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Food, Inflammation and Chronic Pain

Food, Inflammation and Chronic Pain

There has been a lot of talk about inflammatory foods recently. Inflammation is a result of pain or injury to the body. Inflammation is your body’s way of  providing care and protection to injured areas however, inflammation can be extremely uncomfortable,  painful and sometimes debilitating.

If you suffer from regular pain or any chronic pain conditions you may also experience heightened amounts of inflammation as your body attempts to protect itself from further damage.

Signs of inflammation:

  • Pain – the inflamed area is painful to the touch.
  • Redness –  blood rushes to capillaries in an attempt to repair damage
  • Immobility – you may have trouble moving around
  • Swelling – you expereince a build up of fuild in the damaged area
  • Heat – with more blood the temperature of the area increases

Chronic inflammation can have serious consequences including, fibrosis; which is thickening and scarring of connective tissue, or necrosis; which is death of cells or tissues. In addition, inflammation can affect your ability to sleep increasing other risks to your health. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can help reduce inflammation however, those experiencing more serious symptoms may wish to seek a personalized course of treatment by consulting a pain specialist.

 What dietary changes can I make to help prevent inflammation?

It has been determined that some foods can trigger inflammation and other reports show that an inflamed area can trigger further inflammation in other areas (talk about a catch 22!). To avoid the discomfort, and potential snowball effect inflammation can cause, prevention or elimination of this condition should be a key factor in your pain management routine.
To help you out we’ve compiled a list of inflammatory foods to avoid and a few anti-inflammatory foods which may be worth including in your diet.

Avoid these inflammatory foods:

  • Beer and Wine – Alcohol in general is reported to be inflammatory
  • Fried and Processed Foods – that means fries, cheesburgers, wings
  • Sugars and Refined Carbs – white breads, sweets/candy
  • Trans Fats
  • MSG – check your local Chinese Take Out is MSG Free!
  • Dairy – the type of protein found in dairy products has been linked to irritation of joint tissue
  • Gluten – found in breads and wheat products  can also cause all-over pain [Source: http://online.wsj.com]
  • Aspartame – said to cause headaches [Source: http://www.neurology.org]

Seek to increase these anti-inflammatory foods:

  • Lean (preferrable natural or organic) meats and protein
  • Spices such as ginger, curry, and turmeric
  • Whole grains such as brown rice and bulgur wheat
  • Omega-3 fatty acids, such as fish or fish oil supplements and walnuts.
  • Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables!

Reminder: As with any diet plan you should consult your doctor before making any major changes.

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