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Reducing Pain and Inflammation
with Diet

If you are in pain, you may have a reasonable idea as to why it started.  Perhaps a work or sports injury, an auto accident or too much gardening.  Maybe you are just getting older and you believe (or have been told) you are supposed to be in pain.  But what if a problem that you expected to resolve never did?  All too often the cause of pain is not obvious and treatments of many types fail or are unsatisfactory.

Now where do you turn? In a surprising number of situations, I have my patients look in their refrigerators, pantries and dinner table for the answer.

One of the most overlooked contributors to persistent pain is diet, the food you eat day after day.  In spite of a wealth of support for this concept, it is seldom considered as a cause or seriously used as a solution. 

If you have consulted other doctors for your pain and diet has not been seriously discussed as a possible contributor, I consider that a terrible oversight.  Your diet’s contribution to pain is critically important. 

Put simply, there are a number of foods that, when eaten regularly, result in a vicious cycle that promotes pain.  These foods irritate pain sensitive nerves and promote the production of several substances that increase the body’s inflammatory response.  Perhaps worse yet, these foods can interact with part of your intestinal tract in a way that results in what is called intestinal permeability, or more commonly, leaky gut, which can further promote inflammation (as well as a host of other problems).

I have mentioned inflammation a few times and will do so several times again so it is a good idea to describe what the word means.  The inflammatory process is the body’s response to injury.  Its main purpose is tissue healing and protection of your health.  For example, if your skin is scratched and bleeds, even a tiny bit, your immune system responds to fight off any unwanted bacteria from outside your body.  Part of that response is inflammation which is a cascade of molecular, cellular and biochemical processes.  This is true for injuries, large and small, as well as normal daily wear and tear.  Inflammation is designed to be a beneficial process.  Problems arise when inflammation is excessive, out of proportion to an injury or present for undiscovered or unknown reasons. 

How does this relate to food?  Your body’s inflammatory response is upset when you eat a diet that is deficient in fruits and vegetables (which are anti-inflammatory) and instead eat excess sugar and simple starches (breads, cakes, cookies, potatoes), vegetable and seed oils (soybean, corn, safflower, peanut, cottonseed), trans fats, and go overboard on saturated animal fat (particularly from sedentary, obese, industrially raised cattle, chicken and pigs).  This all too common diet generally will not cause immediate symptoms but eventually, diet-driven inflammation can lead to chronic aches, pains and many other health problems.

As I stated earlier, if you eat mostly vegetables and fruits and meat from animals that ate their natural diets, the management of chronic pain and inflammation becomes far easier.  As a bonus, people who eat in this Paleo Diet manner usually lose weight effortlessly, have better cardiovascular health, improve blood sugar readings and report greatly increased energy. 

If you're ready to eliminate or control chronic pain, schedule a consultation with me and we can talk about effective options including an anti-inflammatory diet: 562.424.4976 or spineandpaincare@gmail.com