Chronic pain is a lifelong struggle for many individuals. Recurring muscular pain and nerve tension are attributed to several factors; age, health, obesity, injuries, and even heredity. However, chronic pain may not have clear underlying causes and persist for six months or more. With over 40 million adults across the U.S. dealing with persistent pain daily, only a licensed pain management specialist can get to the root causes and treat them accordingly.
Can a poor diet cause pain problems?
According to Harvard Medical School, there is a direct correlation between pain and poor diet. An unhealthy diet increases pain by increasing your waistline, with the extra weight aggravating arthritis and accelerating joint degeneration. Similarly, it can cause back pain and issues in the extremities, especially for folks living sedentary and dormant lifestyles.
Poor nutritional choices may result in excessive quantities of rich, sugary, and starchy foods in your diet. This can easily affect bone density, muscular movements, posture, and the spine. Water retention also leads to weight gain due to consuming excessive fluids and not exercising enough.
What about inflammation in the body?
Inflammation occurs, natural swelling due to a higher concentration of white blood cells. This may affect your gastrointestinal system and cause IBS with related symptoms. While common pain problems tend to dissipate once the injury or illness is resolved, chronic pain sufferers will experience persistent inflammation for months on end. This may injure healthy cells while producing pain in the muscles, joints, and tissues. It also increases your risk of heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and even cancer.
A nutritional expert can guide you back to proper health and wellness. For example, you can reduce your pain symptoms with a personalized diet, nutrition, and exercise plan. Pain management doctors can perform treatments, monitor your progress, and provide proper nutritional guidance and support.
How poor diet and pain are connected?
Certain foods can cause or aggravate chronic pain and inflammation. While most folks do not have time to micromanage everything they eat, they can keep food journals. These are essential in tracking the foods you consume and should be avoided. It is best to stay away from the following foods, especially for patients with chronic pain.
Caffeinated foods and drinks (chocolate, coffee, and carbonated beverages)
While bread and other foods high in processed carbohydrates
Red meats like steak, beef, and ham
Potatoes, eggplant, tomatoes, and avocados (guacamole)
Heavily processed foods with a lot of sugar and trans fats (cookies, donuts, chips, and margarine)
These foods can increase pain and make you feel sluggish and slow. Aspartame and sugar will raise your insulin levels and cause painful sensitivity. Tomatoes and caffeine also raise acidity levels causing inflammatory pain.
What type of healthy diet works for pain sufferers?
There are many diets out there in the health and wellness realm. However, it is best to consult your doctor before dieting. Licensed pain management practitioners understand the link between persistent pain and poor diet or lifestyle choices. Therefore, they can formulate strategic care plans for you, including pain remedies with proper nutrition and daily exercise.
Maintaining a healthy diet and active lifestyle may prevent pain from recurring. For example, consuming fresh fruits and vegetables gives your body essential vitamins and minerals. These play a pivotal role in fending off illnesses, boosting energy levels, and providing the fuel your body needs for work and daily chores. Here are some foods that can aid you in your journey to better health, wellness, and pain-free life.
A handful of nuts and legumes each day
Whole grain or wheat bread
Fish and seafood ( in moderation)
Low-fat or skim milk which is a good source of calcium (speak with your pain doctor if you are lactose intolerant)
Beans, olive oil, and low-fat dressing for salads
Low-fat cheese with low-sodium health crackers
Poultry (in moderation)
Water – consuming enough water keeps your muscles and organs well-hydrated. Eggs
Foods for managing chronic pain
While the four essential food groups are listed above, you can narrow down selections if needed. Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains increase antioxidants in the body, reducing inflammation and pain for better healing. Strengthening the natural anti-inflammatory properties in the body also promotes better health with longevity. Here are some more foods that help manage chronic pain.
Liver is an excellent source of Vitamin A and an excellent alternative to fatty meats.
Lean meats like turkey are a great source of protein, which helps expedite muscle recovery after accidents.
Peaches, apricots, mangoes, carrots, peas, cantaloupes, spinach, kale, and beet are good sources of beta-carotene.
Berries, oranges, papayas, broccoli, bell peppers, cauliflower, and Brussel sprouts are high in essential Vitamin C.
Grapefruits and watermelon feature Lycopene, a powerful antioxidant protecting the body from cell damage.
If your Vitamin E levels are low, consume almonds, sunflower seeds, hazelnuts, or peanuts. You can also enjoy green leafy vegetables as a snack or a meal.
Consider foods that have Lutein and Selenium as part of your healthy diet. These are also antioxidants that boost your immune system and may reduce certain cancers.
Other ways to avoid inflammation and chronic pain issues
A healthy diet goes a long way in lowering inflammation and combating chronic pain. However, there are other techniques that will help you achieve better health.
Regular exercise – daily exercise keeps your body active and strengthens the immune system. A combination of cardio-vascular exercise, aerobics, and weight training helps limit inflammation and converts fat into lean, healthy muscle.
Weight reduction – a healthy diet combined with regular exercise burns calories and fat. As a result, you can lose weight, taking the strain off the back and other parts of the body. Losing weight should be a priority if you are obese since fatty tissue promotes inflammation that causes pain.
Reduce stress – anxiety, and stress can also cause your weight to balloon. In addition, it can increase inflammation, which results in pain, tight muscles, and stiffness. Prolonged stress even elevates cortisol levels, damaging vital tissue and the immune system. Therefore, it is essential to decrease stress with yoga or exercise – it helps a lot.
Sufficient rest – sleep loss can result in sluggishness, confusion, and lack of mental clarity. It can even trigger inflammation, so it’s best to get enough sleep so your body can shut down and replenish its essentials for the next day.
Pain management clinic for chronic pain
NextGen Pain and Injury Clinic is a leading pain management clinic with two convenient locations in Arlington and Dallas, Texas. With years of extensive experience, our physicians specialize in treating all types of pain, including but not limited to:
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS – pain, and inflammation)
Cancer and other chronic conditions
Our physical therapy clinic features state-of-the-art equipment with the latest in rehabilitative exercises. Whether dealing with injuries from automotive collisions, workplace accidents, or sports mishaps, we have the tools and expertise to alleviate pain and restore your mobility. In addition, our proven formula of massage therapies, adjustments, and stabilization with strengthening treatments help you get your health back on track.
Get the results you deserve at NextGen
NextGen Pain and Injury Clinic features board-certified pain management experts. We offer a range of therapies designed to target and treat the root causes of recurring pain. Our doctors combine pain treatments with nutritional guidance, exercise, and stress reduction for better health and wellness.