Let’s Talk About Pain & Inflammation

The most common symptom that brings a patient to the office is pain that doesn’t go away quick enough. We can call this chronic pain. Back, neck pain and headaches are some of the most common types of chronic pain. The typical method that most people use to deal with pain are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like aspirin or ibuprofen (Advil), or anti-pain medications like acetaminophen (Tylenol). Unfortunately, each medication is associated with side-effects, such as liver toxicity for acetaminophen and ulcers for NSAIDs. The second most common cause of ulcers is the regular use of aspirin and other NSAIDs.

Some may seek out nutritional supplements as an alternative to drugs in order to avoid the side-effects. But, there is a secret that must be understood before one searches out nutritional supplements to reduce pain and inflammation. Our diets will substantially determine the inflammation levels in the body, which can directly impact upon the development of pain.

The foods that cause inflammation and lead to pain include refined sugar, refined grains and related flour products (bread, pasta, bagels, etc…), refined oils, and obese meat. These inflammatory foods make up approximately 80% of the average American’s calorie intake, and yet even 30-40% of calories from these foods is too much. Eating a diet of the inflammatory foods creates a tsunami of inflammation within the body that will hit joint and muscle sooner or later causing pain and suffering. At this point, people start taking NSAIDs and Tylenol, and all the while continue to eat the same inflammatory foods that caused the problem in the first place.

Most people can not turn off diet-driven inflammation and pain by taking medications or nutritional supplements. So it is important to make dietary changes to calm the inflammatory state. To expect that drugs and supplements will be curative is not reasonable.

You may hear me talking about the Paleolithic Diet at the office. This is one of the most anti-inflammatory ways of eating that exists. This is because of the abundance of anti-inflammatory foods that make up this daily regimin of eating. These foods include an abundance of vegetables, fruit, raw nuts and seeds, and healthy proteins (lean meat, poultry, fresh fish and eggs). The best fats/oils include olive oil, coconut oil, Udo’s oil blend, and ‘raw’ butter.

And let’s not forget God’s own little anti-inflammatories: ginger, turmeric, rosemary, oregano, garlic, coriander and nearly all spices tested thus far have proven to be anti-inflammatory. It was discovered that, when supplementing with ginger, certain individuals cansubstantially reduce chronic muscle and joint pain. For more acute pain, like flare-up of back pain, research has shown that white willow bark can reduce pain as effectively as Celebrex over a 4-week period. Bromelain, an enzyme found in pineapple has demonstrated anti-inflammatory properties.

In summary, if you desire dietary approaches towards a pain-free state, natural options are available. Basic dietary changes and certain key supplements can be very hekpful.

My thanks to Dr. David R. Seaman for his insight and information.


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