July 2, 2021
If you live with chronic pain, your pain physician may recommend one or more treatment options for relief, depending on your individual pain condition. Those options may include exercise/physical therapy, activity restrictions, minimally invasive procedures or pain medication, or any combination of these as is called for by your specific pain diagnosis.
Regardless of which treatment regimen is recommended for your situation, one common lifestyle habit will always be advised by your pain physician… eating a healthy diet.
The relationship between food and chronic pain has been proven many times over. Substantial pain relief can often be found by simply eating the right foods, in the right portions, and avoiding some foods that may exacerbate your pain symptoms.
How food can help to relieve chronic pain
One of the most common contributors to chronic pain is inflammation., which can damage the body’s cells and organs, and cause constant pain in joints, muscles and tissues.
Arthritis pain, for instance, is caused by inflammation in the joints; osteoarthritis pain by inflammation in the bone. By reducing inflammation, pain may be diminished or even eliminated, depending on the pain condition.
The good news is that there are many natural foods which can aid in reducing inflammation and easing pain over time. Your pain doctor will know best which specific diet is best for your unique condition, but here’s a general list of foods that have been known to help reduce inflammation:
- Whole grains
Examples: Whole grain bread or pasta, rye bread, oats, brown rice, barley, bulgur, quinoa
- Beans, nuts, seeds, pods
Examples: Black, white or kidney beans, chick peas, walnuts, almonds, sunflower seeds, peas, soybeans
Examples: Spinach, leafy greens, cabbage, onions, garlic, broccoli, radishes, cucumbers, green beans
- Fresh Fruits
Examples: Berries, pomegranates, cherries, strawberries, citrus
Examples: Wild salmon, sardines, herring, anchovies, mackerel
Examples: Chicken, turkey, Cornish hens, pheasant and quail
- Olive oil
A healthier alternative to use in place of butter or other cooking oils
- Herbs & spices
Examples: Garlic, ginger, cinnamon, turmeric, rosemary, cayenne pepper, black pepper
Examples: Black, white, green or herbal tea
Here are foods you’ll want to avoid when possible, as they are widely known to increase inflammation:
- Red meat
Examples: Beef, including steaks, ribs, ground beef, burgers
- Processed meat
Examples: Bacon, ham, sausage, lunch meat
- Nightshade vegetables
Examples: Potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant
- Unhealthy oils and fats
Examples: Shortening, margarine, lard, oils such as soybean, safflower, sunflower and corn oil
- Sugary foods
Examples: Pastries, cookies, cakes, donuts, brownies, muffins, pies
- High-fructose corn syrup
Examples: Candy, sweetened yogurt, salad dressing, canned fruit, carbonated drinks
- Sugary drinks
Examples: Soda, fruit juice, energy drinks, sweetened tea or coffee
- White bread
- White or instant rice, packaged stuffing
- Instant oatmeal
- Rice & corn-based cereals
- Coffee creamer
Aside from those specific foods listed above, there are some general guidelines for eating habits that help diminish chronic pain:
- Drink plenty of water, which is essential for utmost well-being regardless of your level of health.
- Avoid foods that cause blood sugar ‘spikes’, such as white bread, processed or sugary foods.
- Avoid grilled, broiled, seared or and fried foods, which are all cooked at high temperatures that brown or char and produce unhealthy compounds.
- Avoid foods high in saturated fats, (such as fatty meats, fried foods and butter). Instead, switch to whole grains and more fish, and reduce red meat intake.
- Ensure that your diet includes antioxidants, (such as strawberries, nuts or dark green leafy vegetables,) Omega-3 fatty acids, (tuna, salmon or sardines,) and Vitamin C, (citrus fruits or broccoli.)
- Maintain a healthy body weight. Not only does obesity cause added strain on damaged muscles and joints, but excess fat cells also contribute to inflammation. Eating a healthy diet will help control your body weight and further aid in pain reduction efforts for a better overall feeling of wellness.
While these are general recommendations, it is highly suggested that before beginning any specific type of diet, anyone suffering from chronic pain should first consult with a qualified pain management physician to determine the source of your pain, and which dietary recommendations are indicated for your individual situation.
We Can Help Reduce or Eliminate Your Chronic Pain
At Riverside Pain Physicians, we are committed to helping restore our patients to a more pain-free quality of life. Our qualified pain management physicians are dedicated helping you find relief from your suffering with compassionate, individualized care and state-of-the-art technologies for pain relief.
If you suffer from chronic pain, let us help. Reach out to us today at Riverside Pain Physicians by calling 904.389.1010, or clicking here to make an appointment online.
Tags: Chronic Pain, Chronic Pain Treatment, Reduce Inflammation