Chronic pain is often difficult to manage, particularly when you have a degenerative condition like arthritis. Pain medications are best suited for short-term use. With chronic pain, your body adapts to analgesic drugs, requiring stronger formulas or larger doses. There’s sometimes a risk of drug dependency and addiction.
Yet, non-pharmaceutical solutions often can’t handle the pain management task alone. You’ll need a plan that combines a range of solutions. This can even extend to dietary considerations. Some foods are good — and bad — for pain management.
At 360 Orthopedics, we look beyond pain management plans that depend solely on pharmaceutical solutions, and that’s why we’ve put together an Eat This, Not That Pain Management Edition to help you choose foods that help reduce pain while simultaneously avoiding foods that make it worse. While you may not be able to banish pain through diet alone, it’s a tasty way to augment other pain management modalities.
It comes down to inflammation
It’s possible you’ve noticed a correlation between certain foods you eat and the intensity of the chronic pain you experience. Some things seem to ease your pain while others ramp it up. Generally, it comes down to the way those foods influence inflammation.
As part of your body’s immune system response, inflammation is important in natural healing. Unfortunately, aches, pains, heat, redness, and swelling are all part of the inflammation response. When you eat foods that promote inflammation, you’re inviting pain.
However, loading up on foods that fight inflammation can help to reduce the aches and pains you experience. Influencing inflammation is the key to pain reduction through your diet.
To reduce inflammation, eat this
Inflammation is part of any chronic pain condition. Eating these foods could help you feel better.
- Hot peppers: capsaicin is the anti-inflammation powerhouse behind these spicy nutrients
- Salmon: omega-3 fatty acids play a key role in countering inflammatory reactions
- Turmeric: also an antioxidant, curcumin is the active ingredient in this colorful spice
- Garlic: full of sulfur compounds, garlic helps reduce joint pain
- Cherries: anthocyanins work the anti-inflammatory effects of cherries, which also help to regulate metabolism
Mint, extra virgin olive oil, pumpkin seeds, and blueberries can help you ease up on inflammation too.
To ease chronic pain, don’t eat that
Go lightly on foods that promote inflammation. Some of them are mighty tasty, so you may need to think about reduction rather than elimination. Once you make the association between foods and inflammatory response, it gets easier to sidestep these foods.
- Sugar: while your body runs on glucose, excess levels of processed sugar affect virtually every system in your body while leading you away from nutritionally sound foods.
- Sodium: excess salt leads to water retention which in turn aggravates joint pain
- Processed and refined carbohydrates: without the fiber and nutrients of their natural counterparts, processed carbs promote inflammation
- Dairy: some people experience an inflammatory response to casein, a protein in milk products
- Saturated and trans fats: red and processed meats carry a range of negative health effects as well as spiking inflammation
Some people may be sensitive to vegetables of the nightshade family, including potatoes, eggplant, and peppers, resulting in inflammation.
While diet can help reduce pain, chances are you’ll need a multifaceted plan developed by pain management specialists like the team at 360 Orthopedics. Call or click to arrange your consultation with us today.