Making some simple adjustments to the foods that you eat can support your fight against chronic pain, helping you to feel better, one bite at a time.

Chronic pain management can be guided by your doctor in numerous ways. Some of the most used and helpful mainstays of chronic pain management include: Medications, trigger point therapy, surgical implants, physical therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, meditation techniques, massage, yoga, reiki, and exercise. But did you know the foods that you consume on a daily basis can be a major sub-structure to your chronic pain management plan?  

Recent studies have shown that making healthy modulations to your diet can benefit your chronic pain management plan in a number of ways.  Not only can a healthier diet reduce nerve damage and nerve pain, it can also decrease your sensitivity to pain while fighting inflammation. While it is most important to see your doctor regularly and follow her/his chronic pain management plan designed for you, there is more that you can do on your own to help yourself at every meal.    

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 produces energy that helps to conquer exhaustion, nerve damage, cognitive difficulties and anemia.  It assists in making DNA and red blood cells, and is vital for normal brain and nervous system function. Vitamin B12 can be found in foods including eggs, Swiss cheese, fortified cereals, yogurt, mussels, clams, salmon, lean beef and chicken.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is an antioxidant that can only be obtained from food or supplements.  

Also known as ascorbic acid, Vitamin C is an antioxidant vital for tissue growth, and can assist in the function of adrenal gland function and lower blood pressure.  Vitamin C is found in foods including red and green peppers, brussels sprouts, spinach, broccoli, cabbage, winter squash, cauliflower tomatoes, kale, cantaloupe and strawberries.    

Vitamin D

Vitamin D, in addition to improving mood and symptoms of depression, is essential for proper muscle and bone function. Vitamin D has been shown to reduce joint pain, fatigue, muscle pain and weakness, in addition to respiratory issues.  Vitamin D is found in foods including  egg yolks, vitamin D-fortified milk, soy milk, salmon, tuna, shrimp, oysters and mushrooms.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is an antioxidant, helping protect the body from free radicals, compounds that can damage the body. Helping to prevent oxidative stress to the body, and reduce neuropathic pain, Vitamin E also assists with making red blood cells and supporting your immune system.  Vitamin E is found in foods including avocados, sunflower seeds, spinach, almonds, shrimp, trout, broccoli, kiwi fruit and butternut squash.

Additional Beneficial Foods

  • Tart cherries: High in antioxidants and cyanidine.
  • Soybeans: High in protein. Can decrease inflammation and slow oxidation.
  • Fruits rich in anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidants include: red grapes, blueberries and cranberries.
  • Cocoa: Found in dark chocolate, cocoa contains flavonols.  Flavonols act as an anti-inflammatory agent.
  • Tumeric: Contains curcumin and fights inflammation.  Can be used to season lentils, rice and smoothies.
  • Ginger
  • Flaxseed
  • Almonds and walnuts

Remember that diversity is key. There are many recipes available online that include the beneficial foods, providing you plenty of options to avoid “getting bored.”  After all, variety is the spice of life.

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