How Nutrition Helps with Pain Management3 min read
The first thing that most people do when they feel pain anywhere in their body is to reach for over the counter medications such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. But what if the pain persists for days, or even weeks, and no amount of medication seems to be working?
When pain lasts for more than three months, whether continuous or coming in bouts, it is classed as chronic pain. According to The Journal of the International Association for the Study of Pain, 50.2 million American adults have pain every day or on most days.
What Causes Chronic Pain?
There are many causes of chronic pain. For some people, the pain is associated with an illness or injury. And while the person may have recovered from the original illness or injury, their pain might persist. For others, the ongoing pain is caused by a condition they have, such as cancer or arthritis. However, for many people, obesity is the cause of most of their issues.
A poor diet can lead to weight gain, which has negative consequences for the body. For example, the more weight a person is carrying, the more pressure it puts on the joints and organs in their body. Obesity increases the risk of a person developing a variety of debilitating illnesses including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and even cancer.
So, while being obese does not directly cause pain, it does lead to many conditions that do result in pain. There is also a direct link between chronic pain and obesity. In some cases, the chronic pain comes before the obesity, but in many cases it is the other way around. A person with arthritis, for example, might suffer with chronic pain from the condition and may stop being active, which can then lead to weight gain. But a person who has poor nutrition and gains weight as a result might end up with swelling or inflammation of certain joints, which could then lead to arthritis.
Can a Better Diet Help?
Nutrition can play a key role in pain management because it can keep the body healthy. And a person with a healthy body and mind is less likely to develop the debilitating illnesses that can cause chronic pain.
Pain management doctors often recommend diet changes when treating patients with chronic pain. The experts at Utah pain clinic KindlyMD say that even those who are not overweight, can benefit from a good nutrition plan. Those who are obese though may even find that the pain they are experiencing improves dramatically when they lose some weight and eat a little better.
A healthy diet rich in vitamins and minerals improves healthy functioning of the body and brain. Specific nutrients are required for the nervous system to function effectively, and it is best to get these nutrients from food rather than in supplement form.
Eating the right foods can certainly make sure that the brain and body get all the nutrients they need, but it is also true that some foods can make pain worse. For example, foods and drinks with caffeine should be consumed in moderation as these can interfere with sleep and hence increase the risk of pain.
The food that we eat can have a direct link to pain. A poor diet can lead to weight gain and obesity, which can be linked to a range of incapacitating illnesses and diseases that cause pain. Pain doctors therefore regularly recommend diet changes and will provide their patients with healthy nutrition plans that are designed to reduce pain and help with weight loss where appropriate.