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Chronic Pain Got You Down? Take A Closer Look At What You’re Eating

Chronic Pain Got You Down? Take A Closer Look At What You’re Eating

If you’re like many of the Americans living day in and day out with nagging chronic pain, you know firsthand just how limiting it can be to deal with. Chronic pain, whether it’s in your legs, feet, hands, arms, back, or shoulders, can make the easiest of tasks feel excruciatingly painful to perform.

The good news is that there are more options available to you than you may even realize when it comes to alleviating your pain. You can start in your refrigerator, by watching what you eat.

If you work with a physical therapist to help manage a chronic pain condition, you will probably receive some nutritional advice as part of the process. Physical therapists are not nutritionists, but providing nutritional advice to patients is well within the scope of a physical therapist’s duties.

For some chronic conditions, dietary changes can make the biggest difference in reducing or eliminating pain. If you’d like more information on how nutrition and physical therapy go hand-in-hand, give our office a call! We’re here to help.

In the meantime, read up on how nutrition affects chronic pain, and see what kinds of dietary changes could help you!

What kinds of conditions can be affected by nutrition?

There are a number of common conditions in America that are directly related to diet and nutrition. Here are some conditions in which nutritional advice will likely be a part of the patient’s physical therapy regimen:

  • Autoimmune Disorders: The combined total of various autoimmune disorder patients (such as Crohn’s disease, multiple sclerosis, type 1 diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis) now outnumber cancer patients in America by a wide margin. Autoimmune disorders are frequently linked directly to deficiencies in a patient’s diet.
  • Osteoarthritis: Obese patients are more likely to develop arthritis, especially in the knee. Once a person has been diagnosed with osteoarthritis of the knee, managing their weight becomes the most important key to managing the arthritis and pain.
  • Inflammation: American diets tend to have a lot of vegetable oils and other inflammatory foods in them. This can make the pain from inflammation even worse. In many cases, a physical therapist will prescribe a diet with more antioxidants and anti-inflammatory foods to help manage pain.
  • Obesity: Pain related to obesity can become a vicious cycle. Being overweight causes a patient pain, so they become more sedentary. Becoming more sedentary causes them to gain more weight, which leads to more pain.
  • Diabetes: Diabetes and pre-diabetes pave the way for more serious conditions such as heart disease, kidney disease and blindness. More than 90 percent of patients with diabetes also experience neuropathic pain. Diet and nutrition will play a key role in managing these conditions.

Diets to try to improve your nutrition

Adequate nutrition can help you to avoid many infections and diseases. It can also reverse symptoms and discomfort of some diseases by correcting your diet.

Physical therapy does not only help restore muscle and joint strength through exercise, but also through dietary guidance. A large part of the process could be addressing your nutritional status and requirements at your first visit with a physical therapist. Patients can also be referred to a dietitian in some situations.

You may be prescribed an entirely new diet to help reduce chronic aches and pains, lose weight, and improve your overall health. The DASH diet and the Meditteranean diet are two possible diets that a physical therapist might recommend for patients:

  • DASH Diet: DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension.This diet is very low in saturated fats and cholesterol, and places a heavy emphasis on consuming more fruits and vegetables. The DASH Diet can reduce hypertension and lower the risk of heart disease, while also helping patients to manage their weight.
  • Mediterranean Diet: The Mediterranean diet has been linked to the strikingly low rates of heart disease in certain Mediterranean countries. This diet features a lot of fish with Omega-3 fatty acids. It’s also high in plant-based fats such as olive oils and nuts.

Call our clinic today to learn more

If you’re in constant pain, the first thing you should look at is what you’re eating on a daily basis. We are what we eat, after all! Having a physical therapist work with you to manage your pain through exercise and diet can turn your life around.

Physical therapists help hundreds of thousands of patients each year to improve their health and reduce aches and pains. If you’re ready to schedule your first appointment with a licensed physical therapist, contact North Park Medical Group today. We’ll assess your pain condition and go over recommendations for how you can change and improve your nutrition, step by step.

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