Active & Injury Free: Want to help halt chronic pain? Avoid these foods

All grains, including whole wheat, can promote inflammation.

By Dr. Jeff Remsburg

It may surprise a lot of people that diet modifications are an important part of our treatment plan in eliminating pain. We all know that a healthy diet is important for prevention of many chronic diseases, but it is also very important for the treatment of pain. This is especially true in patients who have chronic pain or who have pain in many different areas of the body.

Dr. Tom Cotter and Dr. Jeff Remsburg

Pain is often driven by inflammation. When you sprain an ankle or tweak your low back, inflammation occurs. Acute inflammation is a good thing, as it stimulates healing and also serves as a warning to prevent any further injury. Eventually, this inflammation decreases, healing occurs and you should be pain free. However, in some patients, this pain never goes away and the inflammation becomes chronic. While acute inflammation is a good thing following injury, chronic inflammation is a completely different chemical process and is never beneficial.

A large amount of foods available to us today are inflammatory. When we eat these foods, our bodies become more and more inflamed. This means injuries won’t heal as fast and we’re more likely to develop chronic inflammation. Apart from a higher risk of chronic diseases, we are now also at a higher risk for chronic pain.

So what are these pro-inflammatory foods? Well, the list is long: all grain products (even whole wheat products), partially hydrogenated oils (trans fats), seed and legume oils (vegetable oils), processed foods, sugar, dairy and meat/eggs from grain fed animals. If you suffer from chronic pain, you should be definitely avoiding these foods.

Now what should you eat? There are still plenty of great food choices that are anti-inflammatory: fruits, vegetables, wild fish, grass-fed meat, eggs from grass fed animals, wild game, raw nuts and healthy fats (i.e. coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, organic butter). Also, most spices are anti-inflammatory, as is the occasional glass of red wine or stout beer! Finally, a good way to round out an anti-inflammatory diet is supplementation with a good multi-vitamin, fish oil, vitamin D and magnesium.

If conventional treatment is not working on your pain-related syndromes, be sure to give the anti-inflammatory diet a try! Even if it doesn’t completely eliminate your pain, your body will thank you!

This weekly sponsored post is written by Dr. Tom Cotter and Dr. Jeff Remsburg of Active Health Solutions, a Prairie Village-based chiropractor and rehab practice that uses the most current evidence-based protocols and techniques to assess and treat patients with neuromusculoskeletal conditions (disorders of the nerves, joints, and muscles). Call 913-341-1200 or email to schedule your appointment today.