Up until recently there was a lack of information and a great deal of misinformation regarding the role of proper nutrition for effective chronic pain management. Recent research studies by the National Fibromyalgia Association (NFA) have confirmed that diet and nutrition play a significant role in the management of pain. The NFA (2006) reports that success relies upon utilizing a multidisciplinary and multidimensional approach, incorporating lifestyle and dietary changes to achieve optimum health and well being.
The NFA also states that nutritional therapy practitioners are successfully using diet to treat and prevent illness, and restore the body to a natural healthy equilibrium. Some healthcare practitioners believe that deficiencies of minerals and vitamins could be responsible for much of the disease and weakness in the body. Examples of conditions resulting from deficiencies include fatigue, lethargy and susceptibility to colds and viruses.
There is also substantial pain management literature emphasizing the importance of nutrition and exercise in the healing process and effective chronic pain management. In fact, Dr. Margaret Caudill (2001) devotes an entire chapter of her book, Managing Your Pain before it Manages You, to nutrition in an effective chronic pain management program.
Harris H. McIlwain, M.D., and Debra Fulghum Bruce, M.S.authors of Pain-Free Arthritis: A 7-Step Program for Feeling Better Again, outline some of the foods and nutritional supplements that are helpful for chronic pain management. I’m including a brief synopsis of their work below. Their book is published by Henry Holt and Company, LLC; September 2003; ISBN# 0-8050-7325-6.
Until recently it’s been unclear whether changing your diet may influence the symptoms of a chronic illness like arthritis. Nevertheless, new research continues to pour in touting the healing benefits of certain foods. Perhaps these foods aren’t the miracle cure many hoped for, but through scientific studies we do know that certain nutrients can boost immune function and decrease inflammation in those with arthritis. Be sure to include the following suggestions in your pain-free diet to further reduce inflammation and pain.
Sip Tea: You can now add tea to your list of healing foods. In fact, some experts claim that we should add tea to the list of disease-fighting fruits and vegetables that we should eat daily. Some intriguing information was presented at the Society of Critical Care Medicine in January 2002 on how green tea may help decrease inflammation.
Serve Vegetables: There is a lot of evidence that a diet high in vegetables can help to decrease inflammation in susceptible people. I’ve had many patients, particularly those with inflammatory types of arthritis, say a modified vegetarian diet (including fish) helps to reduce symptoms. Journal studies over the past five years have shown that a vegetarian diet causes an extensive change in the profile of the fatty acids of the serum phospholipids. These changes may favor production of Prostaglandins and leukotrienes with less inflammatory activity, which is a bonus for those with inflammatory illnesses.
Feast on Fish: Studies continue to come in touting the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids, contained in fish, as helping to decrease inflammation. Some research indicates that when fish oils are added to the diet, scientists measure a very significant drop in one of the most inflammatory immune substances - -leukotriene B4, which is an important part of the process of inflammation in many types of arthritis. Researchers suspect that omega-3s may block the production of inflammatory substances linked to autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. In some trials, taking fish-oil supplements for at least twelve weeks resulted in positive improvements in symptoms with less morning stiffness and tender joints.
To learn more about identifying and overcoming road blocks to effective chronic pain management please check out my article Overcoming Obstacles for Effective Chronic Pain Management that you can download for free on our Article page.
If you’d like to receive training for helping people with chronic pain and coexisting disorders, including addiction, I’m very excited to announce we are presenting my Addiction-Free Pain Management® Certification Training in Sacramento on August 5-7, 2010. To learn more about this 3 day 20 hour training and my other upcoming trainings you can check out our Calendar page.
You can learn more about the Addiction-Free Pain Management® System at our website www.addiction-free.com. If you or a loved one is undergoing chronic pain management, especially if you’re in recovery or believe you may have a medication or other mental health problem and you want to learn more effective chronic pain management tools, please go to our Publications page and check out my books; especially the Addiction-Free Pain Management® Recovery Guide: Managing Pain and Medication in Recovery. To purchase this book please Click Here.
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