pain and diet: the essentials
Lecture at the Academy of Integrative Pain Management (AIPM)
Robert Bonakdar, MD, a director of pain management told his audience how nutrition can affect pain through many mechanisms.
“Diet can influence inflammation, shift the microbiome, modulate the immune system, improve joint function, eliminate pain triggers, and reduce deficiencies. Over 60% of foods consumed are highly processed, and the Western diet lacks fresh fruits and vegetables and fibre,. A poor diet produces signs of inflammation, such as C-reactive protein (CRP). Elevated CRP levels can increase the risk for low back pain, for example, and there’s a direct dose response, The higher the CRP, the more intense the pain is, and the more it can interfere with activities of daily living.”
The Western diet also shifts the body’s microbiobial balance, which can affect digestion and this can have a significant effect on diversity of flora.This lack of diversity is directly linked to many pain states, including chronic pelvic pain and irritable bowel syndrome,
“if we are not feeding our cells appropriately, or we are feeding our cells toxic products or inflammatory products, the end result is going to be inflammation and pain.”
Diet and Exercise
Combining an anti-inflammatory diet with exercise might boost the impact on pain even more. An 18-month study in patients with osteoarthritis who had weight issues — the IDEA trial — found that “diet was helpful, exercise was helpful, but the combination was the really helpful,”
“Even reducing weight by about 5% can have significant impact on pain and function.”
There is more evidence from another study of 130 female patients with rheumatoid arthritis in a relatively poor area of Glasgow, Scotland. The analysis showed that patients who followed a healthy Mediterranean-like diet had significantly reduced pain at 3 and 6 months.
When we think pain, traditionally we think pills. Now think health, diet and movement