Can Your Diet Affect Chronic Pain?

There are certain foods that are considered to cause inflammation in the body.

While pain is defined as “physical suffering or discomfort caused by illness or injury,” chronic pain is pain lasting longer than three months. Chronic pain affects over 100 million Americans; that’s more people than diabetes, heart disease, and cancer combined. Each September is designated as Pain Awareness Month where advocates like me help to raise awareness about issues related to chronic pain.

The most common forms of chronic pain are from migraines, lower back pain, knees, and neck pain. I happen to suffer from back and neck issues, along with fibromyalgia, and suffer some level of pain daily. Chronic pain can lead to depression, trouble sleeping or concentrating, and is the number one reason for long-term disability care in the U.S. It is very difficult to treat chronic pain. Opioids are often prescribed to people seeking relief from chronic pain, yet only about 23% of people experience relief. This can then lead to misuse, people self-increasing their dosages, and then often an addiction to pain killers.

Chronic pain manifests itself differently in everyone, which also means there is no one size fits all answer to treating it. Drugs, physical therapy, behavioral therapy, or supplements/diet – or some combination of the above – may offer relief. While an imbalanced diet may not be causing your migraines or back pain, it’s no secret that proper nutrition is the foundation to a healthy life, so why not consider your diet when it comes to chronic pain?

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Letter Board No. 36

Life with fibromyalgia can be tough.

Life with fibromyalgia can be tough. It can be downright debilitating at times. On day 13 of a very wicked fibro flare I finally started feeling human again. Not quite 100% mind you, but it appears I am finally on the downside of this one.

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What Is a Fibromyalgia Flare?

Flare-ups can happen without warning.

We’re in the midst of a global pandemic. There is a Sahara dust storm that made its way all the way to the U.S., triggering all kinds of reactions. It seems like it is always cold, flu, strep, or allergy season here in Texas. Even before coronavirus, I religiously wiped down grocery carts and washed/sanitized my hands constantly when in public places. No matter the circumstance – weather changes, travel, exposure to other people and their germs, stress, staying in, eating out – all of those things can add up to a compromised immune system. So when I start feeling like I am coming down with something, I have to pause and think – Am I getting sick? Or is it just a Fibromyalgia Flare?

“Flare-ups can happen without warning and are mostly likely to occur if a person with fibromyalgia is stressed or under a lot of pressure.

A flare-up can last anywhere from a few days to weeks at a time.”

From How to Recognize a Fibro Flare
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Ask Me What Doesn’t Hurt

Fibromyalgia is characterized by widespread pain, fatigue, and sleep issues.

When I was first diagnosed with Fibromyalgia almost 20 years ago, it wasn’t a well known or understood condition. Twenty years later and it’s still not well understood by the medical community, but I would say it is more well known these days thanks to high profile people with fibromyalgia, like Lady Gaga, Morgan Freeman, and Lena Dunham, among others.

Fibromyalgia is characterized by widespread pain, fatigue, and sleep issues. I typically wake up with morning stiffness that can be felt the second my feet hit the floor. And some days I often think the list of what doesn’t hurt is shorter than the list that does.

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