Pain is the number one reason people seek medical care. It has the potential to diminish quality of life and fosters significant consequences for the national economy. Both patients and doctors find frustration in the many causes of pain and ways it presents itself. What other options exist to help lessen the side effects of medications and eliminate daily aches and discomfort that effect quality of life?

The location or source of the pain is very important. The area where the discomfort originates can dictate what type of treatment is needed. Common sources include the joints, muscles and nerves. All treatments don't work the same for everyone, and some might need more than one treatment for their pain.

Diet and lifestyle become major factors in pain relief. A poor diet limits the body’s ability to repair itself. Any injured tissue needs a constant supply of incoming nutrients to help that area repair, in addition to the body’s usual daily requirements. To improve pain, specific dietary instructions include:

  • Focus on whole foods, meaning foods the way nature presents them. This means fruits, vegetables and healthy proteins like beans and fish.
  • Cut down on the sweets and refined sugars. These weaken the body’s repair systems and will disrupt the balance of healthy minerals (like magnesium) in the body.

  • Get rid of soft drinks. Chronic pain calls for improving lifestyle choices. Soft drinks provide absolutely no benefit for chronic pain sufferers and are a great place to start making changes.

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  • Cut out the fried foods and margarine. These are major contributors to inflammation, which is essentially like lighting a match in the area of the pain.

  • Get sunshine. Patients with chronic pain have been shown to have low levels of vitamin D, which is needed throughout the body.
On the next page, learn about the causes and treatments of joint pain.