Joint and muscle pain caused by allergies

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DEAR DR. GOTT: I am 75 years old and have what I believe is muscle and joint pain caused by allergies, similar to the lady that wrote you a while back. For me it happens mostly in the fall but when the aches and pain come, I just take antihistamines until the first freeze and then all is okay. This note is only to tell you that there are more like her out there.

DEAR DR. GOTT: Sometime ago you had an article about muscle and joint pain caused by allergies. Well, I am one of those people. This has been going for many years and I have been to so many doctors and have had many tests but everyone tells me there is nothing wrong, it’s probably my imagination. I also have told all the doctors I have been to that after I take an antihistamine, I have relief. No one believes me.

DEAR READERS: These are just a few of the letters I received regarding a column regarding a seemingly unusual allergy symptom.

Most people associate seasonal allergies with red or watery eyes, a runny nose, congestion, sneezing, sore throat, and coughing. Food allergies, especially nuts and shellfish, typically bring to mind swollen lips and tongues, hives, rashes, trouble breathing, and even anaphylactic shock. Pet and insect allergies bring on thoughts of itching, rashes, hives, sneezing, and coughing.

In most instances, simple avoidance of the offending substance and the use of over-the-counter antihistamines can sufficiently control and prevent symptoms. Some may respond better to decongestants, corticosteroids, or other allergy meds. For those who experience severe, life-threatening allergic reactions, epinephrine, often given immediately with an Epi-pen, may be necessary.

When muscle and joint pain is experienced, allergies are not generally considered a cause. These symptoms are more commonly the result of arthritis, Lyme disease, certain autoimmune disorders, osteoporosis, bursitis, and more. An easy way to determine if allergies may be playing a role is to try a short course (up to a week) of antihistamines. If the pain doesn’t improve, it’s time to see the doctor to determine what the cause is.

Readers who are interested in learning more can order my Health Report “Allergies” by sending a self-addressed, stamped number 10 envelope and a $2 US check or money order to Dr. Peter Gott, PO Box 433, Lakeville, CT 06039. Be sure to mention the title or print an order form from my website,

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