Eat to Ease Pain

Eat to Ease Pain

If inflammation factors into your pain; consider trying an anti-inflammatory diet. Replace saturated fats with healthy fats like olive oil, and increase fruits, veggies, and fish for 2 weeks. Note effects as you track pain in your Journal, and then show your doctor.

Conditions: Rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, back pain, neck pain, nerve pain

Symptoms: aching, lower back pain, pain when standing, hip pain, knee pain, ankle pain, foot pain, difficulty standing up, difficulty sitting down, difficulty walking, reduced joint movement, stiffness, stiff joint, swollen joint, warm joint, joint pain, upper back pain, joint tenderness, pain when standing, all over pain, muscle weakness, burning, pain, numbness, tingling

Triggers:

Treatments:

Categories: Food

Duration

14 (waking hours)

Forget the Fryer

Grilled, broiled, seared, and fried foods are all cooked at high temperatures that brown or char foods have the largest impact They produce compounds known as advanced glycation end products (AGEs).

AGEs can contribute to inflammation in the body, which is linked to many types of chronic pain. Skip the grill and the fryer to help reduce inflammation.

Prompt: Forget the fryer.

CTA: Avoid cooking at high temps. High protein meat and fat more likely form AGEs during cooking. Carbohydrate-rich foods such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains have low AGE levels even after cooking. Foods cooked with moist heat, shorter cooking times and lower temperatures, and acidic ingredients such as vinegar or lemon juice produced the least amount of AGEs.

Conditions: Rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, back pain, neck pain, nerve pain

Symptoms: aching, lower back pain, pain when standing, hip pain, knee pain, ankle pain, foot pain, difficulty standing up, difficulty sitting down, difficulty walking, reduced joint movement, stiffness, stiff joint, swollen joint, warm joint, joint pain, upper back pain, joint tenderness, pain when standing, all over pain

Triggers:

Treatments:

Categories: Food

Eat Omega-3s

Omega-3 fatty acids including DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) help lower inflammation in your body, which can mean less joint pain and stiffness.

An easy way to get omega-3s each week is to eat a variety of fish, especially oily fish, twice a week. Best sources of DHA and EPA are tuna, salmon, trout, herring, and sardines.

Prompt: Choose fish.

CTA: Eat to ease pain.

Conditions: Rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, back pain, neck pain, nerve pain

Symptoms: aching, lower back pain, pain when standing, hip pain, knee pain, ankle pain, foot pain, difficulty standing up, difficulty sitting down, difficulty walking, reduced joint movement, stiffness, stiff joint, swollen joint, warm joint, joint pain, upper back pain, joint tenderness, pain when standing

Triggers:

Treatments:

Categories: Food

C Builds Collagen

Vitamin C is key to strong and pain-free joints. It helps build collagen, a key part of your connective tissue. Men 19 years and older should get 90 mg vitamin C a day, women  14-18 and older should get 65 mg of vitamin C a day.

Most healthy people don't need supplements if they get enough vitamin C in their diet. You can get vitamin C from fruits and vegetables such as:

  • Citrus fruits
  • Red peppers
  • Strawberries
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Kale

Prompt: Boost collagen.

CTA: Eat enough vitamin C.

Conditions: Rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, back pain, neck pain

Symptoms: aching, lower back pain, pain when standing, hip pain, knee pain, ankle pain, foot pain, difficulty standing up, difficulty sitting down, difficulty walking, reduced joint movement, stiffness, stiff joint, swollen joint, warm joint, joint pain, upper back pain, joint tenderness, pain when standing

Triggers:

Treatments:

Categories: Food

Olive Oil Benefits

Oleocanthal, a compound in olive oil, helps prevent inflammation, which is linked to chronic pain. Oleocanthal is a natural anti-inflammatory.

If you consume 1.75 ounces of olive oil per day with your meals, thend you've gotten the equivalent of about 10% of the recommended ibuprofen dose to treat pain in adults.

Buy extra virgin olive oil for the most oleocanthal. Be aware: olive oil has the same calories as butter or margarine. Use it as a replacement, not an addition to, other fats.

Prompt: Go Greek.

CTA: Use extra virgin to ease pain.

Conditions: Rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, back pain, neck pain, nerve pain

Symptoms: aching, lower back pain, pain when standing, hip pain, knee pain, ankle pain, foot pain, difficulty standing up, difficulty sitting down, difficulty walking, reduced joint movement, stiffness, stiff joint, swollen joint, warm joint, joint pain, upper back pain, joint tenderness, pain when standing

Triggers:

Treatments:

Categories: Food

Pain-Relief Plants

Fruits and veggies pack a special punch against pain. Most are loaded with antioxidants, substances that help protect cells from damage. Some antioxidants also help ease inflammation, which contributes to chronic pain.

Add antioxidants to your diet. Try sweet, cold strawberries with just a hint of sugar for dessert. Eating 2 or more servings of strawberries each week has been found to reduce levels of C-reactive protein in some people, a key marker of inflammation.

Prompt: Plant power.

CTA: Pack your plate with freshness.

Conditions: Rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, back pain, neck pain, nerve pain

Symptoms: aching, lower back pain, pain when standing, hip pain, knee pain, ankle pain, foot pain, difficulty standing up, difficulty sitting down, difficulty walking, reduced joint movement, stiffness, stiff joint, swollen joint, warm joint, joint pain, upper back pain, joint tenderness, pain when standing

Categories: Food

Put Food on Trial

Many people with chronic pain report that certain foods worsen their condition. Foods high in saturated fats -- fatty meats, fried foods, and butter -- may increase inflammation.

Try an experiment. Eliminate one food high in saturated fats next week. See no change? Take out a different one the next week.

Prompt: Test your diet.

CTA: Eliminate certain foods.

Conditions: Rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, back pain, neck pain, nerve pain

Symptoms: aching, lower back pain, pain when standing, hip pain, knee pain, ankle pain, foot pain, difficulty standing up, difficulty sitting down, difficulty walking, reduced joint movement, stiffness, stiff joint, swollen joint, warm joint, joint pain, upper back pain, joint tenderness, pain when standing

Triggers:

Treatments:

Categories: Food

Limit Omega-6s

While omega-3s in fish help reduce inflammation, omega-6 fatty acids have been thought to promote inflammation.

Omega-6s are found in many vegetable oils, including corn oil, soybean oil, and sunflower oil. Most Americans eat 14 to 25 times more omega-6s than omega-3s.

Your goal is to strive for balance. To do that, mimic the Mediterranean diet: Use olive oil, whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, fish, and garlic, as well as limiting red meat and dairy.

Prompt: Limit Omega-6s.

CTA: Use less vegetable oils. Omega-6 is found in oils such corn, safflower, sunflower, grapeseed, soy, peanut, and vegetable; mayonnaise; and many salad dressings.

Conditions: Rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, back pain, neck pain

Symptoms: aching, lower back pain, pain when standing, hip pain, knee pain, ankle pain, foot pain, difficulty standing up, difficulty sitting down, difficulty walking, reduced joint movement, stiffness, stiff joint, swollen joint, warm joint, joint pain, upper back pain, joint tenderness, pain when standing

Triggers:

Treatments:

Categories: Food

Diet and Nerve Pain

Did you know that what you eat -- or more specifically, what you're not eating -- could affect your nerve pain? Getting enough niacin, and vitamins B1, B6, B12, and E in your diet is important for healthy nerve function. Deficiencies in vitamins such as vitamin B12 can result in nerve damage. Make an effort to eat healthier by including foods like these:

  • Whole grains, such as oatmeal, wheat germ, and rice
  • Fortified breakfast cereals
  • Milk
  • Eggs
  • Vegetables
  • Meat and fish

Getting some tips from a dietitian or nutritionist could help.

Prompt: Missing nutrients?

CTA: Get B and E vitamins.

Conditions: Nerve Pain

Symptoms: muscle weakness, burning, pain, numbness, tingling

Triggers:

Treatments: dietary changes, drugs, prescription medications, folic acid, niacin, zinc, vitamin B12, vitamin D, vitamin E

Categories: Food

Foods and Fibro Pain

There's no fibro diet, but some people may find that certain foods seem to make their symptoms worse. These include:

  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine
  • Dairy
  • Gluten (wheat, barley, rye)
  • Tomatoes
  • MSG
  • Aspartame

To find out if any of these foods affect you, try removing one food at a time from your diet and note it in your Journal. Track your symptoms to look for improvement. After 6 to 8 weeks, add the food back into your diet and note whether your symptoms get worse again.

Prompt: Diet and fibro.

CTA: Check for food triggers.

Conditions: Fibromyalgia

Symptoms: feeling sick, abdominal pain, headache, bloating, bowel problems, constipation, diarrhea, fatigue, GERD, heartburn, IBS, muscle pain, weight gain, weight loss, allergic symptoms, cramps, sensitivity to smells

Triggers: alcohol, specific foods, aspartame, dietary changes, MSG, allergies

Treatments: reduce alcohol, reduce caffeine, dietary changes

Categories: Food

See a Dietitian

Have you cut out specific foods to reduce inflammation and symptoms? While some foods may seem to provoke your symptoms, missing nutrients could also cause trouble. It is a good idea to consult a dietician to help determine where some of the issues may lie. Remember: Good nutrition and a well-balanced diet help give you the energy to stay physically active and can help improve your overall health.

Prompt: See a dietitian.

CTA: Don't miss out on nutrients.

Conditions: Fibromyalgia, Rheumatoid arthritis, neck pain, back pain, nerve pain, osteoarthritis

Symptoms: feeling sick, abdominal pain, headache, bloating, bowel problems, constipation, diarrhea, fatigue, GERD, heartburn, IBS, muscle pain, weight gain, weight loss, allergic symptoms, cramps, sensitivity to smells

Triggers: Specific foods, dietary changes, allergies

Treatments: Dietary changes

Categories: Food

Is Food Enough?

Some supplements may help fibromyalgia symptoms or replace nutrients from foods you've had to remove from your diet. These include:

  • Magnesium: pain and tenderness
  • Probiotics: diarrhea and other digestive woes
  • SAM-e: pain, stiffness, and fatigue

Don't take any supplement without first checking with your doctor.

Prompt: Is diet enough?

CTA: Learn supplements for fibromyalgia.

Conditions: Fibromyalgia

Symptoms: Fatigue, feeling sick, weakness, flu-like symptoms, stiffness, abdominal pain, aching, burning, headache, muscle pain, pain, lower back pain, upper back pain, tenderness, bloating, bowel problems, constipation, diarrhea, GERD, heartburn, IBS, weight loss, allergic symptoms, joint tenderness, pain at night, pain worse in A.M., all over pain, tender points

Triggers: specific foods, dietary changes, allergies

Treatments: Dietary changes, supplements

Categories: Food

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Christine Mikstas, RD, LD on January 11, 2019

Sources

SOURCES:

The Arthritis Foundation.

American College of Rheumatology: "Herbal and Natural Remedies."

American Fibromyalgia Syndrome Association.

McIlwain, H. and Bruce, D. The Fibromyalgia Handbook, Holt, 2007.

National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

Togna, G. Journal of Nutrition, 2003.

Beauchamp, G. Nature, 2005.

Amaye, L. Arthritis Research Therapy, 2006.

Idirisinghe, I. British Journal of Nutrition, Sept. 28, 2011.

University of Maryland Medical Center: "Omega 6 fatty acids."

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