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Holiday Eating Can Worsen Your Pain: Dr. Chami Offers Help

Donít let chronic pain ruin your holiday season. Data from recent studies suggests that central sensitization, in which neurons in your spinal cord become sensitized by inflammation or cell damage, may be involved in the way those with chronic pain process pain levels.

As part of a holistic approach to pain at CAPS Pain Care, Dr. Chami offers treatment plans that incorporate dietary considerations, as well as systemic conditions and medications you may be taking. Request a referral from your primary care physician to get a treatment plan that works through any holiday season.

Certain chemicals in the foods you eat may trigger the release of neurotransmitters that heighten this sensitivity. Although there have been only a handful of studies, the following eating rules canít hurt, and may help, when dealing with chronic pain.

Limit Sugar as Much as Possible.
Increased insulin levels will typically dramatically worsen pain. So you will want to limit all sugars and this would typically include fresh fruit juices. Whole fresh fruit is the preferred method for consuming fruit products. If you are overweight, have high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes, you will also want to limit grains as much as possible as they are metabolized very similarly to sugars. This would also include organic unprocessed grains. Wheat and gluten grains are the top ones to avoid.

Avoid caffeine.
Fibromyalgia, for example, is believed to be linked to an imbalance of brain chemicals that control mood, and it is often linked with inadequate sleep and fatigue. The temptation is to artificially and temporarily eliminate feelings of fatigue with stimulants like caffeine, but this approach does more harm than good in the long run. Though caffeine provides an initial boost of energy, it is no substitute for sleep, and is likely to keep you awake.

Try avoiding nightshade vegetables.
Nightshade vegetables like tomatoes, potatoes, and eggplant may trigger arthritis and pain conditions in some people.

Be Careful with Your Fats.
Animal based omega-3 fats like DHA and EPA have been touted as a heart-healthy food, and they may help with pain, as well. They can help reduce inflammation and improve brain function. At the same time, you want to eliminate all trans-fat and fried foods, as these will promote inflammation.

Avoid aspartame.
The artificial sweetener found in some diet sodas and many sugar-free sweets is part of a chemical group called excitotoxins, which activate neurons that can increase your sensitivity to pain.

Stay away from junk food.
Limit or eliminate fast food, candy, and vending-machine products. In addition to contributing to weight gain and the development of unhealthy eating habits, these diet-wreckers may also irritate your muscles, disrupt your sleep, and compromise your immune system.

Read more at WebMD