Today my friends I would like to discuss chronic pain and ways to help control the endless suffering. Whether your pain is from fibromyalgia, arthritis or some inflammatory injury or chronic pain issue, and other health issues, whether you realize it or not many of the foods that you eat may be making your pain worse. It can help if you know what foods to avoid and how you can change your diet to help control possibly even eliminate your pain. This certainly would be blessing if you are one of those individuals who suffer daily with chronic pain and it just might help change the quality of your life.
Although the research on diet and chronic pain is limited, according to the medical experts there are many causes contributing to chronic pain and there is growing evidence that diet it one of these factors. For this reason, many patients are turning to diet and nutritional changes to get relief from painful rheumatoid arthritis and other chronic pain problems.
Why Certain Foods Increase Pain:
According to Daniel Arkfeld, MD, a rheumatologist at the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine, certain foods may trigger the release of neurotransmitters that heighten the sensitivity of nerve cells in the spinal cord and brain that may be involved in the way patients process pain.
Chiropractor Ned McArthur, D.C. of Utah says that foods high in Omega-6 fatty acids with little or no Omega-3 fatty acids cause inflammation and therefore are another reason for pain. These foods include sugar, flour, white rice, baked goods, pasta, caffeine, processed and/or packaged foods, artificial colors, artificial sweeteners, preservatives, alcohol, hydrogenated oils, and fast foods. McAruthur says the ideal ratio for Omega-6 to Omega-3 fatty acids is 1:1, but the average American has a 30:1 ratio.
Rules to Control Pain:
1. Eat less carbohydrates: According to Kent Holtorf, MD, the founding medical director of the Fibromyalgia and Fatigue Centers, 90% of fibromyalgia patients have low adrenal function, which affects the metabolism of carbohydrates and can cause hypoglycemia. By lowering you intake of carbs this can help will help stabilize your Omega-6 to Omega-3 ratio. A good rule to follow– If you eat carbs, it is best to eat them with protein and fat.
2. Eat Organic foods: Organic means no pesticides, chemicals, preservatives, additives, or dyes have been added. Many patients have reported a substantiate improvement after changing their diets and eating fresh organic foods such as a lot of fruit and green or colored vegetables. Why is this? One reason is that Irritable bowel syndrome is a common problem in fibromyalgia and in some RA patients. Foods that irritate the bowel (that contain chemicals) trigger the brain to send a message that signals the body to produce inflammation and perpetuates pain.
3. Make sure you eat plenty of Omega-3 fatty acids & (PUFA Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids): Numerous scientific double-blind studies of Omega-3 fatty acids , have shown sufficient improvement in tender joints, duration of morning stiffness, decreased pain and inflammation, with increased functions. Fibromyalgia and arthritis patients have reported feeling better once they increased their consumption of Omega-3s. Omega-3 PUFAs are also known to protect against atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), for which people with inflammatory diseases, such as RA and lupus, are at increased risk. Good sources of omega-3 PUFAs include coldwater fish and certain nuts and seeds, such as walnuts and soybean kernels.
4. No aspartame or other artificial sweeteners: Aspartame is part of a group of chemical artificial sweetener called excitotoxins that is part found in diet sodas and many sugar-free sweets. These excitotoxins activate neurons in the brain that can increase sensitivity to pain.
5. No Preservatives such as MSG or other additives. MSG is a high-sodium flavor enhancer often added to fast food, Chinese food, and processed packaged foods. It is an excitatory neurotransmitter that has been linked to stimulating pain receptors. It is also been reported to induce severe headaches or migraines.
6. Limit use of caffeine. Caffeine is known to cause sleep problem and restlessness. If you don’t sleep well this produces fatigue which in turn causes more pain. Try cutting back, and then eliminating caffeine completely which includes coffee, some teas, and chocolate. Make sure you check labels.
7. Limit your intake of nightshade vegetables: What are they–tomatoes, potatoes, and eggplant. Some chronic pain patients including fibro and arthritis sufferers have reported an increase of symptoms after these vegetables, while others have reported feeling dramatically better after cutting them completely.
8. Avoid gluten: Celiac disease is a digestive disease that damages the small intestine and interferes with absorption of nutrients from food. People who have celiac disease cannot tolerate gluten, a protein in wheat, rye, and barley. Gluten is found mainly in foods but may also be found in everyday products such as medicines, vitamins, and lip balms. Allergy to gluten has been linked to fatigue, arthritis and fibromyalgia patients.
9. Avoid or limit your intake of dairy products. It has been reported that 70% of adult worldwide have some degree of lactose intolerance which includes fibromyalgia patients. Studies have shown after eliminating dairy products that some chronic pain patients have shown much improvement in their symptoms.
10. Increase your intake of Olive Oil: While tasting extra-virgin olive oils in Sicily, Gary Beauchamp, PhD, director of the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia, noticed a ticklish, peppery sensation in the back of his throat. It was nearly identical to the “sting” he’d felt when swallowing a liquid form of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen and aspirin, during previous sensory studies. Beauchamp detected a connection between olive oil and inflammation. Further studies revealed that a compound in the oil, called oleocanthal, prevents the production of pro-inflammatory COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes – the same way NSAIDs work.
I hope this information has been helpful to you! Try experimenting with cutting back or limiting one food at a time or even better try eliminating all the above suggested foods. It will probably take you a couple of weeks be able to determine if your pain decreases. Then try added one food at a time back and see if your pain or symptoms increases. It’s very possible that just certain of these foods are triggers to your pain and it might just be the miracle you were hoping for! I know it will take work and time but if food is causing or making your pain worse –Isn’t it worth it? Your environment and what you eat affect every aspect of your life. I know it is the holidays, but if you start now you might be able to come to some conclusions and most of all you just may end up feeling a lot better. Always try to eat organic!
Quote of the Day: Patience serves as a protection against wrongs as clothes do against cold. For if you put on more clothes as the cold increases, it will have no power to hurt you. So in like manner you must grow in patience when you meet with great wrongs, and they will then be powerless to vex your mind! – Leonardo da Vinci