Do you have — or do you know of anyone who complains of — aches and pains? Of course you do… Pain is rampant in our society. Arthritis, Fibromyalgia, Tendonitis, etc. are all very common. The good news is many people living in pain are starting to look outside pharmaceutical medications to cope with their discomfort (who wants to live a life on medication?).
For me, combating pain is all about getting down to the root cause of why you’re suffering. My patients know one of my favorite sayings is, “Garbage in equals garbage out.” If you want to get over any pain you have — headaches, muscle aches, etc. — it’s critical to analyze your environment and what you’re putting into your body. Then you have to make some tough changes. Here are seven ways to do that.
Easy on the Caffeine…
Fibromyalgia is believed to be linked to an imbalance of brain chemicals that control mood. It’s often accompanied by restless sleep and chronic fatigue. Fibro patients may try to ease fatigue with stimulants like caffeine, but they may end up doing more harm than good — caffeine can act as a “loan shark” for energy, making it very taxing on your adrenal glands.
It’s the adrenals that provide the “reserve” energy necessary to repair cells from chronic illness. Green and white teas offer caffeine that does not tax your body — they’re good alternatives to coffee.
Avoid Nightshade Vegetables
Night what? This common family of vegetables includes: Tomatoes, potatoes and eggplants. And they’re often linked to muscle/joint pain aggravations. These foods can increase cytokines — certain pain-promoting molecules. Try removing these foods from your diet for four to six weeks. This can often make a huge difference in how you feel!
Omega-3 fatty acids, found in salmon and a variety of fish, have been touted as a heart-healthy food, but they may help with pain as well. The fatty acids can reduce inflammation and help improve brain function. A 2006 survey of arthritis patients found daily fish oil supplements reduced pain symptoms in 60 per cent of them. Quality of fish oil is critical, as many poor quality fish oils contain impurities and toxins. Professional level brands are your best bet to ensure optimal quality and purity. As always, work with a qualified health-care provider before beginning any supplement regime.Done With Dairy
Unbeknownst to most, dairy sensitivities and/or lactose intolerance affects about 70 per cent of adults worldwide. As a result, many have trouble digesting dairy products leading to increased inflammatory molecules in their body. In a 1998 study, researchers tested whether blood samples taken from 40 fibromyalgia patients reacted to substances found in various foods; the blood of 25 per cent of the subjects demonstrated an immune response to dairy products. The less pasteurized dairy, the better!
Avoid Food Additives
Food additives are synthetic chemicals — things that were never meant to be consumed by anything or anyone. One of the most common, Monosodium Glutamate (MSG), often creates problems for those living in pain. MSG — a high-sodium flavor enhancer often added to fast food, Chinese food and processed packaged foods — is a an excitatory neurotransmitter that may stimulate pain receptors. A 2007 animal study in the journal Pain suggests increases in glutamate in muscles may contribute to pain sensitivity. So rule of thumb when reading the ingredients list: “If you can’t pronounce something, steer clear of the product.”
Slow Down on Junk food
The National Fibromyalgia Research Association recommends limiting or eliminating refined sugar, caffeine, fried foods and highly processed foods from the diet — in other words, most fast food, candy and vending-machine products. In addition to contributing to weight gain, these foods may irritate muscles, disrupt sleep and compromise the immune system. Working with a health-care professional, highly trained in clinical nutrition, will help you overcome cravings for these foods.
Get Your Food Allergies/Sensitivities Tested
One of the first steps in addressing chronic pain is to test for underlying food allergies/sensitivities. Most people who’re tested for allergies have only been tested for the type 1 (immediate allergies). But you should also ask to be tested for IgG — the other allergy pain producing antibody. A simple blood test can help determine if you have a pain producing reaction. Not only are hidden food allergies/sensitivities helpful for determining underlying triggers for pain, they can be incredibly helpful for improving digestion, skin, weight and mood issues.
Dr. John Dempster is a Naturopathic Doctor in Toronto. He’s the founder of The Dempster Clinic — Center for Integrated Medicine and embraces the biochemical uniqueness of each patient. With a large focus on regenerative and anti-aging medicine, he focuses on optimizing nutritional and biochemical imbalances. Dr. D can be contacted through his website, www.thedempsterclinic.com.
Wonder why taking medication long-term is bad for you? Watch the below video.