Chronic pain interferes with daily life and is a big problem, with over 3 million cases in the US each year. Dealing with constant pain can lead to lack of energy, feeling tired, mood changes, and difficulty sleeping. The cause of chronic pain is not always obvious but the daily struggle is real.
Some evidence suggests long-term inflammation in the body can be a trigger for chronic pain. As can being overweight since more stress is placed on joints. According to the CDC more than 70% of American adults are overweight which is a big concern for health and well-being.
Taking a closer look at chronic pain, researchers from Ohio State studied men and women ages 20-78 and found those who followed the Mediterranean Diet rich in fish, olive oil, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and beans had less pain regardless of how much the participant weighed. The Mediterranean Diet is known for its anti-inflammatory benefits as well as for its anti-aging and disease fighting powers.
More research is needed on blood markers of inflammation and long term dietary choices before cause-and effect can be confirmed, but researchers are encouraged by their findings and the association between diet and pain management.
Charles Emery, Ph.D., director, Cardiopulmonary Behavioral Medicine Program, Department of Psychology, Ohio State University; Connie Diekman, M.Ed., director of university nutrition, Washington University in St. Louis; February 2017, Pain