Inflammation and Suffering
More than 50 million North Americans suffer from chronic pain, and because of this we have a nation of people who rely on non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for relief.
Unfortunately, this medication is associated with various side effects that can be life-threatening for some; usually from ulcer-related damage and/or heart damage; from drugs like Celebrex, ibuprofen and naproxen.
From a dietary perspective, it is well known that we consume excessive omega-6 fatty acids; which get converted into the very painful prostaglandin-2 (PGE2). Over time, the excess omega-6 fatty acids become incorporated in human tissues, an example being joints. This leads to early onset arthritis simply from overconsumption of omega-6’s! Not OK!
In short, this means we need to stop eating “plates full of pain” – the best examples of which include fast food, bags of potato chips, and omega-6-oiled packaged foods. It is difficult to modulate pain unless the excessive consumption of “painful” foods is slowed. Look online for the many sources of omega-6 that you may be consuming.
Now, making behavioral changes to reduce dietary inflammation is not easy for most people, but if you are suffering you need to understand that food choices can really influence painful body chemistry – I urge you to eat more vegetables, fruit, nuts, omega-3 seeds, and lean animal protein which are known to substantially reduce the inflammatory chemistry associated with pain.
An added benefit to making such dietary changes is that fruits and vegetables contain salicylates. Vegetable and fruit intake at a level consumed by vegetarians provides a level of dietary salicylates that appears to be equivalent to 75 mg of aspirin.
Basic supplementation can also be considered. No matter what level of dietary change is made, supplementation with magnesium, vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids seems reasonable, as low levels of each have been linked to the expression of inflammation.
Magnesium deficiency in animal models is known to increase pain sensor activity, and vitamin D deficiency has been linked to musculoskeletal pain expression in general and with low back pain in particular. These supplements may be beneficial no matter what level of dietary change is initiated.
Dietary change appears to be a key to creating body chemistry that is anti-inflammatory / analgesic. Supplemental magnesium, vitamin D, and omega-3 fatty acids are important additions.
An additional “once in a while as needed” supplement to consider is white willow bark, which may be an effective alternative to NSAID use – and not only is it much less dangerous, it’s less expensive too!