Is your daily life limited by chronic pain and inflammation? While this isn’t an uncommon occurrence, it is avoidable in many cases. Maintaining a nutritious diet can become an important part of any physical therapy regimen, especially if you are experiencing chronic pain. Everything you consume works to fuel your body, so eating the right foods can aid in a quicker recovery from painful conditions.
By exercising regularly, managing your stress, and eating nutritious meals, you can help significantly reduce the pain and inflammation you are feeling. To learn more about how our physical therapists can help you manage your nutrition, contact us today to schedule a consultation.
How can nutrition help reduce my pain and inflammation?
Nutritionists have had patients report great success in turning around their symptoms by adopting an anti-inflammatory diet. Inflammation is your body’s way of trying to heal, which can be accelerated through a nutritional diet that complements the removal of toxins.
The three basic components of an anti-inflammatory diet are:
- Try your best to avoid red meat altogether.
It is best to avoid red meat while participating in an anti-inflammatory diet. If this proves difficult, red meat is okay in small doses; however, it should be an extremely rare treat in your diet. The proteins in red meat require extra work from your kidneys to process, so it will slow down the healing process if you eat a lot of it. One small piece of steak, one time per week, should be your maximum limit. Luckily, chicken and fish are just fine for an anti-inflammatory diet. Enjoy them with all of those servings of vegetables!
- Reduce your grain and dairy intake.
In order to strengthen your body’s immune response, you’ll want to avoid simple carbs and sugars. Unfortunately, that means no donuts, no pastries, and no white breads. Dairy products should also be extremely limited, so very little cheese or milk with anything. Whole grains, such as barley, oats, brown rice, and wheat are best.
- Add in more veggies!
Raw broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and cabbage are the best options when sustaining an anti-inflammatory diet. They can be cooked if you prefer, but raw vegetables are generally better for speeding up the inflammation process. You’ll want to eat up to nine servings per day, and you can substitute fruits for a couple of those servings to break it up, if it becomes too much. Otherwise, the timeless saying “eat your veggies” is key.
Why am I experiencing inflammation?
Your immune system can naturally respond to injury, ailment, or other harm through inflammation. If you have an infection, wound, tissue damage, or buildup of toxins in your body, the immune response is triggered to deal with it. Without inflammation, injuries wouldn’t be able to heal; however, if this process goes on for too long, chronic inflammation can occur. This can lead to serious health conditions, such as arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, or even some cancers. If you experience persistent pain, it is wise to contact a physical therapist as soon as possible, as it may mean that the inflammation has become chronic.
Traditionally, chronic inflammation has been treated through strict rest and medication. However, a lack of exercise can actually make inflammation worse, as it constricts joints and causes muscles to stiffen. Additionally, medications come with a whole slew of side effects, some of which can be dangerous and/or habit-forming. Luckily, pain and inflammation can be treated in much easier and healthier ways, including diet.
What else can I do?
By maintaining a nutritious dietary plan with the help of a physical therapist, you should quickly begin to notice a decrease in your pain and inflammation symptoms. In addition to this, you can also help manage your pain and inflammation through:
- Daily exercise: Exercise will keep the muscles warm, which can alleviate pain or stiffness, and stop the inflammation from becoming worse.
- Stress management: If you’re feeling mentally stressed, your body can become physically stressed – causing more inflammation and a longer recovery rate. Taking time to relax can actually allow you to heal quicker!
- Weight loss: If you have some unwanted weight, getting down to your ideal body weight will help with your pain and inflammation.
Schedule your consultation today to discuss nutrition plans with one of our licensed physical therapists, and gain additional advice on other ways you can help manage your pain!