Many people dealing with chronic pain from conditions such as fibromyalgia could very well be seeking treatment from all the wrong places. Its an extremely complex condition, and can also come with other issues like irritable bowel syndrome and arthritis. Dr. Daniel Arkfeld of the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California says that There are usually other things triggering it, so you have to individualize treatment for each patient. For some of these patients, relief lies in their diets and lifestyles. Medication usually only reduces the symptoms of fibromyalgia up to 50%, and to get the other half of their lives back a number of people are turning to dietary changes.
One survey showed that 42% of peoples symptoms were worsened by certain foods. This can be in part to certain chemicals in food that trigger excess inflammation and increased sensitivity in the spinal cord which can have neurological effects. Organic foods produced without the use of pesticides and preservatives can be a great place to start, as these are the most likely to cause chemical reactions of this nature, and even something as simple as cutting back on red meat consumption has been a help with numerous patients.
A lot of cases of chronic pain are accompanied by chronic fatigue. A lot of people try to substitute caffeine for actual rest, and in doing so are causing more harm than good. Caffeine can stay in your system for hours after youve consumed it and prevent you from getting the real rest your body needs. Dr. Kent Horloff, MD is the founding medical director of the Fibromyalgia and Fatigue Centers, and he says that Caffeine is a loan shark for energy. We recommend not using a lot. He also suggests a low sugar and low carbohydrate diet for those suffering from fibromyalgia as a vast majority of patients have low adrenal functioning which can affect their metabolism and lead to hypoglycemia.
Just because Dr. Horloff recommends a low sugar diet doesnt mean you should run to the artificial sweeteners though. Aspartame, which is what is used in most sugar free products can actually cause the activation of the group of neurons which increase pain sensitivity. Other artificial sweeteners like xylitol can cause flare ups of IBS too. In some cases, you may just have to try a process of elimination over the course of a few weeks to see what foods have effects on your pain. Fresh, organic foods are the best choices for a healthy lifestyle, and some studies have shown that supplementation of certain vitamins and minerals like magnesium can have big impacts on conditions like fibromyalgia due to its effects in regulating and inhibiting nerve receptors.