Dr. David R. Seaman, DC, MS, DABCN (Diplomate of the American Board of Chiropractic Nutritionist) in an article entitled 'Getting a Handle on Pain and Inflammation,' printed in the December, 2009 issue of To Your Health magazine, writes, 'The most common symptom that brings a patient into a doctor's office is pain that does not go away adequately, which is called chronic pain.Back pain, neck pain, and headaches are some of the most common types of chronic pain.'
Why do we have chronic pain? We have it because, as we increase in age, we experience increased levels of low-grade systemic inflammation.
Neither Dr. Seaman nor I can deny the fact that as we all go through life, we suffer injuries from which we never fully recover - at least, not to pre-injury status. Functionality is lost by these injuries and repeated injuries on a micro or macro scale follow more easily because of them. They hurt. Very often, though, the pain we feel is not entirely due to old or repeated injuries. Those old injuries might not hurt at all, or they might hurt to a lesser degree, if we did not have the added factor of low-grade systemic inflammation. Do we all have low-grade systemic inflammation? We do. It's part of life. In terms of general health and wellness, though, increased systemic inflammation is one of the distinctive changes seen in aging.
One of many studies conducted in Greece suggests that adherence to a Mediterranean-type diet decreases the blood markers of systemic inflammation (Dedoussis et al)1. The Mediterranean diet has long been touted as the model diet for optimum health, longevity, and decreased incidences of cardiovascular disease, certain cancers, and other chronic diseases (Dedoussis et al)1. According to the Mediterranean Food Pyramid, as presented in 1995 by Willett et al2, the diet includes fruit, vegetables, unrefined breads and cereal products, potatoes, beans, nuts, and seeds. Olive oil is the primary source of added fat. Fish and poultry are eaten in modest amounts, as are low-fat yogurts and cheeses. The consumption of red meat and eggs is very limited and wine is taken moderately with meals.
Dr. Seaman writes (To Your Health, Dec. 2009), 'Our diets substantially determine the inflammation levels in the body, which can directly impact the development of pain. The foods that cause inflammation and lead to pain include refined sugar, refined grains and related flour products, refined oils, and obese meat.'
Very well, then. To get out of pain, or reduce your pain, the first thing you might want to consider is changing your mind: change your mind about what you are eating. The second step is to actually change what foods you're buying and preparing and to discover that eating in a healthy way involves a diet of pretty good-tasting food. The third thing is to get up one morning and realize you feel better - and act on it.
It's a start.