Patients suffering from chronic and neuropathic pain conditions recognize that effectively managing their disorder often requires a comprehensive approach. Working with licensed and board-certified clinicians trained in customized treatment plans that integrate the very latest therapies, treatments, and innovations to seize progression is essential to prohibiting and reducing prolonged aches and pains. However, it's also crucial to modify lifestyle routines and daily habits to support and promote holistic health with long-term, sustainable results.
Diet Can Play a Crucial Role in Immune System Health
Many patients don't realize that nutritional intake and dietary choices can have an impact on their chronic pain disorders by causing an inflammation flare-up. Our bodies have a complicated relationship with inflammation, particularly when managing chronic pain. Lingering discomfort is often the direct result of prolonged internal inflammation. When our bodies are injured or battling an infection, swelling serves as a warning to our immune system of a potential compromise. Once alerted, our immune system springs into action, directing white blood cells to the area in need of protection to repair physical injuries or combat an infection.
Under normal circumstances, swelling typically goes away once the body has been restored. However, sometimes a triggered immune system struggles to return to "normal" after the crisis has passed. Over time, this persistent inflammation can lead to serious cell and organ deterioration, causing continuous joint, muscle, and tissue discomfort.
What does this have to do with your eating habits? More than you may think. A well-balanced, healthy diet supports our immune system, equipping it with the nutrients needed to turn on and off appropriately. However, a deficient diet can alter the function of the immune system, directly contributing to its persistent dysfunction and low-grade, systemic inflammation throughout the body, which can increase the risk of a pain event, as well as several other conditions including heart disease, diabetes, and even certain cancers.
A Healthy, Well-Balanced Diet May Help Reduce Pain and Swelling
There is still much to learn and study about the diet's role in chronic pain management. However, certain foods have demonstrated properties that could directly influence immune system function. Some of the most compelling scientific research indicates that foods high in a specific antioxidant, known as polyphenols, can offer anti-inflammatory qualities that help both reduce and prevent pain episodes and flare-ups. Foods high in polyphenols include staples commonly found in Mediterranean diets, such as:
- Whole grains
- Dark leafy greens
Additionally, fish that are high in omega-3 fatty acids can also help combat inflammation throughout the body. Tuna, salmon, mackerel, and sardines are just a few examples of fish that have an abundance of this fatty acid and can be used to help reduce painful swelling and discomfort. Certain oils, such as olive and flaxseed, are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
Know Which Foods Can Trigger Inflammation in Your Body
Of course, it's not enough to only include foods that may lower the risk of inflammation and immune system malfunction; it's also critical to recognize various foods and food groups that may trigger swelling. Typically, highly processed, high-fat foods are believed to contribute to an inflammation episode. Fried foods, vegetable oils, highly refined flour, trans fats, and processed meats are all items that can trigger an internal response. Food with little to no nutritional value, or items that are high in simple sugars can also be a contributor. Soda, candy, cakes, juice boxes, and other "junk foods" should all be consumed in moderation to avoid physical consequences that may have a prolonged influence on your overall health profile.
Speak to Your Pain Management Clinician Today
Working with a skilled, licensed, and board-certified clinician is the best way to develop an integrated and effective pain management treatment plan. At Florida Pain Relief Centers, our team of trained specialists partners with our patients to create an innovative and non-invasive approach for holistic health and wellness. Contact us today to schedule an appointment with one of our physicians.