back it all makes perfect and absolute sense. The dairy consumption was creating an over-abundance of lactic acid, which rumbled through my system producing widespread pain, digestive disturbances, brain fog and extreme exhaustion.

The more dairy I ate, the lengthier the pain episodes became, until they were daisy-chained together into a continuous life of pain, crushing exhaustion, debilitating cognitive problems and having to live in very close proximity to a bathroom at all times.

Not one doctor ever asked me what my diet was like. Not one!! Amazing.

Once I Googled “lactic acid+fibromyalgia” I found a ton of information on this topic. It is a known fact that fibromyalgics have an impaired ability to process lactic acid as compared to
non-fibromyalgics. There’s a ton of information online about this. I just ignored it or overlooked it in the past, not really knowing what lactic acid was, or that it might be produced by consuming excessive amounts of dairy products.

Now comes the “I’m pissed off” part of the essay: Most fibromyalgics are women. As we all know, women are constantly encouraged to consume dairy products to avoid osteoporosis. All the ads on TV and magazines for yogurt and milk tout the importance of eating dairy to maintain healthy bones, ladies. Some go so far as to suggest that eating one serving of dairy per day will result in weight loss! (Don’t even get me started on those Boniva ads with Sally Field — if I told you what happened to my mother as a result of taking Actonel every week, you’d steer clear of that shit like it was poison!)

Ladies, I caution every one of you. If you suspect you have FM, or have been diagnosed with FM (or even CFS), keep a journal of what you’re eating. Are you eating a lot of dairy? What happens to you after you eat dairy products? Do you feel listless and in pain within the next couple of hours? Do you get gas and bloating? If you do, then consumption of dairy products could be contributing to or exacerbating your fibromyalgia. (Footnote: the same could be true of wheat products — don’t think that only pet foods have wheat gluten — just about every processed food we Americans eat is made with wheat gluten or milk! Do your homework!)

Let us not forget that FM and CFS symptoms exacerbate after exertion. For me, this happens after both physical and/or mental (emotional) exertion of any kind. The slightest exertion, and I am down for the count. Lactic acid is a substance that builds up in the muscles after exertion. It is most common in athletes, say marathoners for example, who “feel the burn” in their muscles, and may feel that burn for a day or two after exercise. Sound familiar? If you have FM or CFS, you know that if you exercise you pay the price for days afterwards. But what about cutting back on dairy? Could that help? Well, it did for me. That’s all I’m saying. I don’t recommend this for everyone, but it worked FOR ME.

For me, I am swearing off dairy for good. I take calcium supplements, and I exercise (and I am able to exercise again!!), so the worry about osteoporosis is not so great as to risk feeling like crap every day of my life. I don’t recommend this to everyone. I know that I was over-consuming dairy. It was my favorite food. Too much of anything is not good for anyone. Because I have been a lacto-ovo vegetarian since 1980, my main source of protein has been CHEESE. I put cheese on everything. I ate cheese with yogurt. Heck, I even ate cheese with cheese! Milk? I was not so hot on milk, except that I did put it in my coffee every morning. I now order my Dunkin’ Donuts black, and use soy milk at home (which I’ve always done anyway — the soy milk, I mean). It’s been tricky deciding what to put on my pasta, but I love a challenge in the kitchen, and I’m pretty good at working with what I’ve got when it comes to culinary creativity. Some of my best meals were created using whatever I had on-hand at the time.

I will not say that I am cured. I have all 18 of the “tender points” consistent with fibromyalgia. It’s too bad that the day I went to a rheumatologist to be evaluated for the tender points was a “good day” and I only had four that were tender enough to count. But, she also didn’t press hard enough to blanch her fingernail (which is what they’re supposed to do), so the jury is still out on that topic. I have also started taking MSM and glucosamine. I started that about a week before swearing off dairy, so I think the combo of all of these has produced a veritable “cure”. I’ll take it, no matter how temporary it is. I feel alive again for the first time in years.

To think that I was focusing on early retirement due to illness, trying desperately to get a doctor to diagnose me so that people around me would believe me when I told them I felt sick every day. And to think it was all just because of my favorite food.

I remember when I stopped drinking diet soda, I started calling it “evil.” Well, I will not call cheese and yogurt “evil” — they’ve been treasured friends my whole life. But what I will say is that the media and health industry’s insistence that adult women consume dairy so as to protect our fragile, brittle bone health may be a crock of shit. Between that and the pet food recall and other such things, we should all BEWARE of the bullshit we are being fed (psychologically) by these outlets. Watch out for yourselves, don’t mindlessly believe everything you hear. Consumption of dairy products could be the “mysterious” cause of fibromyalgia. Oh, they say, “No one knows what causes it.” Well of course not! If it could be caused by dairy products, then the dairy industry would go sour.

Don’t be so sure they “don’t know” what causes it. I think I may have a pretty good idea.

Kathleen Mueller is vice president of an international student travel company, and a canine enthusiast who enjoys writing about her dogs and her experience with undiagnosed chronic pain and fatigue. Visit her web site at www.k2k9.com

About Author

Alisa is the founder of GoDairyFree.org, Food Editor for Allergic Living magazine, and author of the best-selling dairy-free book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living, and the new cookbook, Eat Dairy Free: Your Essential Cookbook for Everyday Meals, Snacks, and Sweets. Alisa is also a professional recipe creator and product ambassador for the natural food industry.

108 Comments

  1. I always wondered about the dairy = pain connection for me. I would have ice cream and the pain would flare up for a few hours. I’d pop an aspirin all would be good. I love my ice cream and cheese and wasn’t about to give it up. Until this past week. We went to dairy queen and I had a soft serve vanilla. That was on top of eating perhaps a little more cheese than I should have that day. I woke up in excruciating pain. I was hobbling, not walking. This time the pain took some time to go away. Aspirin plus Osteo Bi-Flex finally eased it. The pain was mostly gone the next day. I have decided to stop with the ice cream and cut back on the cheese. I also found an antibiotic and hormone free milk product. I still like my splash of milk in coffee. I’m wondering if it’s not so much the dairy, but, what they add to the milk products via the hormone injections and antibiotics. I only flare up when I add the ice cream to my day. Thanks for writing on this subject. People would look at me as if I was crazy when I mentioned that I thought the ice cream link was causing my pain

  2. I’m here because I am at my wits end. I used to be an active, happy person – the employee, friend and mom that could be counted on to do everything. Now I am a miserable, exhausted, hopeless shell of a human being. I been trying to find an answer to my unimaginable list of pain and dysfunction for three years. Every test comes back normal. Doctors think I’m crazy, my husband says im making excuses and need to sleep more and exercise – which is hysterical considering I can barely move most days. I recently began to think sugar was my poison after the holidays triggered a major relapse of my mystery illness. As of tomorrow I am going to go dairy-free – my favourite food group by far – and see how it goes. I will swear off cheese forever if I can go sliding with my three small kids without tearing up from the pain…

    • March 27.2015

      Hi.
      I writing this reply to say stick to staying off dairy .. I grew up on a dairy farm, drinking raw milk by the gallon. Did that 30 years. Now I’m 56 living in a town where I drank milk from the store. 4 years ago I started having pain , started slow & within 1 1/2 I was in dire straits . Pain to the point I couldn’t sleep in bed , just to much pain . I thought wow getting old sucks. It got so bad I ended up I went on sick leave. I couldn’t bend down to put on my socks without hurting . I started wearing sandles all the time . I couldn’t raise my arms much more then maybe half way , Doctors said I frozen shoulder and it would past .. So time went on sleeping in a recliner just so I wouldn’t move during the night. Every day I’d have my big glass of milk like I always did. And wondered how much more pain I could take .. I went on so many RX prescriptions over the next 2years .. They didn’t help. Doctors sent me to specialist to try to figure my pain out. Could be rumatisim or arthitis they would say. Possibily . Or nerve damage . They weren’t to sure. And the pain went on. I started to Goggle Causes of pain ie.. Joint pain,, shoulder pain. All the pains I had.. It would bring up a lot of scary possibilitys. Not good ..Started looking at allergies that caused pain .. One was gluten. went off that for a month.. Nothing. Then I tried milk went off dairy and within a week I could feel the change. I have being off dairy now for 4 month and feeling like I haven’t in years. Plus since giving up dairy. I’ve found a lot of other symtoms I was experiencing have gone away like::major sinus problem , shaky leg syndrome I call it. Frozen shoulder. Inner ear problem , all gone. Never would have believed milk could have cause all that but little did I know. Milk can do the body bad. For some of us. I my self believe it’s the (whey ) Anyhow that’s my story . Hope it helps some one out on the inter web.

        • Hi Alisa

          I suffer from nerve damage across the buttock after a back operation went wrong. Now I can hardly sit and in a lot of pain – on a lot of medication which I hate. I feel I have no life and no hope. I did change from cow’s milk to goat’s milk thinking that may be better for me. I’ve also just started using Kefir from a very good source, made with goat’s milk which when it goes through the fermenting process is lactose free. I can believe that if the bad bacteria in the gut is replaced by good bacteria then maybe it might help my problems. I usually only have milk with porridge in the morning. Do not have much cheese. Is kefir alright to take? What milk can I use instead of goat’s milk. I don’t use soya – as soya is one of the most heavily sprayed crops on the planet and also as I am 60 I don’t want anything mimicking oestrogen in my body.
          Please advice – did you cut any other foods out as well. I’m so glad you have all benefited from eliminating milk. Is it alright to have porridge oats?
          I’d do anything to try and reduce the pain, have a normal life without being on a lot of medication. I’d love natural remedies to work.

          Kefir is supposed to be wonderful in a multitude of ways.

          Thank you for your help and your time.
          Lyn

          • Hi Lyn, it sounds like you are consuming quite a lot of dairy. If dairy is the issue for you, then your current diet may not be helping. Goat milk or any mammal milk can be problematic for those who have dairy issues, as can kefir, cheese and yogurt. It isn’t necessarily just cow milk. There are many dairy-free kefirs and milk beverages (almond, rice, etc.) which can be used instead if your doctor recommends a dairy-free diet. I would consult a physician to address your symptoms and ask them if a dietary trial, such as strict dairy-free, is recommended.

  3. I really appreciate this article. I am going off dairy right now. I bought Soylent which has everything a body needs to the extent that I don’t even need to eat food if I don’t want to so I always have that to fall back on if I do not have the available good foods around me. It is really hard these days to find good non toxic food. I have tried everything to combat Fibro. I started feeling the lactic acid build up in my thirties but after my hysterectomy in 2011 I was sent into full blow fibro hell. I have always known that lactic acid build up is the reason for the pain but never understood why suddenly it was happening. It has to be an alergy to dairy products. I also have the digestive issues and migraines now. The hypothyroid and menopause is nothing compared to the fibro symptoms. At least those things can be managed. But I have to take pain pills every day just to be able to move and not want to kill myself. That sucks. So here I go. Wish me well. And thanks agian. Cari

  4. I am wondering if I have some sort of inherited dairy allergy or food intolerance. Starting in my late teens (I’m 37 now), I would have IBS-like symptoms. I also have generalized anxiety disorder, so I don’t know sometimes if the symptoms are caused by anxiety or a food.

    Meanwhile, my mother had an extreme aversion to dairy (especially cheese) from the time she was a child. She hated cottage cheese, and when she grew up and married a farmer, she would get sick drinking the milk from the dairy cow (but at that point could still handle store-bought milk). Eventually, dairy as a whole, including yogurt, began giving her problems. She went to the Mayo Clinic and they said nothing was causing damage to her internally, but that she obviously had an issue with dairy products. She started tacking Lactaid and was fine. In her case, the symptoms after eating dairy without Lactaid included flu-like symptoms, IBS, and extreme gas pains. Usually, it took about 48 hours for her to feel symptoms, and then it took a good 2-3 days after the reaction before she started feeling better again.

    As for me, I don’t really have a lot of pain. I have IBS-like symptoms, very little to no abdominal pain, but my muscles (particularly in my shoulder blade and upper back area) are very tight. When I have IBS-D, my whole body (including those tight muscles in my shoulders and back) spasm, as if my whole system is being affected. After one of these episodes, it takes a heating pad on my upper back and sleep to calm my system down. Also, I often have sinus congestion, but apparently no sinus infections. I usually sleep lightly and in the morning, feel like I’ve been run over by a truck. These symptoms also get worse for me a day or two before my period starts.

    My worst food offenders are: Pizza, Mexican food (which I love); mac and cheese, yogurt, and spaghetti. In fact, I recently discovered the spaghetti sauce we buy has cheese in it. As for yogurt, I’ve heard it’s supposed to be easier on people with lactose intolerance, but as soon as I eat it, my stomach starts gurgling as if I’m trying to purge it from my system. This makes me wonder if what I have is more than just lactose intolerance.

    I had a standard allergy blood test done a couple of years ago at the clinic, and the results came back negative for allergens. I also have a stool test that found nothing in terms of bacteria or infections.

    Has anyone else had symptoms like these? I’m also not ruling out gluten as a possible issue.

    • Hi Sara,

      It is the chicken or the egg with anxiety and digestive conditions, isn’t it? Along those lines, there is a misconception that lactose is the only thing in dairy which causes digestive symptoms. There are several other types of allergic reactions, such as cell-mediated, where the symptoms are primarily in the digestive tract. These types of allergies would not be detectable via a traditional IgE skin-prick or blood test, and they are becoming more and more common – with certain types being more prevalent in adults. I am not a physician, and am not advising medically or stating that you have one of these conditions, but am letting you know that it is completely possibly to have clinical reactions to dairy that are neither lactose intolerance nor an IgE allergy. Studies are growing on this topic!

    • A LOT OF THESE STORIES SOUND ALL TO FAMILIAR. I HAVE BEEN HAVING PAIN IN MY LEFT HIP CONSISTENTLY FOR ALMOST 10 YEARS. I ACTUALLY THOUGH MY HIP BONE WAS CRACKED ON SEVERAL OCCASIONS. ONE DAY I LOOKED UP FOODS THAT CAUSE INFLAMMATION. I SAW DAIRY AND GLUTEN AS BIG TIME CONTRIBUTORS SO I IMMEDIATELY KNEW IT WAS PROB DAIRY SO I ELIMINATED DAIRY FOR LIKE 4 DAYS AND ALMOST ALL OF MY PAIN DISAPPEARED. I COULD NOT BELIEVE THIS. I NOTICE THAT I HAVE PAIN WHEN I DRINK COFFEE, AND BEER. I DRINK MY COFFEE BLACK BY THE WAY WITH NO SUGER. THIS MADE ME SEE THAT IT IS NOT JUST DAIRY FOR ME. I HAD YOGURT ONE DAY AND THE PAIN WAS SO SEVERE I KNEW I WOULD NEVER HAVE YOGURT AGAIN. NOW I AM IN THE PROCESS OF TRYING TO CHANGE MY LIFESTYLE SO THAT I CAN GET MY LIFE BACK AGAIN. SO BACK TO OTHER FOODS. FOR ME THE COFFEE IS ACIDIC SO THAT COULD BE WHY IT CAUSES PAIN FOR ME. THE BEER SEEMS TO CAUSE THE LEAST PAIN FOR ME HOWEVER I STILL HAVE NOT DETERMINED IF I AM SENSITIVE TO GLUTEN. I FIND THIS WHOLE THING IRONIC CAUSE MY HUSBAND IS ALLERGIC TO MANY GLUTENS SOME ITEMS CAUSE PROBLEMS AND OTHER GLUTENS DONT. WHEN HE HAS A REACTION HE IS ON LOCKDOWN FOR AT LEAST 24 HOURS. WE DONT GIVE HIM LASAGNA ANY LONGER. THAT SEEMS TO CAUSE HIS PROBLEM THE MOST. I HAVE REALIZED THAT WE HAVE BEEN BRAINWASHED INTO EATING A CERTAIN WAY AND THAT WAY IS KILLING US SLOWLY.

      • Thank you so much for taking the time to share your story Kally – I’m sure it will help many! As frustrating as the changes may be, I’m so happy to hear that you are getting to the root of your problems and getting well!

  5. Alisa,
    I just read your paragraphs regarding dairy. I was diagnosed Friday with fibromyalgia. I had to get off wheat a couple of years ago because I would throw up and could not swallow it any longer. At the time I would never have imagined I had fibromyalgia. The only doctor who took time to really listen to me did all kinds of tests to figure out why. I was not allergic to anything. A little over two weeks ago I could not move without every joint and muscle hurting to a point of tears coming to my eyes. The pain was under my skins. I would touch the skin to see if I could feel the pain where it hurt and the pain was underneath the skin. I could not even describe the pain. My husband made me make an appointment with the doctor. I have been off dairy for little over a week and seem to feel much better. My hands have been numb off and on every day for over ten years and for the first time they are not numb. I just wish I had known sooner. I eat almond yogurt now and love it more than I did dairy. I don’t miss dairy or wheat. I do miss cinnamon rolls though but I would rather not have the joint and muscle pain. Thank you for writing a wonderful article. I don’t feel all alone now.

    • I hope your success continues Jodi. Have no fear, dairy-free cinnamon rolls are not only doable, but amazing, and yes, gluten-free is feasible, too, for those tasty baked swirls 🙂

  6. I have had this “nerve burn” pain that is sometimes numbness, painful points of my body, that flares up usually after I’ve had a stressful day at work. It gets so bad that I can’t type. I finally got my doctor to give me a referral for a neurologist about a year ago. At the same time I realized I was experiencing horrible multi hour stomach aches after eating dairy, so I stopped all together. I never went to the neurologist because I stopped having symptoms. I didn’t realize the correlation until 6 months ago. I recently started taking “Lactaid” pills so I could eat dairy again (I LOVE CHEESE and missed having it like I used to). In the last month the burning pain/numbness symptoms have increased again. I know it sounds dumb but I didn’t realize the issue until tonight. I have not received any formal medical testing, but I am going to go back to dairy free again. I’m hoping I won’t have a formal diagnosis of FM in the future, maybe if I stay dairy free it will go away? I want to thank you for sharing your experience. It is so nice knowing I am not alone with this invisible and unmeasurable issue.

  7. I have been suffering from severe lower back pain and pain in my legs since 9 years ago, This was the time I started to consume large amounts of cheese and milk so I recently about a year ago put the connection of dairy foods to my increase pain.However when ever until now I have found your website I tried to get information about can cheese course pain in lower back but all the medical advise that you get is opposite in that they claim its a lack of calcium and request us to eat more dairy products like milk and cheese.This I found makes my pain worser.I wanted to ask why does my pain start after I have walked for about 20minutes or whenever I do domestic work like mopping hoovering etc?.I am difinaltly going to try to go dairy free completely and see the difference hopefully. Also I love to drink tea what can I substitute for the milk in my tea and coffee please? Many thanks for sharing your knowledge with us.

  8. I too have suffered with FM for over ten years. I finally found a clinic here in the UK that deals with many conditions, FM being one of them. I had loads of blood test taken which revealed I had allergies to wheat, dairy, soya, rice and many many others. Within a week of cutting these foods out of my diet I felt better. It’s now been two months and I feel like the woman I once was before the onset of FM. Here in the UK doctors are all too happy to give you pain killers and any other pills they feel will help but aren’t interested at looking into the cause of such conditions. Although I don’t regret a single pound spent on finding a solution to my FM I could have saved a lot of money if I had discovered your site. Thank you for sharing, it’s nice to know we’re not alone in our fight to be heard. X

  9. It amazes me all the people that have similar symptoms to me, especially the one that seems to show up in all the comments “neck and shoulders”! I love dairy and it will be hard to stop but to be free of this pain I will. Thank you all for sharing, this made my day and hopefully my life! 🙂

  10. Thanks so much for telling your story. Like mine any dairy causes bloating gas and awful body aches lots of difficulty moving. I have notes around my houease that say,”If you are consuming dairy STOP that’s why you are in pain.” I find juicing organic greens and staying away from dairy completely make a huge difference in reducing body pain. Vitamin D helps somewhat but makes me overeat and crave dairy.

  11. Hi. I discovered in my twenties that the symptoms I was getting (incredible tiredness, bloating, itchy scaly ears, migraines and sinus infections) were down to milk consumption. This effects my whole family on my mother’s side. Having given up up milk all these problems went away. Only trouble is, it made me hypersensitive to even the tiniest bit of milk, maybe in a fruit sweet or something and the migraine would hit me like a train and totally incapacitate me for at least three days when I accidentally ingested it. I decided to go back to having a little milk and put up with the symptoms, which I kept under control by strictly regulating what I ate. That has worked for me for the past twenty five years or so. Two years ago I started getting pains in my joints and then muscles. It go so bad I could hardly walk or move my arms, back, neck and shoulders. My knuckles swelled up and were red and painful. I had every possible test done including bloods, X-Rays, MRI scans etc. but the doctors couldn’t find anything wrong. The only result was that my inflammatory markers were sky high even though arthritis was ruled out. They wanted me to try a really nasty drug which messes up your liver and kidneys. They said when that happens we will have to sort out treatment for that. At this point I asked if the milk problem could be the cause and both the GP and the rheumatologist told me it was a ridiculous idea. I gave up the milk and within three days I was so much beter that I knew it was related. Everyone who knew me was amazed. After a couple of weeks I felt that I had plateaued and was not continuing to improve so I went on an elimination diet and discovered that I also had a problem with gluten. It has taken time (five months so far) but I am almost back to full health again. I just have a little pain in my neck and shoulders to get rid of. I strongly resent the attitude of my doctors, who would have ruined my health and added me to the huge burden on the National Health Service for the rest of my (shorter) life and subjected me to years of further pain, rather than open their minds just a little. What a sad state of affairs.

  12. I’m still exploring the possible dairy connection, but I did come across this which identifies dairy as problematic for folks who are sensitive to sulfur/thiol foods:

    http://www.livingnetwork.co.za/chelationnetwork/food/high-sulfur-sulphur-food-list/

    When I had done my dairy elimination experiment previously, I”m embarrassed to admit I didn’t eliminate butter – that was a mistake. The reason I never really suspected dairy is that I’ve been able to eat a pint of ice cream without having immediate effects. However, looking back on my food diary, I do seem to spot patterns when I eat dairy (in any form, even butter) for several days in a row. Then, it goes away after several days if I go on an elimination diet. However, there’s way too many variables so I have to do a better job of isolating and doing a better experiment.

    -Mike

  13. hi, i am male 38 years old living in south india and have been suffering from muscle pain for a year now. i made the link that if i stopped taking curd it got better. but i never thought of cutting down on milk until reading your blog.

    in summer though since it is very hot in india, i did not have any pain and was enjoying my curds with every meal. the pain started again in winter and i had to stop taking curds. the pains reduced but not completely. and when i took calcium supplements the pain reduced further. thinking that the pains were primarily due to calcium deficiency, i started eating curd and the pain came back big way.

    so i think in a way all these factors are related, lack of sun, calcium deficiency and being lactose intolerant.

    thanks a lot for putting up this blog.

  14. My name is Dana, im a cheese addict lol. I am 40 and my first problem started four years ago. I ate my favorite Mexican food loaded with cheese of course and proceeded to have a8 hour gallbladder attack. months went by nothing else. slowly over the course of time they began to occur more frequently. it always hurt in my upper abdomen and radiated into my back. about a year ago I began having extreme shoulder upper back and neck pain. most of the pain seem to occur on the right side of my body. I had pain in my ribs and lower back. basically from the jaws down I felt like I was going to burst into pieces. I had a horrible sinus problems constant sinus drainage and constant headaches. I Drive a truck so I assume a lot of the pain was from beating down the interstate, then I began to have abdominal symptoms after I ingested milk products. I just have three weeks off work and didn’t consumed dairy. I was completely pain free on I went back to work. so on this weekend off I ate a lot of dairy. I even have severe pain in my tailbone. after testing this theory of various problems a few times I suspect that this is because of my problems. I had gallbladder liver and pancreas ultrasounds and no problems were detected. I believe that many doctors with this is all in a person’s head. isn’t it funny how you feel great when you avoid it but when you eat it it’s a nightmare. I have had to consume large quantities of Advil to even be able to work. I also feel unable to think clearly. I feel like there is cotton in my head that keeps thoughts from happening the way they should. so this weekend was the end of my testing. I hope you all feel better soon and I’m glad to know I’m not the only one out there

  15. I was overcome with joint stiffness for a year and a half. I stopped drinking milk and I have had an amazing recovery. I saw 3 different doctors and they had no clue what was wrong. I wish someone would have told me to consider this a dairy problem, but no one did. I figured out a cure for my problems when I cut back on milk because it was not convenient to get at.

  16. If going dairy free solves my chronic tension headaches, joint & muscle pain, I will happily buy you an amazon gift card as a small token of my appreciation!!!

    I had terrible blinding migraines (24/year) for 15 years which abruptly reduced to 2/year 4 years ago when I went on a strict elimination diet trying to determine the cause of hives/skin rash. In the last 4 years, I’ve had chronic tension headaches which is much better than migraines, but still not fun.

    The few times I got migraines in the last 4 years seems to correlate to cheese consumption. If I eat pizza for several days in a row, I get terrible back spasms.

    I’ve spent thousands of dollars on all kinds of tests and supplements. I have been driving myself crazy trying to spot patterns in my food diary data. I thought I ruled out dairy 4 years ago, along with each of the common allergens, but I’m now circling back and re-testing past assumptions.

    I do have a question:

    Is it the casein milk protein that is the culprit? My most recent bad reactions was when I was having 6oz of grass fed cream / day. Since cream is only a small % milk protein, I didn’t think that could be the cause. Since I don’t get acute or immediate obvious reactions to dairy, that’s why I didn’t think it was the cause of my problems (assuming that it is).

    What about butter?

    Wouldn’t it be great if it turned out to be something as simple as dairy?
    Let’s hope! I will report back!

    Regards and thanks for a great article,
    Mike

    • Hi Mike, I would have to do some digging on the links between butterfat and ailments (planning to look into this later in the year), but I have read of some research that speculates potential ties between butterfat and medical issues, particularly of the skin.

      Casein, or to a lesser extent whey, is most often the cause of issues since it is the primary protein, but it is by no means the only problematic part of milk for some people.

      I hope that it does work out for you! If you get the opportunity to report back, that would be fabulous. Also, I have a free Diet & Health Journal download that might help out – http://www.godairyfree.org/no-dairy-product-lists (scroll down, it is about mid-page)

  17. Kathleen, I came across this article because I am trying to determine how I have been pain free since going Vegan on Jan. 1. I have not had any pain since Jan. 3! I am amazed, and I feel terrific! Four years ago I was dx’d with fibromyalgia, possible sjogrens, and diabetes. I was constantly in pain. Every morning practically brought me to tears as I’d try to move to get out of bed to go to work. Constant pain, constant lethargy, constant discouragement. I know it has got to be the dairy that was making me so sick. Like you, I consumed it many times throughout the day–half & half in the coffee, cheese sticks for lunch, yogurt for snack , ooey gooey chesse on everything! I am missing cheese, but then I think, “after the misery it has caused you! Don’t even think about it!” Thank you so much for your article! I don’t feel “crazy” now!!

  18. Lori Hammonds on

    Hi, I am 48 and feeling like I’m 90 also. My joints and now my muscles are sore. It started to get really bad about 2 years ago. I can relate to having to pick one activity for the day because it wipes me out. I clean houses for a living and my own is a mess because after work I can barely get out of the car I’m so sore. It seems that sitting still on the car ride home makes “rigor mortis” set in. I can’t sleep at night because my back and shoulders hurt, toss and turn all night. If I go back to sleep after kids leave for school in the morning, I sleep pretty good for an hour or two. I had dairy goats and had to sell them. I was making kefir with raw goat milk. Well, my knees got so sore with the kefir that I was in my chair at 6pm like an old lady in terrible pain. The raw goat milk alone made my elbows ache in a bizarre way. I thought raw goat milk would help my problems and be better than cow milk, it was worse! Upsetting because so many people say raw goat milk solved all their dairy and arthritis issues. When I stopped drinking the kefir the knee pain went away after about a week and stopping the milk made my elbow pain go away too. So sad selling my goats, I loved them, but kind of expensive for just pets. I get bloated a lot too, didn’t make the connection until the goat milk thing, just thought it was hormones and change of life thing. Look 4 month prego too, then magically it goes away the next day, so weird. Kept searching net for “joint pain from raw goat milk” but only things came up about it helping joint pain, so thanks for this site! Checked to see if I was gluten sensitive too, cut it out for a while but nothing changed. Went off coffee for a while too, no change, bad headache for a few days withdrawal though. Going completely dairy free now, I hope it works because this is depressing and I’m not ready for “my chair” yet. Thank you, Lori

  19. Hi Alisa. I cut out dairy about two years ago, and it was on the third day, my chronic back pain of 8 years was gone. I was elated!! Since then I’ve been dairy free with a few slip ups like yesterday. I’m paying for it today from the ice cream I ate with my two sons. We shared a dessert here in Kauai, and I’m miserable. 20 minutes of pure enjoyment was not worth the ALL DAY pain I have. I’m curious if you found that it was the lactic acid or was it more the casein in the dairy? I have read that cheese has the most concentrated casein of all dairy products and it can be terrible for people with pain and inflammation issues. When I have a slice of pizza, the next day I feel like I’m 90 years old. Dairy for me is just not worth the pain any more.

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