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Chronic pain management: nutrition and diet

Posted on: October 6th, 2018 by Lindsay Walker
Lindsay Walker

PT (Physiotherapist)
Lindsay completed her Bachelors of Science in Physical Therapy in 2004. In 2010, she received certification for intramuscular stimulation (GunnIMS). GunnIMS is a unique approach to diagnose and treat persistent pain, using a dry needling technique (without injecting a substance) focusing on injured muscles either near the spine, or more peripherally. This technique, along with an interest in other treatment options such as acupuncture, manual therapy, and exercise helps Lindsay treat patients with chronic and stubborn pain. Book with Lindsay Now.


Management of chronic pain requires a multi-faceted approach.  This blog will deal with the eating habits you can develop to help reduce the impact that your diet may have on your pain.

It is generally recommended to avoid anything that is sugary and processed.  Besides fried foods and candy, some unhealthy foods that are not quite as obvious might include fruit juice (lacks fibre, contains high amounts of sugar), white bread (may contain bleaching chemicals), and frozen entrees (sodium, trans fats).  Here is a brief list of what some have called the…

 Unhealthiest foods on the planet:

  1. Lack of fibre – can cause bad digestive health (constipation).
  2. Sugar – too much can increase your risk for heart disease and diabetes, both of which negatively impact the health of your painful tissues.
  3. Bleaching chemicals – referred to by some as “creepy chemicals“, with negative effects so far unknown to us.
  4. Sodium – excess sodium can increase your blood pressure, which again puts stress on your painful parts.
  5. Trans fats – too much of these can raise your bad cholesterol, and lower your good cholesterol.

All these things affect chronic pain because…….as a part of overall health, the more you can maintain a healthy weight and reduce your risk of other diseases, the better you can manage your pain, decrease your stress, and focus your energy!

Healthy foods to add to your diet

Salmon:  Contains healthy fats called “omega-3s” which decrease inflammation and boost heart health

Turmeric:  Has an active compound called curcumin that helps to block inflammatory pathways

Pineapple:  Along with Vitamin C and manganese, pineapple also has an enzyme called bromelain which acts as a natural inflammatory agent

Chia seeds:  Packed with everything from protein to manganese to zine, these seeds are a fantastic anti-oxidant and inflammatory fighter.  That helps with pain!

Spirulina:  Is a micro-algae, typically produced in powder form, that contains phycocyanin, an antioxidant that decreases inflammation in the body.

If you are interested in making a change to your diet as one way of managing your pain, there are some really good resources to help.  These guidelines steer you toward healthy nutritional strategies for chronic pain:  Government of Canada, and Dieticians of Canada.  Also, here is a great article with suggestions for a diet for people dealing with chronic pain. 

Hopefully this will inspire you to consider alternative options to managing pain.

Your partner in health,

Lindsay

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