Chicagoland Advanced Pain Specialists
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Happy New Year From Dr. Chami and the CAPS Pain Care Team

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

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