Celiac disease is a digestive disorder that involves a person’s difficulty or inability to break down a protein called gluten. Gluten can be found in food products such as breads, pastas, cereals, or any other foods containing wheat, rye, and barley. It is classified as an autoimmune disorder, due to the fact that when a person with Celiac consumes gluten, the body responds by attacking the small intestine. This interferes with the body’s ability to absorb nutrients from food, as many of the nutrients are absorbed through villi, which line the small intestine.
Celiac disease is a complicated disease, because it affects every person differently. There are a wide range of symptoms associated with Celiac, but not every person experiences every symptom. Sometimes it appears during childhood, and other times, it doesn’t appear until adulthood, and even factors such as when the person began eating gluten and how much can come into play. Because Celiac is a digestive disorder, much of the symptoms can be digestive related, such as diarrhea, constipation, abdominal pain, or bloating. This makes it similar to other disorders such as Chrons Disease, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, and Colitis, making it difficult to diagnose. But other symptoms can be overlooked, such as rashes, pain in the joins, and back pain.
Back pain may seem like an odd symptom in conjunction with Celiac, but there are many reasons behind why back pain may be present. Some of the key nutrients that the body can fail to absorb due to Celiac are vitamin D and calcium. A lack of these nutrients causes a weakening and brittleness in the bones. This, in turn, can cause problems such as Osteoporosis or Ostomalacia. Ostomalacia is the malformation of bones due to a lack of Vitamin D and calcium, whereas Osteoporosis is the thinning of bone tissue and loss of bone density. Osteoporosis can result in shortened vertebrae, which can cause significant back pain. The bones can be at risk of breaking due to weakness and fragility, which in turn can lead to several spine and back injuries. Celiac can even cause joint pain, in which pain can also radiate to the hips and shoulders as well as the back. As abdominal pain can occur from Celiac, it’s not uncommon for that stomach and intestinal pain to also reach the lower back, causing discomfort all over that area. Rheumatoid arthritis has also been linked to Celiac, which can affect the joints of the spine, causing severe lower back pain.
The key to treating Celiac is a complete elimination of gluten from your daily diet. Typically, following this diet will halt all symptoms, heal any existing damage, and prevent further damage from occurring. Within days of starting this diet, the small intestines will begin to heal, usually becoming completely healed within just a few months. The gluten-free diet is a lifelong commitment, and returning to foods containing any gluten can result in further damage to the intestines.