Mother Nature is the best pharmacist and food is easily the most effective drug on the planet,” wrote Mark Hyman, MD, in an article on the decline of the modern American diet. The problem today, he noted, is that the majority of the food that we consume is not “natural,” but instead “industrial:”, it’s over-salted, sugared, processed, and high in carbs.
How can nutrition affect chronic pain?
Why does this matter to pain professionals? It matters because what we eat equates with how we fuel our body, and when someone eats a bad diet, their entire body starts to break down. This deterioration includes increased rates of metabolic disorders, including hypertension, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and obesity, as well as musculoskeletal problems, and autoimmune diseases.
Therefore, the roadmap to health is straightforward, noted Dr. Hyman, “eat real food, practice self-love, imagine yourself in a positive manner, get sufficient sleep, and incorporate movement into your life.” In the example of patients with chronic pain, eating a healthy diet may decrease the progression of their own pain and their illness.
How Does Weight Affect Chronic Pain?
America is currently combating an obesity epidemic. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), almost one-third of U.S. children and about two-thirds of U.S. adults are overweight or obese and are at increased risk for musculoskeletal disease.
Over the last couple of decades, most Americans have seen a shift to a greater norm with regard to weight. For instance, the first lineman in an American football team to weigh more than 300 pounds was William “The Refrigerator” Perry (355 lbs.) , who played in the National Football League (NFL) in the 1980-90s. Nowadays, the average weight of every lineman in the NFL is 355 pounds, and players have a tendency to get a life expectancy of about 57 years compared with 78.8 years for the general public. Recognizing this trend, the American Medical Association (AMA) officially proclaimed obesity for a disorder in 2013.
Healthcare claims have shown the co-prevalence of pain and obesity to be as high as 30 percent. These high levels of co-occurrence are associated with a sedentary lifestyle which leads to quality of life, emotional distress, higher disability, and shortened lifespan. The medical literature indicates that there’s a linear relationship between frequency and weight of musculoskeletal pain. Rates of back, neck, hip, knee, and ankle pain are proven to be considerably higher in obese people. But a causal relationship remains unclear.
As well as creating mechanical stress, fat acts much as an organ that secretes chemicals, which affects blood pressure and cholesterol. In fact, adipose tissue is a significant source of inflammatory mediators such as cytokines and chemokines. Inflammatory markers like interleukin (IL)-6 and C-reactive protein (CRP) are significantly associated with percentage of body fat and insulin sensitivity. Matters, where the fat is deposited also. Visceral abdominal connective tissue is more metabolically active and releases greater quantities of insulin-resistant and pro-inflammatory substances.
Obesity also has been associated with thoracic spine, neck, and upper extremity pain. When it is present in conditions such as fibromyalgia, migraines, and headaches, obesity also exacerbates pain owing to its state. Chronic pain may also result in obesity because it leads to physical inactivity, especially in the elderly. The reciprocal should be accurate–weight loss can help reduce pain. For instance, one study found that more than a 10% loss of body weight resulted in a 50 percent drop in knee arthritis in patients.
How Does Nutrition Affect Chronic Pain?
A nutritional approach to pain management involves making modifications to your patient’s diet to prevent pain or promote the relief of inflammation as part of a comprehensive pain management plan.
Back and joint pain, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, and osteoarthritis are affected by diet. Joint pain can be caused by gout, that’s the end result of crystal deposition in the united states. Rheumatoid arthritis occurs when the body’s immune system attacks the joints, which causes an inflammatory reaction and subsequent pain.
Patients who suffer from chronic pain might have stumbled upon any variety of “pain-lowering” diets while browsing the net. Included in these are the anti-inflammatory diet, the diet, and vegetarian diets. However, there is still no guideline for a nutritional health plan to address pain, and one diet may not fit all pain conditions.
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By Dr. Alex Jimenez
Additional Topics: Wellness
Overall health and wellness are essential towards maintaining the proper mental and physical balance in the body. From eating a balanced nutrition as well as exercising and participating in physical activities, to sleeping a healthy amount of time on a regular basis, following the best health and wellness tips can ultimately help maintain overall well-being. Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables can go a long way towards helping people become healthy.
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