People experience pain that comes along with any physical injury or illness. However, if the injury starts to heal, the inflammation will go away, and pain will recede. Unfortunately, that is not the case with people experiencing chronic pain. Such pain conditions can cause serious damage to both the mental and physical health of the patient. But, there are certain diets that you can follow, which will help you potentially fight chronic pain conditions.
What Is Chronic Pain?
Due to any number of medical conditions, chronic pain starts and persists for a long time. It can affect any part of the body and can cause pain every time, or occasionally. As we don’t have any cure for chronic pain, we can only reduce the pain with an intake of painkillers and other anti-inflammatory foods.
How Is Chronic Pain Different From Other Pain Conditions?
Normal acute pain occurs due to a sudden physical injury to the body. It will heal with time and also with proper medications, and once the injury gets healed, the pain will usually go away. On the contrary, chronic pain can last for more than six months and can stay even after the injury has been treated. It happens when the nerves get damaged, and therefore results in long-lasting pain.
How To Diagnose Chronic Pain?
If you feel long-lasting pain in any part of your body, it might be considered chronic pain. You can visit your doctor and get diagnosed with chronic pain conditions. During the session, doctors will analyze your pain level with several questions, such as, where the pain is, what the pain intensity is on a scale of 1-10, how it affects your day-to-day life, how often it occurs, etc. And, if you are diagnosed with any chronic pain condition, doctors will suggest appropriate medications for you.
What Are The Common Symptoms And Treatments For Chronic Pain?
Here are some of the well-known symptoms of chronic pain that affect physical health.
- Headaches and migraines.
- Arthritis, or joint ache.
- Neck pain and back pain.
- Cancer related pain.
- Lasting pain in a scarred tissue.
- Muscle pain in any body part.
If you encounter any of these symptoms, it might be a cause of chronic pain. In that case, it is advisable to visit a healthcare professional.
Doctors might suggest some treatments based on the pain level experienced by the patient. Some patients get cured with regular medications and check-ups. But, others need a long-term treatment plan to achieve significant pain relief. There is no complete cure for chronic pain, and the treatments will only help to reduce the pain. Common medications for chronic pain are Acetaminophen, NSAIDs, Opioids, antidepressants, anti-seizure medicines, and COX-2 inhibitors. You can also try Acupuncture, Hypnotherapy, Mindfulness, Meditation, Aromatherapy, Music therapy, and so on.
Can An Anti-inflammatory Diet Help To Manage Chronic Pain Conditions?
Every year, one in 10 adults experiences chronic pain worldwide. Apart from regular medications and treatments, researches show that an anti-inflammatory diet can help manage chronic pain. It is a fact that what you eat will reflect in your body. And so doctors suggest eating nutritious food to get all essential vitamins and minerals. Having a proper intake of water and healthy meals will lead to a better immune system. When recovering from chronic pain conditions, doctors advise patients to follow an anti-inflammatory diet.
Best Anti-Inflammatory Food Items To Handle Chronic Pain
Following an anti-inflammatory diet has multiple health benefits, other than managing chronic pain. It helps to develop a healthy immune system, stay active, and more. Let’s look at some of the best anti-inflammatory food items below:
We all know that turmeric has antibiotic properties. This rich-colored spice is one of the best ingredients to include in your everyday diet. It helps reduce inflammation with its active ingredient called Curcumin.
How to consume it – Incorporate turmeric in your gravy, soup, salad dressing, or even homemade smoothies. Taking a higher quantity of turmeric might cause kidney stones. So, use only the necessary amount in your diet.
Garlic is another powerful natural ingredient to battle chronic pain. It contains a high amount of sulfur compounds that provide antibacterial properties. It also has anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties and helps to maintain optimum heart health.
How to consume it: Include garlic in your soup, sauce, salad, or any savory meals. However, it can cause bad breath, gas, and body odor, if consumed in excess.
- Chilli pepper
Some researchers found that eating hot chili peppers may lower and prevent inflammation. The spiciness of the chili tricks the brain cells and induces the release of endorphins. Finally, the endorphins diminish the pain sensation in the body. Chilli peppers also contain Capsaicin, a well-known ingredient having painkilling properties. It also helps balance the metabolism of the body.
How to consume it: You can cook food with hot red chili peppers. Spice up your favorite dishes with different types of chili peppers. However, if you don’t cook chili properly, it might cause indigestion.
Salmon contains Omega-3 fatty acids in high quantities. These Omega-3 acids interrupt the working of immune cells and enzymes that cause inflammation. They help to prevent the inflammation process even before it starts. Including Salmon regularly in your diet will help you to prevent Rheumatoid arthritis (RA), which causes joint swelling and pain. Salmon also contains high-protein content and anti-inflammatory properties.
How to consume it: You can bake Salmon with your favorite spices. It is delicious and healthy at the same time. Taking too much Omega-3s will lead to increased blood pressure and digestion problems.
Cherries contain high levels of Anthocyanins that work well for relieving pain. It also contains antioxidants that can reduce inflammation and pain for patients who suffer from Osteoarthritis. Cherries are also a rich source of polyphenols and vitamin C, which have anti-inflammatory properties.
How to consume it: You can make a cherry smoothie or juice. It will be a delicious mixture that regulates metabolism. But if you include an excess quantity of cherry in your diet, it will cause bloating, diarrhea, or gas.
With all these beneficial ingredients in your diet, you can possibly reduce inflammation and pain thresholds. Following such anti-inflammatory diets will also lead to a generally healthy lifestyle. However, it also requires consistency for a long time.
It is essential to know that these ingredients will only help to relieve physical pain. Chronic pain symptoms might cause harmful health effects in the future if left untreated. Hence, it is good to check with your doctor if you encounter any chronic symptoms.
PainPathways is the first, only and ultimate pain magazine. First published in spring 2008, PainPathways is the culmination of the vision of Richard L. Rauck, MD, to provide a shared resource for people living with and caring for others in pain. This quarterly resource not only provides in-depth information on current treatments, therapies and research studies but also connects people who live with pain, both personally and professionally.
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