Diet and Soft Tissue Texture and Quality

When I looked at the articles I have written for my office and many of the articles from elsewhere, it is easy to note that many of them are on diet and nutrition. I want to talk about one of the reasons for that here.

Very early in my practice, I had a patient that had chronic hip and low back pain. I would work her low back and outer hip area with some soft tissue techniques and she would get relief from the pain and have better flexibility. The problem was that after 3 or 4 weeks, the pain would come back. I would work on her again, and again the pain would come back. Finally, somewhat in exasperation, I suggested to her that she needed to stop eating sugar. 

I didn’t see her six months, at which time she came back, saying that the pain had completely resolved after stopping sugar. She said that the pain had recently come back. I asked her what happened, to which she replied that she started eating sugar again. I said that that was easy- stop eating sugar!

Even 25 years later, what struck me vividly was that when I went to work on her outer hip and low back, the tissue was remarkably soft and supple, with only small islands of thickness and tenderness. This was easily treated.

There are at least two connections between excess sugar intake and pain issues. When we consume excess sugar, especially when we are unable to clear it efficiently from the bloodstream because of insulin resistance, the sugar molecule bind to different tissues in the body, making them “sticky.” This process is called glycation. A test is commonly done in people with diabetes or pre-diabetes called hemoglobin A1C. This is a measure of the glycation of hemoglobin. Well, most any tissue in the body exposed to excess sugar can have glycation. The result is tissue which is thick, rubbery, and sticky.

The second connection is that excess sugar has an inflammatory effect in the body. Inflammation leads to pain and to chronic tissue change.

So, think about doing a sugar fast for awhile. Your taste buds will undergo a remarkable transformation where more subtle levels of sweetness are appreciated and the high sugar foods start to taste way too sweet. When you want dessert, usually, if you are paying attention, a few bites of most any sweet is enough to satisfy.