Backpain, more than one option available

28th January 2014 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ Backpain,Healthy Living

After 30 years of back pain, Prairie Star woman finds relief in what she eats

POSTED:   01/26/2014 12:01:00 AM CST | UPDATED:   2 DAYS AGO


Madeline Bader (Photo courtesy of Nutritional Weight & Wellness)

Madeline Bader (Photo courtesy of Nutritional Weight & Wellness)


Madeline Bader spent about 30 years trying to figure out the cause of her debilitating back spasms.

Now, she believes she finally has found the answer and a cure.

“The very first time it happened, I was sleeping in a sleeping bag in the desert,” says Bader, 53, of Star Prairie, Wis. “You know how cold it gets in the desert at night? And I had no mat underneath me. The back spasm woke me up in the middle of the night. It felt like a charley horse but in my back instead of my leg.

“The spasms continued, on and off, through my younger years, but as I got older, they got worse and happened more often. The last five or six years, it was nonstop. I was taking four pain pills to get through the day, pills that had side effects like constipation and heartburn, and I wasn’t sleeping more than a couple of hours a night because standing was the only position I could tolerate.”

Desperate, Bader sought relief and answers.

“I tried physical therapy, acupuncture, cortisone shots,” Bader says. “I saw pain specialists, chiropractors, got multiple MRIs and underwent invasive tests like a discogram.”

But when a specialist recommended a spinal cord implant to combat her chronic pain, Bader reached her turning point.

“The specialist said, ‘You’ve tried everything you can, and your tolerance for pain pills is increasing, which is not a good thing,’ ” Bader says. “He recommended a spinal implant that would prevent my brain from receiving the pain signals. To me, that made no sense. All I ever wanted was someone to figure out what was wrong and fix it.”

She decided it was time for the patient to take charge.

“At my next appointment, I told the specialist that I really didn’t want to have the surgery because there were two things I hadn’t tried yet,” Bader says. “He looked baffled. I joked, ‘I haven’t been to an exorcist,’ and he laughed. And then I said, ‘And I haven’t been to a nutritionist.’ I thought he’d laugh at that, too, but he didn’t. He said, ‘You know what? It can’t hurt.’ ”

Bader made an appointment with a nutritional therapist at Nutritional Weight and Wellness, a St. Paul-based company.

“I had never considered that my back pain could be associated with what I was eating,” Bader says. “At that point, though, I thought, ‘What do I have to lose?’ ”

At her appointment in the spring of 2012, Bader got some answers.

“I found out that I have an awful lot of food sensitivities,” she says. “While a lot of people are sensitive to gluten and dairy, my sensitivities are to eggs and dairy and I can’t do any grains at all. So that was quite difficult to learn.”

She learned this right before she was headed home to eat a Mexican meal her husband was preparing.

“My husband was making nachos supreme for dinner, and I thought, ‘Now what will I do? I can’t eat sour cream, I can’t eat nachos,” Bader says.

“I didn’t tell him I couldn’t eat the meal,” she said. “I just looked at what was on the table and took a large mound of lettuce and added meat, tomato and avocado. And that was my first meal. That was my resolution.”

Soon, she noticed a change.

“Before, when I’d get up in the morning, my feet would hurt and I had a tendency to be hunched over and shuffle at first, whether I had a back spasm or not,” Bader says. “Within three days of changing my diet, I noticed that when I got up in the morning, my feet didn’t hurt and I could stand up straight.”

There were more changes to come.

“Within two months, I was off all my pain meds and my back pain was gone,” says Bader.

She was shocked.

“If you had told me the spasms were related to the food I was eating, I would have laughed and said that doesn’t make any sense,” Bader says. “Even before I went to see a nutritional therapist, I considered myself to be a healthy eater. I had given up most processed foods.

“But here’s what I learned: Although the food I was eating was healthy for many people, it was not healthy for me. Now, whenever I have a mystery pain in my body that I know is not related to an injury, I can usually trace it to something I ate.

“When people ask me what I can’t eat, I say that it’s easier to tell them what I can eat — fruits, vegetables, meat and potatoes. I love to cook, so this has been a wonderful challenge for me.”

Bader believes she knows how eliminating certain foods relieved her back pain.

“I was told by Nutritional Weight and Wellness that my body was not absorbing what it needed because my intestines were inflamed, shot from the foods I was eating that were not healthy for me.”

Bader still is learning how to live without back pain.

“I can’t even begin to tell you how miserable I was,” she says. “There are a lot of things you miss out on when you can’t move. I feel alive again.”

Share your own turning point with Molly Guthrey at mguthrey@ or 651-228-5505.