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Chronic Pain – The Food Connection

In 1996 I was a different person. Each morning it took 20 minutes before I could walk with merely tolerable amounts of pain. Those first 20 minutes were filled with extreme pain in my feet, knees and hips. This was ironic given that the mainstay of my acupuncture practice at the time was pain relief.

Of course I’d used acupuncture for pain relief on myself, but in my state of health at the time it never gave more than temporary improvement. I also spent 3 years searching for the right combination of herbs and supplements that would give me relief, but never found anything that made a real difference.

Then one day one of my post-graduate teachers pointed out the connection between my diet and the painful symptoms. It was time to make a change.

I was fortunate to find a doctor nearby who was holistically oriented. He ran a thorough battery of tests and based on the results he told me that if I didn’t change how I was eating I’d be a cripple in a wheelchair within 10 years.

Ouch! That image hurt even more than the daily pain. I vowed to make the changes I needed right away.

Fortunately within a month of changing my eating I experienced noticeably less pain. I was on the right track at last. Even so it took another year and a half before I was completely pain-free.

I share this story because it illustrates the crucial impact that dietary choices can have on chronic pain. Most people, including most doctors never make the connection between diet and pain. After my experience with it, I have no doubt that food is a crucial factor in relieving chronic pain.

What are the foods that will make this dramatic change? Nothing would give me more pleasure than to be able to give you a ‘one size fits all’ food list that would forever eliminate your pain or the pain of a loved one.

Unfortunately, because everyone is different, there is no one list that will apply in every case. This is the main reason that I offer Metabolic Typing® to my patients since it gives us a deep look into which foods are optimal for relieving symptoms.

Even with this limitation, there are some basic principles that may very well make a positive difference for almost everyone when it comes to pain relief. Here are the most important ones:

  1. Eat only whole, fresh, natural foods, organically grown if possible. Over 80 years of research demonstrates that the more processed foods you eat, the greater your chance for chronic degenerative illness, including pain of various types.
  2. In particular, avoid anything that causes inflammation. For most people in pain, concentrated sugars commonly cause problems. White sugar, brown sugar, fructose, molasses, honey, fruit juice, etc. all fall into this category.
  3. In addition, refined grain products, particularly wheat flour products can aggravate the problem. Pasta, bread, cookies, cakes and candies are all best avoided.
  4. Be aware of allergic reactions to foods. Even the most healthy and nutritious food won’t help you if you’re allergic to it. The most common allergens are dairy products, nuts, soy and nightshade vegetables (potatoes, peppers, eggplant and tomatoes).
  5. Listen to your body. If you have pain that is better or worse at various times, see if there is a consistent pattern of specific foods that you’ve eaten prior to the time when the pain gets worse.

If you still can’t find the food connection, consider doing an advanced Metabolic Typing® test. It will give you a complete list of foods that will help you reclaim a healthy balance in your body, which in turn will lead to reduced pain. Email me by clicking here.

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