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Most people know that eating a well-balanced, healthy diet can reduce your risk of health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes and obesity. However, the foods you eat may also provide relief from chronic pain or keep you from developing certain types of pain, such as low-back pain.

Eating a Healthy Diet

Eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly is the best way to maintain a healthy weight, both now and as you grow older. In addition, keeping off those extra pounds can reduce chronic pain from certain health conditions, such as arthritis or back problems.

Eating a well-balanced diet also provides your body with the vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that it needs to stay healthy and pain-free. A healthy diet includes eating a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and low-fat protein sources. Here are some types of pain that can be helped by following a healthy diet:

  • Back pain. Eating foods rich in calcium and obtaining enough vitamin D from the sun or supplements will keep your bones strong. This can help prevent osteoporosis — weakening of the bones — that can lead to bone fractures and back pain.
  • Fibromyalgia. Some people with fibromyalgia feel better when they avoid or eat certain foods. There is no diet that has been proven to work for everyone, but eating healthy will help you avoid other problems that may make your fibromyalgia worse. If you suffer from fibromyalgia, consider keeping a food journal in which you also note your symptoms. If you notice a trend between eating certain foods and the worsening of your symptoms, you can try to cut out that food to see if it helps prevent or alleviate your symptoms.
  • Arthritis. Certain foods may relieve symptoms associated with arthritis, including: fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin E, omega-3 fatty acids and other nutrients. Avoiding excessive alcohol may also improve your symptoms.

Dietary Supplements

Certain dietary supplements may benefit people with chronic pain. Although some medical studies have been done on these, more research is needed to know how well they will work to relieve pain. However, some individuals with the following conditions have benefited from eating foods that contain the following nutrients.

  • Rheumatoid arthritis: omega-3 fatty acids (found in fish oil) and gamma-linolenic acid
  • Migraine: coenzyme Q10, riboflavin and the herbs feverfew and butterbur
  • Osteoarthritis: glucosamine and chondroitin, omega-3 fatty acids, SAMe, turmeric, ginger and capsaicin
  • Low back pain: omega-3 fatty acids, glucosamine and chondroitin, bromelain and turmeric

Before taking any supplements, check with your doctor, chiropractor or other health care provider. Some dietary supplements can cause side effects or may interact with your prescription medication. They may also be harmful if you are pregnant or nursing.

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  • "I leave here feeling confident that I have the resources to manage my pain and live normally, and that's priceless."
    Alycen V.
  • "I'm a runner. When I wasn't able to run due to leg problems, I was devastated. But a consultation at Multicare Health Clinic identified the problem and after some adjustments, stimulation treatments and therapy, I'm running again!"
    Lisa L.
  • "At night my right hand would go painfully numb at least 2-3 times where I could not sleep. Now, I don't have that pain and can get a full night sleep."
    Janet D.
  • "Not only is my pain level down to zero, but what I'm really thrilled with, is that I have normal feeling in my hands."
    Jill L.
  • "I now can go a full week without pain and headaches."
    Luke W.
  • "My company encouraged all of us employees to get screened at Multicare. I didn't know what to expect. It was easy and I learned so much. The orthotics they prescribed really help me to feel more stable and confident at work."
    Jim J.
  • "I wasn't able to use my hand the way I should. After working with Dr. Sneller and the physical therapy team, I can use my hand again."
    Ivy I.
  • "After an accident at work I didn't think I'd ever get relief from my aching shoulder. But, the doctors at Multicare gave me adjustments and physical therapy and now I feel normal again."
    Cliff C.
  • "There couldn't be a better physical therapy team in Siouxland! Not only did my knee feel so much better after six weeks, but I feel like I made new friends."
    Karla K.
  • "After my knee surgery I was asked where I wanted to do my physical therapy, I chose Multicare Health Clinic and I'm so glad I did! Dr. Steve and the therapy assistants (Sara and Megan) are fabulous! They know what they're doing and they all really seemed to care about my recovery. I'm feeling fantastic! I'll definitely go back again whenever I need therapy or adjustments."
    Sheri J.
  • "I'm now a believer now! I didn't think chiropractic could help my foot problems. But after meeting with Dr. Pistello and Dr. Dave for a few weeks, I'm feeling so much better!"
    Gino G.
  • "Dr. Sneller helped. I haven't been feeling dizzy anymore."
    Belinda B
  • "After my consultatin with the doctors at Multicare Health Clinic, I understand how to address my balance issues."
    Anna A.
  • "Being able to present my back pain to three different professions in one place and knowing that they are working together to make me better is very comforting."
    Charlie P.
  • "I wasn't able to use my hand the way I should. After working with Dr. Sneller and the physical therapy team, I can use my hand again."
    Henry H.
  • "My shoulder and neck feel so much better. I now have the knowledge, motivation, desire and tools to keep up the exercises."
    Barb B.
  • "I'm so glad my sister referred me to Multicare! My elbow hasn't felt this good in a long time. Thanks to the great physical therapy team there."
    Ellen E.