The Connection Between Food And Pain
We recently discussed the connection between nutrition and pain management and specifically how eating nutritiously can help us live healthier lives. For many of us, though, there may be specific foods that contribute to increasing our pain and discomfort and we may not even know it.
When we think about food allergies, we often think about extreme reactions, like anaphylactic responses where a person’s throat closes. But there are actually more than 170 foods that have been linked to allergic reactions, as light a mild itch in our mouths or even a rash. However, food sensitivities are a little different. They can cause milder symptoms, like headaches, bloating, gas, and inflammation, which in turn increases chronic pain conditions. Sometimes the symptoms we experience are disconnected from when we eat, and food sensitivities may go unnoticed and untreated for long periods of time.
Let’s take a look at a few ways you can identify and address them so that you can get back to living more pain-free.
The good news is that food sensitives and allergies are very easy to detect medically. Using lab tests, we can identify a wide variety of immune markers that can help us narrow down problems. Even if you’re not entirely sure you have a food sensitivity, if you’re regularly experiencing the same pain, headaches, itchiness, or other common symptoms, it’s a great idea to get tested so you and a medical professional can find an appropriate way to address the situation.
Look At Your Environment
Some food sensitivities are exacerbated by your environment. That could be exposure to common allergens like dust or pet dander, but could also a certain soap you use or a chemical cleaning product used at your workplace. While it’s harder to test for these things, and sometimes even harder to eliminate, it’s a good idea to take a look at what environmental factors could be causing any flare-ups.
Watch What You Drink
We often associate sensitivities with what we eat, but it’s possible to also have intolerances to chemicals in common drinks such as coffee and tea. Don’t rule out cutting back on these types of drinks as a method of reducing inflammation.
Avoid Processed Foods
We’re strong advocates of transitioning to plant-based diet, and avoiding highly processed foods is a good first step. Pre-made meals and similar processed foods contain a huge amount of preservatives, flavor-enhancers, colorants, and other chemicals that are generally not good for us. Frankly, it’s best to avoid these at all times, whether you’re trying to manage a chronic pain condition or not.