Millions of Americans suffer from some form of chronic pain. Whether it is the result of an injury or accident, or caused by a medical condition like arthritis or fibromyalgia, chronic pain can be incredibly debilitating, leaving many people unable to perform even the simplest of tasks.
Although many sufferers have come to accept their condition and turn to prescription pain medication to treat their symptoms, there are many natural ways to address pain at its source, one of which is changing your diet. Certain foods contain chemicals that trigger the release of neurotransmitters responsible for heightening pain sensitivity;avoiding them in your daily diet will immediatelylead to a noticeable reduction in your chronic pain.
If you are one of the millions of Americans who wake up each day in pain, take special note of the following foods, and try to decrease the intake or eliminate them altogether from your diet.
If you suffer from chronic pain, you may want to consider reducing your daily intake of caffeine. Lack of sleep can lead to an imbalance of brain chemicals, which has been linked to fibromyalgia, a chronic disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain and tenderness in localized areas. Drinking too much coffee, or too late in the day, can have an adverse effect on your natural sleep schedule, in turn increasing your risk of chronic pain.
Gluten has gotten a bad reputation as of late, and although it may not be as terrible as it’s made out to be, it can be problematic for people suffering from chronic pain. In patients diagnosed with gluten sensitivity, the body tries to digest gluten, but ends up fighting the particle as if it were a foreign substance – much like a virus or bacteria – leading to inflammation in the small intestine (and the source of pain). If you have a gluten intolerance, avoid foods that contain it in order to avoid chronic, widespread pain.
3. Meats High in Saturated Fat
A diet comprised of meats with high levels of saturated fat is believed to put people at a greater risk of chronic pain. The worst culprits include bacon, prime rib, and red meat which, due to their high-fat content and corrosive free radicals from iron,promote pain-causing inflammation. By reducing your meat intake on a daily basis, you will not only see a reduction in inflammation and pain, but will also improve your overall heart health.
Dairy products, most notably milk, contain high levels of the protein casein, which many people have a difficult processing. This causes the body to release a painful inflammatory response – a common cause of chronic pain. If you cannot imagine eliminating these items from your diet, consider switching to raw dairy products from grass-fed organic sources, as they are known to be better tolerated by the digestive system.
5. Some Vegetables
I’ll be the last person to tell people to eat fewer vegetables, but if you suffer from chronic pain, there are certain choices you should avoid. Nightshade vegetables, such as tomatoes, potatoes, and eggplant, have been shown to trigger arthritis and pain conditions in some people. This family of vegetables contains cholinesterase-inhibiting glycoalkaloids, which in large quantities may result in muscle spasms, inflammation, aches, pains, and tenderness throughout the body.
A prevalent ingredient in artificial sweeteners, aspartame is part of the chemical group called excitotoxins,known to activate neurons in the brain that increase sensitivity to pain. Aspartame is found in many diet sodas, but that doesn’t mean you should switch to their regular counterparts. High sugar intake increases insulin levels in the body, which can also dramatically worsen pain symptoms.
7. Egg Yolk
Egg yolk contains high levels of arachidonic acid which, although in moderation is essential for the nutrition of the body, can be extremely harmful if over-consumed. Studies have shown that excessive intake of this fatty acid can increase inflammation in the body,leading to chronic pain. One way to limit arachidonic acid without eliminating eggs from your diet is to remove the yolk before consumption. Eating egg whites alone is a great way to reduce your intake of calories, fat, and cholesterol, while preventing inflammation and pain.
Changing your diet can play a significant role in reducing chronic pain, but it is important to remember that it is not a cure-all solution. If your pain is exceptionally severe, you may require medical attention to treat the underlying cause of your condition. Although these diet tips can help everyone relieve pain, people who suffer from chronic conditions like fibromyalgia or arthritis should take special note of what they are eating and try to limit or eliminate the aforementioned items from their diet.
About the Author:
Dr. Marc Browner is a Co-owner and practicing chiropractor at Windmill Health Center in Weston, Florida. A graduate of the University of Florida in 1991, he earned his Doctor of Chiropractic degree from Life Chiropractic in 1995. In private practice since 1998, Dr. Browner is a member of the Florida Chiropractic Society, the Florida Chiropractic Association, and he attends continuing education seminars, classes, and workshops to remain abreast of the most current treatment methods and technological advances in the field.