Chronic pain (including nerve, muscle and tissue pain) is often defined as any pain lasting more than 12 weeks, although for some people chronic pain can last for months or even years. Chronic pain may arise from an initial injury, such as a back sprain, or there may be an ongoing cause, such as illness. Commonly affected areas include the back, neck, and shoulders.
There are a variety of treatment options for chronic pain, including oral and topical therapies. Oral medications include those that can be taken by mouth, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, acetaminophen, and opioids. Also available are medications that can be applied to the skin, whether as an ointment or cream or by a patch that is applied to the skin. Many natural supplements are also available which provide pain relief without the side effects of conventional medications.
Some foods may improve chronic pain by reducing inﬂammation, while others can worsen pain by promoting inﬂammation. Here are some tips for an “anti-inﬂammatory” diet for chronic pain:
Bad fats increase the production of pro-inflammatory compounds, and are generally split up between saturated fats and trans fats.
Instead, you should eat more foods with healthier fats that suppress inflammation:
Processed and reﬁned grain products made with white ﬂour and sugary toppings have been linked to an increase in inﬂammation.
Consider avoiding these items:
Replace with items that are full of fibre that can help offset pain-inducing inflammation:
Another great natural way of improving chronic pain is by increasing the amount of fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet. Fruits and vegetables are rich sources of ﬁbre, a dietary component that produces anti-inﬂammatory effects and contain powerful antioxidant properties that neutralize free radicals.
Tips for incorporating more inﬂammatory-ﬁghting fruits and vegetables into your diet:
While the quality of meat, such as grain or grass-fed, may have a smaller impact on inflammation in limited studies, meats of all types have been shown to favor inflammation and aging. Therefore, limiting meat intake and increasing plant and vegetable intake is beneficial to your fight against chronic pain.
There are many different diets that aim to address aging and chronic pain conditions by reducing “red meat” consumption and increasing plant-based foods.
One such diet is known as the Mediterranean diet:
If eliminating all types of animal products (including honey and milk) is not for you, you can consider trying a vegetarian diet on for size. If committing to eliminating all meat and fish all at once is too much, try Meatless Mondays or becoming a weekday vegetarian to start.
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