Have you ever noticed a spike in your pain levels after you consume certain foods? You’re not imagining things – the foods we consume do have an impact on our pain levels. And, seeing as March is National Nutrition Month, we thought we’d take a moment and share some insight on this topic. Read on to learn more about how a comprehensive pain management plan and a well-balanced diet go hand-in-hand.
Poor Nutrition & Pain
There are several connections that pain specialists have found between nutrition and pain. First, a lack of nutrition typically leads to obesity, which causes extra strain on joints. This will increase the pain felt in arthritis conditions as well as lower back pain and more. Another connection is related to the inflammation that develops from a diet low in antioxidants. Inflammation is a key symptom in almost any chronic pain conditions. Finally, a nutritionally balanced diet also incorporates hydration. This is important when considering chronic pain because dehydrated muscles can’t function properly.
As we mentioned earlier, a diet that reduces inflammation may be helpful in lowering chronic pain. Now we’ll get into the finer details of what that type of diet looks like. There are a few well-known diet plans that focus exclusively on anti-inflammatory foods, such as the Mediterranean Diet. However, for most patients, simply incorporating more of the following foods may be enough to notice an improvement.
- Fish (especially those rich in omega-3 fatty acids)
- Dark chocolate
Benefits of Water
Did you know that the average human body is made up of somewhere between 50% and 70% water? Even bones are approximately 30% water. This is why staying hydrated has a significant impact on chronic pain. Joint lubrication is just one of the ways water intake helps. It also acts as a shock absorber for the spinal cord as well as a delivery system for oxygen throughout the whole body.
Bedford doctors accepting new patients (as well as at our Benbrook location) recommend the average adult consume somewhere between six and eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day. The number can fluctuate depending on how much fruit and vegetables have also been consumed in the day. Tea and non-caffeinated beverages will also count towards your total amount.
The Role of Vitamins & Supplements
One more way nutrition can have an impact on chronic pain is through vitamins and supplements. Many times, the foods we consume don’t contain all the necessary vitamins and minerals that the ideal diet would contain. The following are examples of a few of the top vitamins that can have an impact on reducing pain and inflammation.
- Beta carotene
- Vitamins B1, B3, B6, B12
- Vitamin D
- Omega-3 fatty acids
Before beginning a new vitamin regimen, it’s important to speak with a member of your care team. He or she can advise you on ideal amounts and sources based upon your unique condition and goals. In some cases, he or she may even recommend partnering with a nutritionist who specializes in chronic care management.
At CPI we seek to be the healthcare provider patients choose. Our mission is to provide compassionate, innovative healthcare that exceeds our patients’ expectations. Our core values are honor, excellence, commitment and compassion. We treat patients like family, honoring their humanity. We focus on YOU the person, and not just the pain. Visit us at one of our two convenient Texas locations (Bedford and Benbrook) to experience the CPI difference.