Pain hurts in more ways than one. The physical sensation of pain is hard enough to deal with, but persistent pain can hurt in other ways. Pain can make it more difficult to work, to enjoy recreational activities and to spend time with friends and family. Pain can also make it harder to be a parent, a partner and a friend. Pain takes a toll, physically, mentally and emotionally.
Most medical specialists focus on the physical aspects of pain, but the emotional and mental toll that pain takes on a person is often overlooked.

NUTRITION: (3) Ways To Improve Health And Decrease Chronic Pain

Did you know changing your eating habits could reduce inflammation in your body? People with acute and chronic pain often have a high amount of inflammation in their joints, muscles and blood. Certain foods increase the inflammatory markers in our bodies, while others can reduce signs of inflammation, increase energy levels, aid in weight loss and improve both physical and emotional health.


There are three changes you can make to your diet today to improve your dietary health and reduce pain.




Sugar, AKA corn syrup, high-fructose corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, maltose and sucrose. You know that you can find sugar in cookies and brownies, but did you also know that sugar is hiding in many foods that are advertised as “healthy”? These include granola bars, instant oatmeal, juices, crackers, prepackaged meals and more. Think like a detective, and be sure to carefully read foods labels on everything you eat, paying close attention to grams of sugar.




Simple carbohydrates include “white” foods, like: white pasta, white breads, white crackers and anything made with white flour. Why should you limit these foods? Simple. Carbs quickly break down into forms of sugar, which we know to be inflammatory and related with weight gain, cardiovascular diseases and cancers. Studies have shown that eating a diet lower in carbs and higher in healthy fats and proteins also reduces inflammation in the body.




Try to limit food additives in your meals, particularly MSG and artificial sweeteners and preservatives. These additives are found in several “low fat” and “diet” products, as well as prepackaged foods and processed meats.


What Should You Eat More?


You may be concerned that following the above recommendations your will be limited in your food choices, but that is not true!


Foods shown to be especially anti-inflammatory and good in all sorts of other ways include: berries, cherries, spinach, kale, sweet potatoes, olives and olive oil, fish (especially salmon, halibut, sardines, tuna, trout, whitefish, cod and oysters), avocados, green tea and nuts including walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds and sunflower seeds.


ANOTHER TIP: Try seasoning your foods with seasonings that have anti-inflammatory benefits such as with ginger, cinnamon, basil, cloves, mint, turmeric, thyme and chili pepper.


Balance is key, however being educated and making constant improvements to help manage your pain is important.

NUTRITION: How to Improve Headaches through Diet

We all know that food can affect pain levels. Some foods (and beverages) are linked to increased inflammation, while other foods can observably diminish it. According to a recent report, the foods we consume are often times connected to headaches. The new report found that there are a few key foods to avoid – and a few to incorporate into your eating regimen if you want to avoid headaches.


Study Overview


The review, titled “Diet and Headache” was published in two parts in the publication Headache: The Journal of Head and Face Pain. The researchers goal was to determine which foods are linked to the onset of headache pain and what a comprehensive, headache-reducing diet might look like.


Key Findings


CAFFEINE : If you are a caffeine addict – listen up! One of the key items that was found to impact headaches was caffeine. Consuming too much or too little – aka caffeine withdrawal – was found to trigger the onset of a headache. So if you are a regular coffee consumer, try not to abruptly reduce your intake. Instead, try to limit yourself to 400 milligrams of caffeine a day, or 3 cups. Cutting back on caffeine could help reduce your chances of getting a migraine. Even if you’re not a regular migraine sufferer, it may be wise to cut back, since large sums of caffeine have actually been shown to cause symptoms correlated to anxiety and depression.


MSG : another component in many processed foods that is connected to headaches. Removing MSG from your diet is fairly easy; the FDA requires it to be listed on packages as monosodium glutamate, so checking the labels of foods before you buy them could help you reduce it in your diet. MSG is frequently found in Chinese food, salad dressing, snack foods, ketchup and barbecue sauce, among others.


ALCOHOL : particularly red wine and vodka, might be problematic for some with headaches, despite the fact that the researchers note that there’s less proof exhibiting this. Also, nitrates – additives in prepared meats – may be able to trigger headaches in around 5% of individuals.


A Diet Change


A comprehensive diet, one cuts back on the bad ingredients while upping the good, is one way to avoid the onset of migraines. The other is the elimination diet, in which you avoid foods and ingredients known to cause headaches. These include diets that are low in fat (where fat is less than 20% of the daily diet) and carbohydrates, in addition to those that increase omega-3 fatty acids (flaxseed, salmon, cod, scallops) while decreasing omega-6 fatty acids (vegetable oils, peanuts, cashews).


If you’re considering adopting one such diet to help with your headache pain, always consult a physician to ensure the diet is safe and that you remain healthy.


Gluten-free diets, on the other hand, haven’t been shown to reduce the likelihood of headaches unless the person suffers from celiac disease.


Changing to a healthier diet is no doubt a smart plan of action, one that not only leads to fewer migraines, but also decreases inflammation and pain throughout the body, as well as weight loss and the prevention of heart disease. While authors do note that more clinical trials on the topic need to be reviewed, the study could prove to help many prevent painful headache occurrences.


If headaches are still interfering with your day by day life, consider pursuing help from a pain management physician, who will be able to recommend various treatment options based on your condition.