Tuesday, October 14, 2008 S.Cook TN, Community Member, asks

Q: High RA Factor, pain from hip to ankle, diet coke...

I have a high RA Factor but not classic RA symptoms. I do have osteoarthritis nodes on my fingers, and recently had my big toe joint replaced. I take plaquenil and naproxin, but still experience pain in the muscle from my lower back to my foot, mostly at night. Also seem to have found a connection to drinking diet coke and flare-ups of pain. Does this sound familiar to anyone? My rheumotologist has not suggested any particular diets (says no proof food has a connection to RA. True, or not?), just that losing weight would be good for my joints.

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Answers (9)
Lene Andersen, Health Guide
10/15/08 12:46pm


I'm sorry you're having a rough time - not getting proper rest at night can make it really difficult to cope during the day.

 

RA can cause inflammation in your muscles and tendons, as well as your joints, but I have to admit that the first question that popped into my mind when I read your description was this: how is your mattress? That's not to say that there isn't something going on in your back, but a good mattress will give your support and rest instead of aggravating the problem. Memory Foam is a fairly new product and a godsend for people who have aches and pains (although it's a latex-derived product, so be careful if you have latex sensitivities). The memory foam mattresses are hideously expensive, but you can a mattress pad to put on top of your regular mattress to cushion you. It might help. Taking painkillers or muscle relaxants as you go to sleep may help, as could placing pillows or a rolled towel under your knees for support (if you sleep on your back, not too high, you don't want to affect your mobility). If you sleep on your side, placing a pillow between your knees may be effective, as well.

 

In terms of diet, the jury is still somewhat out. There's some indication that diet may impact inflammation and some evidence that certain diets in particular may be helpful. About a month ago, I answered a question about this - it's a bit lengthy, so instead of repeating myself, click here to read it. Not all doctors believe in the influence of diet or alternative medicines, but if you find that there is a connection between a specific drink or food and your inflammation levels, go with it. You are the expert on your body and coping well with a chronic disease is very connected to respecting the messages your body gives you. I learned a long time ago that there are certain things where it is important that my doctor and I agree, but in terms of my day-to-day coping mechanisms, I'll do what works for me.

 

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Faith, Community Member
12/ 8/08 6:57pm

There is no muscle that goes all the way from your lower back to your foot I was told by my physical therapist when experiencing that kind of pain-so I was told it was nerve related.  In addition to RA I've had lower back problems for many years and had pain after surgery that went all the way down my leg to me foot.

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hey, Community Member
11/ 4/09 3:20pm

With my RA, if I drink lots of diet soda, it flares up as well, but not with regular soda 9which i do not drink, but i tried it as an experiment). 

 

I strongly suspect a link to aspartame, which GS Searle, a company that Donald Rumsfeld was on the board of, was able to get aspartame approved by the FDA in the 80s in spite of the findings that it causes cancer in rats. Look it up, I would avoid aspertame at all costs. 

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hey, Community Member
11/ 4/09 3:21pm

With my RA, if I drik lots of diet soda, it flares up as well, but not with regular soda 9which i do not drink, but i tried it as an experiment). 

 

I strongly suspect a link to aspartame, which GS Searle, a company that Donald Rumsfeld was on the board of, was able to get aspartame approved by the FDA in the 80s in spite of the findings that it causes cancer in rats. Look it up, I would avoid aspertame at all costs. 

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maggie, Community Member
1/23/12 5:19pm

totally agree with the aspartine (diet soda) connection with RA pain and flare ups.

Have eliminated the diet soda for 2 months and two days ago had two diet sodas and could not believe the joint pain in hands and fingers the next two days. My arthritic pain and muscle pain are 65% better along with getting a good nite sleep.

 

 

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61 year old male, Community Member
2/26/10 9:06am

I am a 61 year old male and had been drinking an average of 4 - 12 oz cans of diet coke a day for 20 years.  I have what would probably be called mild arthritis symptoms especially with what would typically be called gout in one of my big toes, and occasionally with hands and fingers.  I have had relatively painful episodes and constant discomfort with the toe for about ten years, especially at night.  I gave up drinking diet coke about two months ago and the pain in the big toe is nearly gone and I don't remember a recent painful episode.  Occasionally there seems to be a little discomfort, but nothing like it was.  I also don't remember the last time I had discomfort with my hands or fingers either.   My diet hasn't changed other than substituting water for the diet coke.

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Gerry, Community Member
5/ 4/10 4:05pm

Hi.  I drink a lot of pepsi light, I mean a lot, and I just started to develop (since a couple of months ago) arthritis symptoms (pain in my joints in hands and elbows, specially at night).  I don't know if the diet pepsi is causing this, but I'm going to discontinue drinking it and see what happens.  Diet pepsi is only one of the possible factors, but if I get well after this experiment, I'm going to be careful with this drinks in the future.  Also, I'm going to investigate what's good for my joints (I've heard that Omega3, and try to consume that.  One is not careful with ones body and the body can only take so much.  I'm scared of this arthritis symptoms.

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C. Adams, Community Member
9/ 8/11 10:34am

I have had RA for about 10 years now.  It developed in a time of my life when I was stressed and drinking alot of diet coke to keep going.  I always wondered if there was a connection between the Diet Coke and the RA.  My RA has been controlled for some time.   Just last week I was doing some heavy outdoor work and drank a good deal of Diet Coke as that was all that was available.  Within a week I had swelling in my fingers and lots of aches.  Was it the work I did or the Diet Coke?  I don't know but I am suspicious of the Coke.

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maggie, Community Member
1/23/12 5:12pm

I to have been plagued with joint flare ups and severe muscle pain for about 10 yrs.  I have been to rhuem specialist and have been on the Plaquinal regime along with advil.  My RA  factors have been negative  but specialist believe these will become positve over time.  I love my diet pepsi and consumed 1 to 2 diet drinks per day.  Recently had quit all the  diet drinks for 6 weeks.  Fell off the wagon and for two days in a row I had the old flare ups in hand and finger joints.  I could not believe it.  I dont care what Doctors say....there is a connection.  I believe there may be other factors such as gluten but my symptoms have improved 75% now that im off diet soda.

Maggie

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maggie, Community Member
1/23/12 5:14pm

I to have been plagued with joint flare ups and severe muscle pain for about 10 yrs.  I have been to rhuem specialist and have been on the Plaquinal regime along with advil.  My RA  factors have been negative  but specialist believe these will become positve over time.  I love my diet pepsi and consumed 1 to 2 diet drinks per day.  Recently had quit all the  diet drinks for 6 weeks.  Fell off the wagon and for two days in a row I had the old flare ups in hand and finger joints.  I could not believe it.  I dont care what Doctors say....there is a connection.  I believe there may be other factors such as gluten but my symptoms have improved 75% now that im off diet soda.

Maggie

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By S.Cook TN, Community Member— Last Modified: 06/19/12, First Published: 10/14/08