Eight Unhelpful Myths about Chronic Pain
The Emotional Component of Pain
Chronic Pain Risk Factors Questionnaire
The Physical Components of Pain 
   Inflammation and How it Affects Pain
      Foods that increase inflammation/pain
   Ways to Reduce Inflammation and Pain 
       Foods that reduce inflammation/pain
       Hydration to reduce inflammation/pain
       Exercise to reduce inflammation/pain
Other Steps to Help Overcome Chronic Pain

How You Can Feel Better Right Now
Some Current Research on Pain

The Eight Most Unhelpful Myths About Chronic Pain 

1. Pain always means there’s something wrong. 

Pain has traditionally been considered to be a ‘signal’ of physical injury. This warning type of pain is called acute pain. Chronic pain refers to pain that continues after the normal healing time, or when the injury appears to have healed.

Chronic pain can be caused by muscle tension, changes in circulation, postural imbalances, psychological distress and neurological changes. It is also known that unrelieved pain is associated with increased metabolic rate, spontaneous excitation of the central nervous system, changes in blood circulation in the brain, and changes in the limbic-hypothalmic system (responsible for emotions). The involvement of neurological processes explains why chronic pain can occur in the absence of external stimulation. So pain can be caused by many things, and chronic pain in particular cannot be understood in terms of the simple physical injury = pain model. Chronic pain is also not always what it appears. Sometimes pain is labelled “chronic” when it has lasted a long time and the cause cannot be ascertained. Where the cause of pain is unknown, it is not strictly correct to label this chronic pain, since the pain may be signaling some injury that is undiscovered. Or the pain may include ‘flare-ups’ caused by over-activity, in which case it is really acute pain. At the end of the day, you have to decide what your pain means, based on a combination of medical advice and your own opinions.

2. If the cause for your pain can’t be found, it must be “in your head”. 

Although we now know that pain is caused and maintained by a combination of physical, psychological and neurological factors, many people continue to act as though it can be understood in terms of physical pathology. For example, surgeons who tell patients “well the operation was a success, you shouldn’t be in pain.’ or doctors who refuse to prescribe medication to people because they cannot find a physical cause for the pain. The notion that pain should be proportional to injury is an old but very popular idea which comes from the specificity theory of pain which proposes that pain is caused by physical injury. Despite its continuing popularity in popular consciousness, this theory has many problems and was abandoned over 30 years ago. One of the problems of specificity theory was its inability to explain the high number of people who have pain despite there being no obvious physical cause. For example, a survey in the USA a few years ago, of 10,000 cases of low back pain, found that in over 75% of cases there was no adequate medical explanation for the pain. It seems unlikely that all these people’s pain is ‘psychological’. The discovery of the role of neurological processes also means that pain that occurs in the absence of detectable external stimulation should not be considered abnormal. Rather than saying pain is all “in the mind” we can say that we can say is that it is “in the brain”.

3. Pain is good for your character. 

As ridiculous as this sounds, many people act as though it were true. Pain sufferers do this by not complaining about pain, by persisting with behaviors that only aggravate their pain, and by ignoring signs that their pain is inadequately controlled (eg; irritability, poor sleep) instead of doing something about it. Treating specialists do this by withholding effective medication or encouraging activities that unduly aggravate the pain. Chronic pain sufferers are more likely to suffer from anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts, trauma, family problems and a range of other psychological symptoms. Unrelieved chronic pain is soul-destroying, not character-building.

4. Showing pain or complaining is a sign of weakness. 

Many cultures see the ability to withstand pain as a sign of strength. This ability would certainly have had survival value in past more war-like societies. Although times have changed, we can see an echo of this tradition today when people are afraid to talk about their pain for fear of being labelled a complainer or weak. Not reporting pain can lead to poor management of injury, medical mismanagement, as well as increasing the likelihood of chronic pain and depression. Pain can only be overcome if it is acknowledged and expressed.

5. Some people don’t want to get better because they benefit from being in pain. 

‘Secondary gain’ is the medical jargon for any apparent benefit the patient gains from being in pain, such as attention, financial compensation etc. ‘Secondary gain’ can be used to imply that the sufferer is hanging onto his/her pain, which usually only makes the pain sufferer feel guilty and judged. For most pain sufferers, secondary gains are rarely more desirable than having their health and life back. Research has also shown that exaggerating about pain or malingering is actually rare. Even if someone is holding onto their pain as it were, they should not be judged for this. It is more constructive to find the reasons behind this and deal with them.

6. The best patient doesn’t ask too many questions of the doctor. 

The doctor-patient relationship has traditionally meant the patient adopting a humble and respectful attitude. Many of us are keenly aware of how busy our doctors are and reluctant to burden them with too many questions. Chronic pain is also a difficult problem for doctors to treat and we may be embarrassed to admit that, say, the medication wasn’t effective. Unfortunately, this often leads to underreporting pain which is one of the major causes of failure of treatment. The doctor-patient relationship is always a two-way street. This is particularly so with pain which is invisible and does not show up on any scan, making the doctor totally dependent on what you tell him. It is not only important, it is your responsibility to tell your doctor what your symptoms are.

7. Chronic pain is generally well-managed medically. 

We place a lot of faith in the medical system. Sometimes there is a tendency to ‘blame the patient’ when treatment fails. However, a recent research report stated that Chronic pain is “grossly under-treated” in over 50% of cases. In a recent survey 50% of chronic pain patients had inadequate pain relief and had considered suicide to escape their pain. The truth is that pain management is an area of medicine that is acknowledged to be in a state of crisis. There are a number of reasons for this, including cultural, historical and scientific factors. For example, pain management is a relatively new specialty it was not even taught at many medical schools until recently. Many people still dismiss pain that is not accompanied by an obvious physical injury. It bears repeating that if you have excessive pain, you must take responsibility for communicating any problems to your doctor – sometimes in spite of assurances that “we’ve done everything we can..”

8. “You’ll just have to learn to live with it…” 

With a few rare exceptions, there is no need for anybody to have to live with unbearable pain nowadays. Sometimes, after many investigations and different treatments, the pain can still be too much to bear. Don’t give up. There are more treatment options available than ever before, ranging from advanced medical procedures to alternative approaches such as acupuncture, TENS machines and psychological approaches, to powerful opioids. Many people give up hope too soon because of fear or ignorance. Do not become discouraged keep asking and looking for information. 

                                                           Mark Grant, Psychologist 


What is Pain?

The sensation of pain arises in the nervous system. It has a variety of causes, but the experience of pain is variable and subjective.

Pain is both acute as well as chronic. Acute pain is a protective mechanism that makes you aware of an injury (NIH MedlinePlus 2012; Cleveland Clinic 2008).

In contrast to acute pain, chronic pain is persistent and can last for months or years. Chronic pain can drastically reduce quality of life. We now know that 79% of chronic pain patients report disruptions in daily activities and 67% indicate that chronic pain negatively impacts their personal relationships (NIH MedlinePlus 2012; MedicineNet 2012; Vo 2008).

Chronic pain is often resistant to conventional medical treatments (MedicineNet 2012; Lumley 2011; Coluzzi 2011). Moreover, pharmacologic pain management of chronic pain is hindered by grave long-term side effects.

Opioids are wrought with adverse effects and have significant addiction potential, but poorly appreciated is that even over-the-counter pain medicines like acetaminophen and ibuprofen are linked with liver damage, kidney damage, and even heart attack (Woodcock 2009; Peterson 2010).

In this protocol, you will learn about the risks of long-term pharmaceutical pain management strategies. You will also discover that several natural compounds have been shown to target some of the fundamental mechanisms of pain to provide relief without debilitating side effects.

Understanding Pain

Acute pain follows a predictable, finite pattern and is generally short-lived, self-limiting, as well  as easy to diagnose and treat. Pain that persists for longer than three months, and is not progressively better, is referred to as "chronic". It can be difficult to pinpoint the exact factors  that cause chronic pain to persist over time (Lumley 2011). 

There are 2 major categories of pain; nociceptive and neuropathic (NINDS 2012): 

Nociceptive pain guards the body against potential injury. It occurs as a result of the activation  of peripheral pain receptors called nociceptors, which are activated by injurious stimuli. The stimuli is converted into an electrical signal, which is conveyed along nerve cells into the spinal cord or brain, where it is perceived as an unpleasant sensation (Cohen 2011). Neuropathic pain occurs as a consequence of either injury or dysfunction in the nervous system. It produces a variety of unusual pain sensations that have been described as burning, crushing and "pins & needles." Unlike nociceptive pain, neuropathic pain often persists for prolonged periods of time, even after the original trauma and/or dysfunction is addressed (Costigan 2009). Since neuropathic pain is more complex than nociceptive pain, it is consequently more difficult to treat (Vorobeychik 2011). 

Information is from Life Extension at 

The Emotional Component of Pain 

Pain Scale.JPG


                                                         Mark Grant, 2009 

This questionnaire evaluates likely contribution of stress to pain 

The Stress Risk Factors Questionnaire (below) will help you determine how much the effects of stress are likely to be contributing to your pain. This questionnaire is based on recognized stress questionnaires such as the Beck Depression Inventory and the Toronto Alexithymia Scale.

Read each statement carefully and place a check in the box to indicate whether that statement is “True” or “Not True”. Try to answer in terms of how you really feel rather than what you think is the right thing to say or how you wish things had been. In other words, be honest—no one else is going to see what you say.

(It would probably be easier to take the questionnaire and figure out the results if you printed out the entire Questionnaire and Score Key instrutions first.)



When I was young:


Not True


  I didn’t have anyone to turn to for help or even if I did I kept my feelings     to myself




  No one listened to me




  I was often criticized or punished/I never felt good enough




  I never felt safe




  There was conflict or violence at home




  One of my parents had a mental illness, drug or alcohol  problems,                 committed suicide or died




  My family life was very unstable




  I was seriously injured, unwell and/or hospitalized (including at birth).




  I was physically and/or sexually abused




  I don’t actually remember much of my childhood







Not true



  I have suffered or am facing threatening circumstances over which I feel I     have no control





  I have to take risks/ignore my health to achieve my goals such as work         and supporting my family




  If I need someone, there is no one I can really turn to




  I often feel I am alone in the world




  I keep my problems to myself




  I often feel tired and lacking in energy





  I feel aware of the action of my heart in the absence of physical exertion       (e.g. sense of heart rate, heart missing a beat)




  I find it hard to relax




  I have a lot of aches and pains




  I have trouble sleeping




  I don’t know what’s going on inside me




  I have feelings I can’t quite identify




  I find it hard to put into words how I’m feeling




  Sometimes I feel like my body is disconnected from my mind




  I feel like I can’t go on




  I feel hopeless




  I feel my life isn’t worth living




  I worry all the time about whether my stress/pain will end




  I feel like a failure




  I often feel numb or disconnected from what’s going on around me




  Sometimes I have disturbing memories or dreams about the past





  Sometimes I find myself suddenly acting or feeling as if a past stressful 
  event were happening again




  I often feel distant or cut off from people




  I often feel ‘super alert’ or watchful or on guard



The 35-items are divided into seven sections. Each set of five questions assess a different type or effect of stress. To assess your risk-factor levels, give yourself one point for each ‘true’ response in the scoring key below. Write your total number of true responses for each risk factor in the right hand column of the scoring key. For example, if you answered ‘true’ to two items in questions 1-5, your score for ‘Emotional neglect’ would be ‘2’. If you answered ‘not true’ to all questions 6-10, your score for ‘Trauma’ would be ‘0’ and so on.






Emotional neglect



Childhood trauma



Safety and support



Increased physiological arousal



Emotional disconnection



Negative thinking/‘Catastrophizing’



Post-traumatic Stress Disorder



                               Grand Total


Once you have completed scoring the questionnaire, evaluate your pain and stress risk factors as follows:
1. A score of two or more for any individual risk factor means you are affected by that risk factor to a significant degree, such that it is likely to be contributing to your pain and stress.

2. A score of three-plus means that risk factor is likely to be contributing severely to your pain and stress.

3. In addition, if your score was two or more for either or both of the first two risk factors (‘when I was young’), and you scored two or more for any of the second five factors (‘now’), your stress risk for pain is even greater.

4. If you didn’t score highly on any one risk factor, but your total score was five or more, you should still consider you overall stress risk levels as significant. 


The Physical Components to Pain

    Inflammation and How it Affects Pain

What is Inflammation?

To get your attention and express the importance of inflammation, it is being called "The Silent Killer". 

Inflammation is “an age-old immunological defense mechanism that is the same biological process that turns the tissue around a splinter red and causes swelling in an injured toe.

Most of the time, inflammation is a lifesaver that enables our bodies to fend off various disease-causing bacteria, viruses and parasites…The instant any of these potentially deadly microbes slips into the body, inflammation marshals a defensive attack that lays waste to both invader and any tissue it may have infected. Then just as quickly, the process subsides and healing begins.

Every once in a while, however, the whole feverish production doesn't shut down on cue. Sometimes the problem is a genetic predisposition; other times something like smoking or high blood pressure keeps the process going. In any event, inflammation becomes chronic rather than transitory. When that occurs, the body turns on itself — like an ornery child who can't resist picking a scab — with aftereffects that seem to underlie a wide variety of diseases.

Suddenly, inflammation has become one of the hottest areas of medical research. Hardly a week goes by without the publication of yet another study uncovering a new way that chronic inflammation harms to the body. It destabilizes cholesterol deposits in the coronary arteries, leading to heart attacks and potentially even strokes. It chews up nerve cells in the brains of Alzheimer's victims. It may even foster the proliferation of abnormal cells and facilitate their transformation into cancer. In other words, chronic inflammation may be the engine that drives many of the most feared illnesses of middle and old age. 

Time Magazine Article, Health: The Fires Within by Christine Gorman, Alice Park and Kristina Dell Monday, Feb. 23, 2004  

What is inflammation? In its simplest form, it’s the body’s response to a perceived threat– whether it’s a splinter in our finger, sunburn at the beach, a sprained ankle or the reddish edges of a paper cut.  

When balanced, the body has the capacity to counter the inflammatory chemicals that are produced when it perceives a danger like we just described. However, when the body becomes imbalanced, it loses its ability to produce anti-inflammatory chemicals to counteract inflammationand may go on undetected for long periods of time. Symptoms of chronic inflammation can manifest as arthritis, colitis, fatigue, sinusitis, cataracts, chronic pain or hair loss.  


Inflammation: The Silent Killer by Dr. Garry D’Brant • Glen Head 

What is inflammation? 

Inflammation is part of the complex biological response of vascular tissues to harmful stimuli, such as pathogens, damaged cells, or irritants.[1] The classical signs of acute inflammation are pain, heat, redness, swelling, and loss of function. Inflammation is a protective attempt by the organism to remove the injurious stimuli and to initiate the healing process. Inflammation is not a synonym for infection, even though the two are often correlated (the former often being a result of the latter), and despite the fact that words ending in the suffix itis (which refers to inflammation) are sometimes informally described as referring to infection. (For example, the word urethritis means only "urethral inflammation", but, because most cases are caused by infection, even healthcare providers may tell a patient "it means you have an infection.") Although infection is caused by a microorganism, inflammation is one of the responses of the organism to the pathogen. Inflammation can even occur in the absence of infection, although such types of inflammation are usually maladaptive (such as in atherosclerosis). Inflammation is a stereotyped response, and therefore it is considered as a mechanism of innate immunity, as compared to adaptive immunity, which is specific for each pathogen.[2]


Progressive destruction of tissue in the absence of inflammation would compromise the survival of the organism. On the other hand, chronic inflammation might lead to a host of diseases, such as hay fever, periodontitis, atherosclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and even cancer (e.g., gallbladder carcinoma). It is for that reason that inflammation is normally closely regulated by the body.


Inflammation can be classified as either acute or chronic. Acute inflammation is the initial response of the body to harmful stimuli and is achieved by the increased movement of plasma and leukocytes (especially granulocytes) from the blood into the injured tissues. A cascade of biochemical events propagates and matures the inflammatory response, involving the local vascular system, the immune system, and various cells within the injured tissue. Prolonged inflammation, known as chronic inflammation, leads to a progressive shift in the type of cells present at the site of inflammation and is characterized by simultaneous destruction and healing of the tissue from the inflammatory process.

What is inflammation?


In developing an overall understanding of inflammation and its impact on our bodies and metabolic systems, it is important to know that not all inflammation is bad. In fact, some inflammation is actually very good for our bodies while other types of inflammation are not. Although we generally associate inflammation with pain, we need to understand that the inflammation is a necessary element in the body’s healing response to an injury (or infection). The inflammation and associated pain tell us two important things: 

1) We have an injury or wounded area that must be pampered in order to heal. 

2) The healing process is underway as it should be. By the way, the pain that is associated with inflammation is the result of inflamed tissue pressing up against nerve endings, along with chemical substances that convert molecular signals into electrical impulses that trigger the pain sensation. 

In its role as a facilitator of the healing process, inflammation is generally either in ‘attack’ mode or ‘heal’ mode. In the attack mode, inflammation recruits the immune system to protect the body from an injury and to mitigate infection. In the heal mode, inflammation works to re-grow damaged tissue as it facilitates the healing process. 

With this knowledge in mind, it is easier to understand the difference between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ inflammation. Acute inflammation—which occurs immediately after an injury and is almost always short-lived—would be considered ‘good’ inflammation. In contrast, chronic inflammation—which is an unhealthy inflammatory over-response is ‘bad’ inflammation because it can linger for weeks, months or even years. 

In addition, chronic inflammation can be linked to a number of dangerous diseases. In fact, a growing number of experts believe that chronic inflammation may very well be the underlying root cause of a multitude of diseases and life-threatening health conditions. Systemic inflammation is also considered bad inflammation. Systemic inflammation is generally thought to be caused by a massive release of cytokines that spreads throughout the entire body. Left unchecked, systemic inflammation can result in organ failure and even death in some cases.

Now that we know the difference between acute (good) inflammation and chronic (bad) inflammation, the next step is to understand some of the causes of chronic inflammation and the steps we can take to prevent it. 

Inflammation Can Cause the Following Diseases & Health Hazards: 

• Asthma

• Irritable Bowel Syndrome

• Allergies

• Skin Disorders

• Heart Disease

• Arthritis

• Congestive Heart Failure

• Arterial Diseases

• Obesity & Weight Gain

• Tumor Formation

• Cancer

• Type 2 Diabetes

• Alzheimer's

                              Information provided by Mike Westerdal & Rick Kaselj, MS   


Q. Is inflammation good or bad for me?


A. While most of us associate inflammation with pain, inflammation is a necessary part of the body's response to injury and infection.


Q. Why does inflammation hurt?


A. Pain is not always bad. Pain tells us to pamper a wounded area that is trying to heal. The pain of inflammation is caused by tissue swelling that presses on nerves, as well as by chemical substances that convert a molecular signal into an electrical impulse that spells pain for the body.


Q. How does inflammation heal?


A. There are two general phases to inflammation: attack and heal. The early stages of inflammation enlist the immune system to protect the body from an injury and to control infection, and later stages work to re-grow damaged tissue and start the wound healing process.


Q. What's the difference between acute inflammation and chronic inflammation?


A. Acute inflammation occurs immediately after an injury and is usually short-lived, lasting hours to a few days. Chronic inflammation is an unhealthy inflammatory over-response that can linger for months to years. Many diseases have been linked to chronic inflammation.


Q. How does the immune system relate to inflammation?


A. Many of the cells and molecules that carry out inflammation belong to the immune system, which consists of a brigade of specialized cells, tissues, and natural chemical substances that continually protect the body from harm.


Q. Is inflammation the same thing as infection?


A. No. Infection is an invasion of the body by infectious organisms such as bacteria, fungi, or viruses. Inflammation is the immediate, defensive reaction by the body to any injury. One cause of tissue injury is infection, but there are many others.


Q. Can inflammation be treated with medication?


A. Yes, many types of inflammation respond to treatment with a variety of different medications. These include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), steroids, and other substances that mute the body's ability to mount an inflammatory reaction.


Q. Does inflammation play a role in other diseases?


A. Yes, inflammation is known to play an important role in a wide variety of diseases, including cancer, heart disease, asthma, and many others. 

How inflammation affects your pain?


Pain is one of the most notable features of inflammation. The pain that we feel is a signal that the body has been injured or that something is otherwise wrong. In terms of our evolution, pain evolved as a signal to tell us to stop what we were doing or to take alternative action. It is essentially a defense mechanism that alerts us to an injury, thus allowing us to protect our bodies and not damage our bodies any further than what we already have. Because of the potential danger involved with pain—literally life or death—the pain signal had to be strong and nearly impossible to ignore. Otherwise, we might not stop or avoid the pain-causing danger. 

The pain signal is closely linked to the fight or flight response, wherein our bodies go into alarm mode. In this state, our muscles receive more blood flow and oxygen, our heart beats faster, our breathing quickens and we get ready to stand and fight or run from danger. In short, the pain response is an extremely efficient way to motivate us to respond quickly to threats.


When we experience inflammation, the affected area often hurts and may be stiff. The pain can result in an overall feeling of discomfort, distress and even worse, depending on the severity of the inflammation. The inflammation-related pain can be constant and steady, in which case it is often referred to as an ache. Alternatively, the pain can be of a throbbing type, a pulsating pain, or it can be a stabbing or pinching pain. In any case, pain is either acute (short-term, intense) or chronic.


In addition, pain can also be: 


• Nociceptive pain: This type of pain is caused when special nerve endings - called nociceptors - become irritated. Nociceptive pain is the type of pain you feel when you burn yourself, twist your ankle, or stub your toe, all of which can result in inflammation. This type of pain is felt as a dull or sharp aching pain, and it can be mild to severe. Nociceptive pain can be either acute (e.g., sprained ankle) or chronic. Nociceptive pain usually responds well to pain medications, anti-inflammatory agents, or other drug therapies. 


• Somatic pain: Somatic pain is a kind of nociceptive pain that is felt in muscles, joints, bones, ligaments, and on the skin. Musculo-skeletal pain is somatic pain. When you cut your skin, the pain you experience is somatic pain. You also experience somatic pain if you stretch a muscle too far or exercise for a long period of time. In these cases, nociceptors send impulses to the brain when they detect some kind of tissue damage. Somatic pain tends to be sharp and localized - touching or moving the affected area will result in more severe main.


 • Visceral pain: This is also a type of nociceptive pain. With visceral pain, the pain is sensed deep down in the body, in the internal organs and main body cavities, such as the heart, lungs, bowels, spleen, liver, kidneys, bladder, uterus, and ovaries. The pain is usually described as a deep ache. Cramping and colicky sensations are examples of visceral pain.


In all of the types of pain above, inflammation primarily causes pain because the swelling pushes against the sensitive nerve endings, which send pain signals to the brain. Nerve endings send pain signals to the brain all day long; however, it learns to ignore most of them, unless pressure against the nerve endings increases.


Information provided by Mike Westerdal & Rick Kaselj, MS  

Nociceptive Pain (see above) and Inflammation

Chronic inflammation is usually seen in people who lead lives with high stress levels, have excess body fat, exercise intensely and eat high carbohydrate content meals. When chronic inflammation is maintained over a period of time, it can lead to serious conditions such as cancer, heart disease, heart attacks, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Multiple Sclerosis, Diabetes and others.

The real answer to controlling inflammation and preventing disease lies in reducing your stress, proper nutrition and reasonable amounts of exercise. Different sources quote different amounts and different kinds of exercising so you will have to find the exercise regime that you feel comfortable with, being aware that too much exercise can add to your inflammation problem. 

                          Inflammation: The Silent Killer by Dr. Garry D’Brant • Glen Head 


Foods that Increase Imflammation

Foods that negatively impact your pain

We know that inflammation is swelling that occurs as the body’s self-protection mechanism tries to remove harmful stimuli such as damaged cells or irritants. In some cases joint inflammation can result in severe pain that can last for days, weeks or longer, sometimes becoming a chronic condition that lasts a lifetime. 

The body’s approximately 230 joints are particularly susceptible to chronic inflammation. And when chronic joint inflammation occurs, it inhibits mobility and causes pain, which can bring your training routine to a screeching, painful halt. 


In an effort to uncover the reasons why some people seem to be more susceptible to chronic inflammation than others, researchers discovered a link between diet and occurrences of painful sudden or chronic joint inflammation. Their studies showed that people who at certain foods—or types of foods—had few instances of joint inflammation and when it did occur, these people recovered at a faster rate than others, who did not eat these foods. 

Even more interesting is the fact that they discovered that people who ate a different type of food—or types of foods—were more likely to be plagued by chronic joint inflammation. Not surprisingly, it also took these individuals much more time to recover from joint inflammation than those who belonged to the other group. 


Information provided by Mike Westerdal & Rick Kaselj, MS  

Diet and chronic inflammation 

The Western diet is known to contain many pro-inflammatory foods contributing to chronic, low-grade inflammation; foods which promote cytokine and eicosanoid production.

In general pro-inflammatory foods are highly processed or refined and fall into groups of: 

1. Foods from animals including meat and dairy, excepting cold water fish; 
2. Foods high on the glycemic scale; 
3. Foods containing little or no fiber; 
4. Foods high in saturated, hydrogenated or damaged fats." 

These (which?) foods include:

·         Processed oils

·         Fatty meat and dairy including most beef, pork and whole milk.

·         Trans Fat

·         Sugar, other sweeteners and foods with added sugar or syrup. (This is a long list)

·         Flour containing gluten 

·         White rice

·         omega-6 (ω-6) fatty acids (omega 3 and 9 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory)

·         corn

·         soy

·         peppers

·         tomatoes

·         eggplant

·         potatoes

·         citrus fruits

·         alcohol

·         caffeine

·         peanuts


 Examples of anti-inflammatory diets include the Mediterraneon Diet (Foods that Reduce Inflammation)

Nutrition and Pain



Recent evidence suggests that certain types of dietary interventions may have significant effects on chronic pain, especially severe forms of chronic pain (Tennant 2011). Also, chronic pain can result in a decreased protein intake and increased sugar and starch intake. These dietary changes result in wasting (i.e., catabolic state) (Tennant 2011).


Although the exact parameters of an "anti-pain" diet have not yet been recommended by any clinical organization (Tennant 2011), the scientific literature contains plenty of data indicating a strong link between food and pain. For example, periods of dietary fasting has been linked to the temporary relief of pain among many patients (Bell 2007). For longer term pain relief, some experts suggest a high protein, low carbohydrate diet (i.e., low glycemic index), which has been associated with decreases in pain sensitivity and inflammation (Ruskin 2009). Likewise, several studies have shown that a vegetarian/vegan diet is also beneficial to patients with chronically painful conditions (Bonakdar 2009).


Consuming a diet rich in antioxidants may also be helpful for the relief of chronic pain. This is because antioxidants neutralize free radicals and oxidative stress, which play a significant role in persistent pain conditions and have been linked to an increase in pain sensitivity (Tall 2004). Some researchers believe that many of these dietary interventions activate the endogenous opioid system, which is the body’s natural defense against pain (Bell 2007). Moreover, documenting dietary history to ensure adequate protein intake can help chronic pain patients avoid muscle loss and weakness (Tennant 2011). 

Information is from Life Extension at

How Food Can Lead to Inflammation and Pain?

Food and water are the essence of life—without them our bodies could not function and we would die. Food in particular, provides the necessary protein, carbohydrates, fats, nutrients, vitamins and minerals we need to function and maintain our metabolic systems in top form.

Eat a healthy diet and the body functions well—eat a poor diet and the metabolic systems are thrown off balance, and do not function properly. When this occurs, in addition to loss of energy and weight gain, our bodies become susceptible to illness, disease, injury, inflammation and pain. 

A proper, healthy diet is one that is rich in high quality proteins, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats. The body gets its fuel to facilitate the recovery process from the foods we eat. That’s why it’s especially important for fitness and exercise enthusiasts to focus on eating high quality proteins, complex carbohydrates and essential fats. It is from these that the body manufactures the tools of recovery. 

In a perfect world, we would get 100% the substances we need to recover from the foods we eat. But in today’s modern world that’s not always possible. Modern technologies and processes allow us to have convenient access to food that wasn’t possible a couple generations ago, but along the way, a good portion of the nutritional content gets lost. That’s where nutritional supplements come into the picture. 

In addition to eating healthy, taking supplements can help ensure that our muscles have ready access to everything they need for the recovery process, which ultimately results in less inflammation. 

Conversely, a poor diet can lead to both inflammation and pain. In 2006, the University of Naples conducted a study on the impact of diet on inflammation. The study showed that dietary patterns high in refined starches, sugar, some saturated fats and trans-fatty acids, to be poor in natural antioxidants. Likewise, diets that were low in fiber from fruits, vegetables, and whole grains were poor in omega-3 fatty acids which may cause an activation of the innate immune system. 

Researchers determined that this is most likely caused by an excessive production of pro-inflammatory cytokines associated with a reduction of production of anti-inflammatory cytokines. The study determined that the whole diet approach is particularly promising to reduce the inflammation associated with the metabolic syndrome. 

Foods that negatively impact your pain

We know that inflammation is swelling that occurs as the body’s self-protection mechanism tries to remove harmful stimuli such as damaged cells or irritants. In some cases joint inflammation can result in severe pain that can last for days, weeks or longer, sometimes becoming a chronic condition that lasts a lifetime. 

The body’s approximately 230 joints are particularly susceptible to chronic inflammation. And when chronic joint inflammation occurs, it inhibits mobility and causes pain, which can bring your training routine to a screeching, painful halt. 

In an effort to uncover the reasons why some people seem to be more susceptible to chronic inflammation than others, researchers discovered a link between diet and occurrences of painful sudden or chronic joint inflammation. Their studies showed that people who at certain foods—or types of foods—had few instances of joint inflammation and when it did occur, these people recovered at a faster rate than others, who did not eat these foods. 

Even more interesting is the fact that they discovered that people who ate a different type of food—or types of foods—were more likely to be plagued by chronic joint inflammation. Not surprisingly, it also took these individuals much more time to recover from joint inflammation than those who belonged to the other group. 

A “Dozen” Reasons to THINK about What You’re Eating 

1. Sugars - especially ones that are refined such as those found in candies, sodas, condiments and other common foods. If you must have sugar, go with RAW sugar or use things like raw honey, agave nectar and pure organic maple syrup. 

2. Wheat - (gluten) because a growing number of people are becoming gluten sensitive, which simulates an allergic response. 

3. Processed foods - of any type because processing usually means that the natural beneficial nutrients have been taken away and other, artificial ingredients added to take their place like high fructose corn syrup. 

4. Fast foods - these are usually very high in unhealthy trans fats, sodium and sugar.

5. White bread - which is ‘white’ because many of the healthy benefits have been bleached and processed out. 

6. Pasta - because most of them are primarily comprised of simple carbohydrates, which almost instantly converts to sugar in the body. There are some quality choices out there if you do your research. 

7. Ice Cream - due to artificial ingredients and high concentrations of trans fats and sugars. There are rare exceptions if you go organic and it’s on occasion. 

8. Some cheeses - if you feel the need to eat cheese, stick with the white varieties because they are usually lower in trans fats and contain less artificial ingredients and coloring. 

9. Snack foods - like fast foods, snack foods are usually packed full of unhealthy fats, refinedsugars, sodium and artificial ingredients. 

10. The BAD fats - Trans fats and some oils that are high in unhealthy fats such as vegetable and corn. Trans fatty acids found in hydrogenated oils, partially hydrogenated oils, shortenings, and margarine are very unhealthy. 

11. Alcohol - which is a depressant that can suppress the immune system and inhibit recovery from pain and inflammation. However, in small doses, things like red wine have been proven to have health benefits. 

12. Soy - a growing body of research is showing that soy may not be so healthy after all. Researchers are finding that soy contains properties that may inhibit thyroid function while also suppressing the healing process.


When I saw this list, the first thought that came to mind is that all of these are foods that most typical Americans eat if not daily, at least four to six times a week. It’s no secret that the typical American diet includes excessive unhealthy (trans) fats, enormous amounts of sugar, far too many simple carbs and a mind boggling quantity of highly processed foods. 

Given this, it is no surprise that obesity rates are through the roof and that some studies show that nearly one in five Americans suffers from painful joint inflammation. 

A diet high in these foods not only increases CRP levels in the bloodstream—and therefore increasing the chances that you’ll wind up with systemic joint inflammation—but it all but guarantees obesity, which also contributes to joint inflammation. 

In reality, a diet high in the 12 foods above contributes to system joint inflammation on multiple fronts—not just by increasing CRP levels. 

If you already have symptoms of systemic joint inflammation, you should certainly consult a medical professional to see if you have any other conditions (e.g., diabetes, etc.) or require additional treatment or medications. But regardless of whether you do or do not have any symptoms of systemic joint inflammation, eliminating these twelve foods from your diet can place you well on the path towards living a life free from painful joint inflammation.

                        Information provided by Mike Westerdal & Rick Kaselj, MS  

Ways to Reduce Inflammation and Pain

Pain Management

The scientific approach to pain management demands a step-wise approach, which utilizes lower risk interventions first. In many cases, these lower-risk interventions are helpful for relieving chronic pain. For example, a recent review found that exercise and behavioral therapy were effective at decreasing pain and increasing functioning among patients with chronic pain (Hassett 2011). Other nonpharmacologic interventions that may be useful for chronic pain include meditation, biofeedback, acupuncture, electrical stimulation, and surgery (NIH MedlinePlus 2012). However, in those cases that do not respond to initial pain management treatment options with lower risk interventions, patients with chronic pain may have no other choice but to initiate
pharmacologic therapy. 

Information is from Life Extension at

Stress-reducing and Stress-Releasing Methods

Foods that Reduce Inflammation 

Certain foods, nutrients and herbs have powerful anti-inflammatory effects. 

Foods that help you reduce your pain

Inflammation—especially when it affects the joints—can limit mobility and be very painful. Sometimes, occasional joint inflammation—such as the kind brought on by an injury—can’t be avoided.

There are however, steps you can take today to speed up the recovery process should you injure yourself and more important, reduce the likelihood that you’ll suffer from other types of joint inflammation and pain. Getting started is as easy as incorporating anti-inflammatory foods into your diet. Fortunately, the list of foods that fight the effects of chronic inflammation is long—and tasty.

Let’s start by talking about how eating certain types of foods can help reduce the effects of chronic inflammation or even prevent it all together.

In the human body, a joint is the point at which two or more bones come together. Humans have about 230 of them. They have different ranges of mobility (from no mobility, limited movement and full range of movement) and are classified by type such as ball and socket, elbow, gliding, hinge, hip and saddle joints. Joints can also be classified by structure, function, biomechanical properties and more—it really gets very technical.

Regardless of the type or classification, joints wouldn’t function very well if they were just ‘bone meeting bone,’ because there would be too much friction. Just like a ball bearing sealed with oil, to allow for ease of movement, human joints have either cartilage or synovial fluid—or both—between the bones. Cartilage is a smooth connective tissue while synovial fluid is a yolk-like viscous fluid that serves as a lubricant. Ligaments connect bone to bone and stabilize the joints.

There are two key points to this anatomy lesson: 1) joints are very complex; and 2) we have a lot of them in our bodies. For the most part we don’t give any thoughts to our joints unless we’re having problems with them. And when we do have problems with them, it can be not just painful, but downright debilitating. Inflammation is the most commonly-cited problem or difficulty with joints. Inflammation in joints is swelling that is actually part of the body’s self-protection mechanism as it tries to remove harmful stimuli such as damaged cells or irritants. And when joint inflammation occurs, it inhibits mobility and causes pain.

Sometimes joint inflammation can bring about severe pain that can last for days, weeks or longer, sometimes becoming a chronic condition that lasts a lifetime. Your metabolism plays a central role in determining whether or not you develop joint inflammation that occurs over time and how quickly it recovers from the type that is brought on by a sudden injury. And fortunately, scientists have discovered that eating certain foods can boost the body’s ability to fight joint inflammation.

Not surprisingly, these are foods that are rich in vitamins, antioxidants, flavonoids, phytonutrients, minerals, proteins, healthy fats or complex carbs—you won’t see any processed foods, packaged foods or artificial ingredients on the list of inflammation-fighting foods. In fact, many highly processed, refined foods have been shown to actually decrease the body’s ability to fight inflammation.

Foods that fight inflammation do so by supporting an overall healthy metabolism while also:

• Helping to maintain optimal weight—carrying extra weight places stress on the joints, increasing the likelihood of developing chronic inflammation

• The food choices you make every day directly impact your energy level, mood and overall health. By making smart food choices - like the "super" foods listed below - you will drastically improve your overall health and provide your body with energy and stamina. It is the nutrient dense foods in the list that help you maintain steady blood sugar levels throughout the day giving you a natural boost

• Reducing the risk of heart disease, diabetes and other chronic conditions—all of these conditions can reduce or hamper the body’s defenses against chronic inflammation and can in fact, create the ideal conditions for its development So what types of foods do you want to be looking for if you want to fight inflammation? First and foremost you want to shop for fresh, whole foods—preferably organic, pesticide-free and non-genetically modified (GMO). When heading to the grocery store think fresh meats, chicken, fish, eggs, whole milk, cheeses, vegetables, fruits, berries, herbs and spices.

It’s no coincidence that these are foods that help the body to build muscle and maintain a healthy weight. Strong muscles help keep joints stable and a healthy weight reduces pressure on joints, helping to minimize—or in some cases prevent—joint inflammation. Eat these foods and while you might not completely eliminate joint inflammation, you’ll certainly increase your body’s ability to fight joint inflammation and even prevent it from occurring in the first place. In selecting foods from the list, be sure to make balanced choices so you get a well-rounded variety of healthy, wholesome, unprocessed foods.






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