Most chronic pain patients count on pills to get some relief on the go. While it is an easy way to tackle suffering, the pills can be addictive. They can also produce adverse effects on health. Even worse, they rarely succeed in fixing the root cause of pain.
Chronic pain is a big problem and only medications are insufficient to offer complete relief. Pain experts suggest one fantastic alternative to this, and luckily, it’s right there in your kitchen. Yes, we are talking about certain foods that are a part of your everyday life. These foods have the ability to combat inflammation, block pain signals, and even treat underlying health issues. You might have experienced a change in pain levels after eating specific meals. This happens because food can play a vital role in reducing or increasing inflammation.
Chronic Pain and Inflammation
But what is inflammation really like? And how does it matter in this case? Well… Basically, inflammation is the natural immune response of our body. It helps in healing health issues such as tissue damage, wounds, infection, and more. However, it can also lead to swelling, pain, redness, heat, and discomfort.
Maintaining the right inflammation levels in the body is a priority for chronic pain patients. This is especially true for those suffering from Crohn’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and other autoimmune health conditions. Inflammation not only aggravates pain and causes muscle stiffness for arthritis patients, but also promotes disease progression. So, instead of relying on addictive pills to reduce inflammation, try the below-mentioned foods. They’ll effectively prevent inflammation and help you manage pain.
7 Foods For Chronic Pain
Apart from being delicious, garlic is rich in anti-inflammatory sulfur compounds. Medical experts recommend it for arthritis patients as it can reduce inflammation in joints. Garlic, being a part of the genus Allium, produces organosulfur compounds. These compounds offer a wide array of benefits against microbial disease after extraction and isolation. Besides easing inflammation, they improve heart health and fight cancer.
- Anti-cancer properties
- Keeps the heart healthy
Salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega -3 is known for its interference with enzymes (cytokines) and immune cells (leukocytes). These compounds have a lot to do with inflammation levels in the body. The omega-3 fatty acids are capable of stopping the inflammation process even before it has started.
Studies have shown that the risk of rheumatoid arthritis is very low in people who regularly eat fatty fish such as salmon. Patients with arthritis who had added salmon to their meals reported reduced swelling and joint pain.
- Rich in protein
- Have antioxidants
Ginger is one of the major traditional medicines, and it is widely known for its stomach soothing and anti-nausea properties. However, the benefits of this pungent root are not only limited to the stomach and nausea. It can also fight joint aches from arthritis, menstrual cramps, and more. It can work the same as over-the-counter drugs like ibuprofen for relieving menstrual pain.
- Ease arthritis symptoms
- Fights cancer
- Eases period pain
4. Hot Peppers
Dr. Soloman recommends adding hot peppers if you are suffering from joint pain. Hot peppers are rich in Capsaicin — the compound that makes your mouth hot. Studies have found that it is full of anti-inflammatory compounds and antioxidants.
Hot peppers are also full of vitamin C and B-6. Moreover, an adequate amount of beta-carotene, fiber, and potassium makes hot peppers one of the best home remedies for pain. Our body uses these compounds and converts them into vitamin A. The orange and red pigments in the pepper are carotenoids that are effective against cancer.
- Improves metabolism
- Helps maintain healthy lungs and heart
Anthocyanins are a type of antioxidant that can ease the pain. Cherries are rich in this compound, and that is why chronic pain patients should add cherries to their diet. Pain experts recommend cherries for osteoarthritis patients for their anti-inflammatory and pain-reducing properties.
Plus, cherries are full of vitamin C and polyphenols. These compounds ease inflammation and make the pain more manageable.
- Regulates metabolism
- Immunity booster
We all know this bold spice that is responsible for making curries so colorful and mouth-watering as well. However, very few know its benefits to get much-needed relief from joint pain.
Many pain experts believe that turmeric is as powerful as several anti-inflammatory medications and delivers similar effects for reducing pain. This happens because turmeric is rich in curcumin, which is one of the strongest antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. It is as effective as many anti-inflammatory medicines, without any side effects.
- Rich in antioxidants
- Anti-cancer effects
Mint is excellent for patients with abdominal pain conditions. It can offer relief from painful stomach cramps, bloating, and gas which are common symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). It also helps you when your stomach is upset.
- Rich in nutrients
- Relieve indigestion
- Decreased breastfeeding pain
Avoid These Foods
Battling aches is not just about what to eat. You also have to know what not to eat. Our partner experts suggest eating less or eliminating food from your diet that can worsen inflammation.
Avoid consuming added sugars, processed and refined carbs to avoid problems. Instead, choose fibrous, nutrient-dense carbohydrates and lower sodium meals.
Who is the author?
Dr. Ahdev Kuppusamy, M.D. is a double board-certified anesthesiologist and interventional pain specialist. His primary goal is to improve the quality of life of his patients and their families.
Dr. Kuppusamy was born in Puerto Rico and speaks Spanish fluently. He completed a residency in anesthesiology and a fellowship in pain medicine at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, New Jersey.
Dr. Kuppusamy’s primary focus is placing patients’ needs first. His focus is also to treat patients with the same respect, compassion, and care with which he would treat his own friends and family members. Dr. Kuppusamy believes in a down-to-earth approach to medicine and places the highest emphasis on the doctor-patient relationship. He enforces that a physician’s major role is educating patients regarding their ailments and available treatment options. This, thereby, allows patients to make the best decisions on their medical care.
Dr. Kuppusamy feels that the best part of helping individuals struggling with chronic pain is the opportunity to not only help the patients he is treating but to also change the lives of those around them. Pain affects every aspect of our lives and can prevent us from achieving a full quality of life. By eradicating pain, a person can return to a meaningful and fulfilling life. They can also more fully enjoy the precious time spent with their loved ones. Dr. Kuppusamy is committed to helping his patients live pain-free lives.
Dr. Kuppusamy credits his father as being the most influential person in his life. His father’s work ethic, dedication, integrity, and perseverance through the many life struggles he endured inspired Dr. Kuppusamy to continually strive for excellence.