Chronic pain is a complex thing to live with, and can encompass many different kinds of pain, resulting from many different causes. Because of this, any of the many different methods of treatment that are out there will not apply to any entire group of chronic pain sufferers. It can be very much a customized treatment plan. Fortunately, there is a great deal of information out there about how our diet affects our body. From simply fueling us, to changing how our minds and bodies work, what we eat can do a lot for and against us. Here are some suggestions for making your diet work for you and your chronic pain.
How Does Diet Affect Chronic Pain?
While treatment for chronic pain ranges anywhere from various types of prescription medications to physical therapy and exercise, as well as potential surgical procedures, the simplest thing to look at is whether or not your diet is promoting inflammation. Inflammation is the cause of so much pain in general, but for chronic pain sufferers, it is the thing you most want to avoid. Many foods can cause inflammation and many can promote the reduction of it. Not only does inflammation affect our levels of pain, but it can also cause damage to our organs and cells.
What Foods Help with Chronic Pain?
Look at your current diet and you’re likely going to find some of these inflammation-reducing foods in it. Your best bet, of course, is to increase them and, if you have a limited diet like veganism, vegetarianism or celiac, you will want to supplement where possible. Some foods recommended to reduce inflammation are:
- Beans, nuts and seeds
- Whole grains
- Fresh fruits
- Fish and fowl
- Olive oil
- Herbs and spices like turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, garlic, rosemary, cayenne and black pepper
- Depending on your tolerance for caffeine, you might also consider black, white, green or herbal teas.
What Foods Should Chronic Pain Sufferers Avoid?
For the simple reason that many foods can increase inflammation, you should consider avoiding them if you suffer from chronic pain. Many of these are common in meat-heavy diets, so moving toward a more vegetarian diet could help you in the long-run anyway, as it is better for your heart and most of the rest of your body. Here are some common inflammation-causing foods:
- Red meat, like beef steak, ribs, ground beef or hamburgers
- Processed meats like lunch meat, sausage and bacon
- Unhealthy fats and oils like margarine, shortening, lard, soybean oil and sunflower oil
- High-fructose corn syrup – this is found in many candies, sweetened yogurts, drinks and salad dressings. Opting for a natural sweetener like agave or stevia is a healthier option
- White bread
- White rice and instant rice, instant oatmeal and rice and corn-based cereal
Contact the Maryland Pain & Wellness Center today if you suffer from chronic pain. Along with diet, we can provide you with the guidance you need to come up with a plan to treat and possibly prevent your chronic pain.