It’s True - Something as Simple as Nutrition Can Help Manage Pain!
This scenario as described by Healthline is one that all too many of us can relate to: “You may have noticed your pain climbs to a new level after eating certain meals. That’s because food can play a role in aggravating or reducing inflammation.”
Inflammation is a natural process that the body uses to protect itself and promote healing. Your body increases the production of white blood cells during the inflammation process.
However, chronic inflammation can actually damage the body. In fact, according to Harvard Health Publishing, “A lot of chronic pain is the result of chronic inflammation, and the evidence is quite strong that your diet can contribute to increased systemic inflammation."
Living with chronic inflammation can cause pain, swelling, and redness in the affected areas. It may also increase your risk of diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and stroke. Fortunately, there are several ways you can improve your nutrition while also reducing your pain and inflammation.
How are nutrition and physical therapy related?
Physical therapy, combined with good nutritional habits, can greatly reduce or even eliminate your pain and inflammation. The American Physical Therapy Association states that the connection between pain and nutrition is strong enough that nutritional screening is often recommended.
Physical therapists can provide nutritional guidance in addition to developing an exercise program that targets and reduces the pain and inflammation that you are living with. To complement your nutrition plan, your physical therapist may also recommend activities such as swimming or simple stretching to enhance your joint flexibility and range of motion.
How can I implement an anti-inflammatory diet into my life?
Foods that can cause inflammation and should be avoided or limited include the following:
- Fried Foods - Everything from fried chicken to deep-fried veggies can contribute to inflammation. Eat your veggies raw, steamed, or baked for the most health benefits.
- Soda - Soda can increase levels of uric acid. This often causes an increase in inflammation and even insulin resistance. Drinking water or tea in place of soda will not only help reduce pain and inflammation but may also help you shed a few pounds.
- Refined Carbohydrates - Refined carbs include grains that have had most of the fiber and nutrients taken out. Pasta, pastries, white bread, and white flour are all refined carbs that should be eliminated or eaten rarely.
- Red Meat - Healthy, lean protein is a crucial component when creating a diet to reduce pain and inflammation. Protein builds muscle and cartilage. Red meat, especially meats that are processed, can lead to increased inflammation. Chicken is often considered neutral, while many types of fish actually fight pain and inflammation in the body.
Anti-inflammatory foods you should consider
- Berries - Berries have an abundance of antioxidants that can eliminate inflammation. Strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries are all good choices.
- Green Tea - Green tea is rich in polyphenols and antioxidants that can reduce inflammation. It's recommended to use water that's not higher in temperature than 160 degrees since boiling water may destroy many of the antioxidants.
- Leafy Vegetables - Almost all fruits and vegetables contain what is called phytonutrients that can help fight inflammation.
- Fatty Fish - Wild-caught salmon, sardines, and mackerel are great sources of Omega-3s, which can fight inflammation. They may even limit stiffness in the joints that is sometimes associated with rheumatoid arthritis.
- Olive Oil - Olive oil is a monounsaturated fat that tastes great and can help reduce inflammation. Make sure to select an olive oil that is extra virgin in order to receive the most health benefits. Olive oil that is real extra virgin should solidify after it is refrigerated.
Discover the best nutrition plan for you
Good nutrition, along with a targeted physical therapy treatment plan, has been proven to help manage and even eliminate chronic pain by increasing muscle strength and improving joint stability.
Instead of relying on surgery or pain medication, an improved diet and a physical therapy treatment program tailored to meet your specific needs can help you live a pain-free life! Contact FYZICAL Therapy and Balance Centers of Provo, UT today for more information!