Chronic Pain - Diet

(15 Posts)
DunravenBadger Wed 10-Mar-21 07:00:15

There's been a few comments regarding diet and chronic pain so I thought I'd start a thread. Do you find your diet affects your chronic pain levels? Did you gradually eliminate foods and found they helped?

I think I feel worse if I've eaten a lot of sugar and / or certain types of dairy (cheese seems okay but for example white chocolate not). Problem is I'm so tired at the moment that sugar and caffeine seem to be the only thing getting me through the day but they both seem to be pain triggers.

OP’s posts: |
SingToTheSky Wed 10-Mar-21 08:23:26

Hi dunraven (or do you prefer badger 🦡)

I am pretty bad with diet TBH. It’s such a vicious cycle - feel like crap, have no energy for cooking healthy food etc, eat too much crap food. I have ADHD too and when unmedicated the impulsivity and cravings (for a dopamine hit - sugar especially) really don’t help.

I do generally feel better for eating better when I manage it - just a general sense though. I love a lot of healthy food. I also found LCHF useful when I had gestational diabetes, lost weight etc, but it was much easier to cope with when I was pregnant and had the incentive of keeping my numbers low for the baby.

My brain feels too foggy to really think about specific food links IYSWIM. But one thing I have specifically noticed several times is Pepsi Max. I don’t have it all the time (prefer it out of the tap in a bar anyway so lockdown has made this easier) but when I have a fair bit of it, or the occasional Coke Zero, I am always in more pain/fatigue the next day. I think it’s the aspartame but can’t be entirely sure I suppose.

Sooverthemill Wed 10-Mar-21 09:01:09

I think diet is so tricky. DD has unmanaged pain with severe ME, EDS, endometriosis and POTs. Eating is a major issue because she also has hypersensitivity to taste and smell and food can make her retch or even vomit. When she starts to vomit it can go on for days. She has become vegan in the last 3 years which coincidentally seems to have helped the vomiting/nausea. Some days she can only eat dry biscuits. Others I can get rice and tofu in her. Everything has to be 'finger' food as she can't sit up. At the moment her big thing is schloer pear drink and pressed apple juice and sprite. Possibly not a great source of calories. I am happy if she eats 600 calories a day. We are attempting to do 5 small snacks rather than full meals. But her energy levels are so low and her ability to chew and swallow are variable so that's really just hopefulness. We used to have an NHS dietician who was awesome then got switched to a different one who was shit who said stuff like DD must eat 30g of nuts a day and I must give her porridge with 2 tablespoons of olive oil mixed in. Now she is over 18 we don't have to have a dietician anymore thank god.
So we muddle along and pray she doesn't need tube feeding again but her weight is dropping. Last night she ate half a bar of chocolate. That's vegetables right?

MedusasBadHairDay Wed 10-Mar-21 09:05:46

I'm having fun at the moment trying to work out whether my digestive issues are HSD related or not. Just to complicate matters there's a history of both coeliacs and lactose intolerance in the family. So, who knows.

DunravenBadger Wed 10-Mar-21 11:09:34

Thanks for asking Sing. I'm indifferent re name, as long as it's polite I'll answer to anything grin.

I totally agree it's a vicious cycle. Yesterday I was so tired I ate lots of sugary (trigger) foods. Struggled to sleep last night because of the increased pain and now shattered today. Argh!

I've never been pregnant (yet) but I can see why a baby would be a good motivator.

That sounds so tough @Sooverthemill. Sorry the dietician was so rubbish, especially after having a good one. I know a few people who've had bad experiences with them.

I have similar @MedusasBadHairDay. Family history of IBD, although my inflammatory levels are okay so I don't think I have it. Probably just my HSD / IBS.

It's interesting how much food affects chronic pain. It seems like they're unrelated systems but obviously it isn't having an effect on some of us.

OP’s posts: |
doadeer Wed 10-Mar-21 11:39:51

I don't think my facet joint problems are affected by diet but I am conscious about how much extra weight I have, I need to put least amount of pressure through my lumbar spine as possible.

After a hellish pregnancy I put on 3 stone, I was 14st 6 (I'm 5ft 8) - I'm not down to 11st 9 and I've gone down 3 dress sizes. My BMI has gone from obese to healthy. But, and it's a big but, it has been really really really difficult. My energy level is very low, I'm very down because I haven't seen my family for so long, my son has autism and that's been hard plus I'm in daily pain. But I need to feel that I'm doing everything I can to help my back... Psychologically it's something that helps me.

Skap Wed 10-Mar-21 15:46:30

I asked a question on the other thread.
What is an anti inflammatory diet?
For me my life has been dominated by one health problem after another for 3 years. I have RA and other conditions but nothing gastric and I have no weight problem. I'm one of those annoying people with slim genes who can eat what they like. So the prospect of restricted my diet appals me. I do eat a fairly healthy diet but I also eat whatever I like in the way of carbs, fat, sugar.
I have never noticed a direct connection between what I eat and my pain, doesn't mean it's not there though.


Sooverthemill Wed 10-Mar-21 20:27:43

@Skap here are two links

And two Dr Myhill has links through to diet and supplements. She is a specialist in ME and other chronic conditions. Sadly her waiting list is full ( been trying to get on it for DD for 5 years)

TiddleTaddleTat Wed 10-Mar-21 20:32:50

Can I join? I'm hypermobile with coeliac, PoTS and likely MCAS, for which I'm on a low histamine diet. Symptoms have been really bad over the past year after I had Covid in March.
The low histamine diet is similar to the anti inflammatory diet but excludes a load of foods. I'm struggling with it, and have recently confirmed that I can no longer eat corn (whole, flour or starch) which rules out all of the GF breads and pastas that I used to eat. So that's crap. All I want is a grilled cheese sandwich and ale. Or a coffee and cake. Feel like I'm constantly denying myself and it really gets me down.

sonnysunshine Wed 10-Mar-21 20:36:57

100% for me with wheat (gluten doesn't seem to be the issue but if I eat gluten free wheat I am a wreck). Even if I've eaten just a small bit of wheat I will have a huge flare up for a couple of weeks. Sugar doesn't help but not as bad.

redpandaalert Wed 10-Mar-21 20:44:51

Recently started an anti inflammatory diet. Low/no sugar has had a massive impact. High in fish, legumes, oats, rye, veg and fruit. I’ve cut out all wheat products and milk but not all dairy. I think no sugar or processed foods and no milky coffee has made the most impact. You can have dark chocolate and red wine but I’ve stopped the wine for the moment until my pain is better. I have EDS/fibro/osteo and possibly RA.

Would recommend The Pain Free Mindset A dr deepak Ravindran plus audible have a free series called gutfull that very similar advice.

Dr Ravindran says no one thing is like to cure you so it needs to be diet plus other factors.

I’m going to batch cook some healthy foods when I can’t move and having a bad flare. As a bad flare often leads to alcohol to kill the pain and homemade cake to make me feel better.

Pinkclarko Wed 10-Mar-21 20:54:59

Ooh this is timely. I’m awaiting results from a scan and blood tests but I probably have arthritis or some other inflammatory thing. The cycle usually goes-fine all week, Friday wine, Saturday sugar in coffee and generally then sore inflamed back. Convinced there’s a link

DianaT1969 Wed 10-Mar-21 21:07:47

I was just reading a thread about someone who gets constipation if she has one tiny iron tablet a day. It made me think (along with my antihistamine tablet) what a massive effect a tiny thing can have on our bodies when digested.
If I had chronic pain, I would choose 3 items that are recommended for anti-inflammatory diets and eat only those 3 things for a week. With plenty of water. That way I would know how much effect food had on my system. I could do anything for a week if I was determined enough - and chronic pain would do it.

TiddleTaddleTat Wed 10-Mar-21 21:48:57

@DianaT1969 that's a good strategy for identifying food triggers. I managed to identify coeliac this way , and that long histamine diet helps me. I'm now stumbling at the next step - once you have a small list of foods that you know you can tolerate on but the list is too short and you're struggling to add new foods in without exacerbating symptoms

DianaT1969 Wed 10-Mar-21 22:59:33

Yes, as you say, adding to the small list of foods is a minefield. Plus, right now life may be very dull abdy depressing for people and food and drink is something that makes our day better. It's hard to abstain when we're feeling low.

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