Chronic pain can have several causes, including illness, disease, and inflammation. In fact, inflammation plays a key role in several pain-causing chronic diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.
While acute inflammation is a beneficial physiological response that alerts us to bodily harm like cuts or infections, chronic inflammation is a long-term dilation of blood vessels and heightened immune system response that can lead to many serious health conditions.
Chronic pain is among the most common chronic conditions in the United States, but estimates of its prevalence and impact have varied widely. Recently, the National Center for Health Statistics of the CDC added a new set of questions relating to pain to its National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), a large household-based annual survey that offers valuable insights into the health statuses of U.S. adults nationwide.
In an article published in Pain, researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Mass Eye and Ear report that 50.2 million (20.5 percent) U.S. adults experience chronic pain based on analysis of the new NHIS data.
If you suffer from chronic pain, diet can play an important part of controlling inflammation levels in the body. Many of these foods speed healing, protect the cells from damage, and deliver essential vitamins, minerals, or other nutrients while they are at it.
- Apple Cider Vinegar– Apple cider vinegar has been a home remedy for a multitude of health conditions for thousands of years. It has also been used to manage pain and reduce inflammation.
- Turmeric– Turmeric is the pungent yellow spice used in curry. It is related to ginger and shares many of the same properties, fighting pain and inflammation.
- Ginger– This spice is often used to reduce nausea, but it has been shown to be just as effective as aspirin or ibuprofen in reducing pain. Studies have shown that Gingerol, the active ingredient in ginger, also works well against rheumatoid arthritis.
- Coconut Oil– Coconut oil has some natural antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. This makes it a good choice to get your immune system on track while reducing pain. Many people use it internally and externally for back and joint pain.
- Berries and Grapes – Red, purple, and blue fruits contain antioxidants and anti-inflammatories that reduce pain and swelling. Try blackberries, cherries, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, cranberries, and red grapes.