It’s Time to Have a Talk About Nutrition with Your Chronic Pain Patients
Chronic pain is what brings a majority of patients into a chiropractic office. Low back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain, and the like – they’re all drivers of daily discomfort. And while a chiropractor can help realign the spine and alleviate some of the pain, it’s up to patients to make the lifestyle changes required to sustain them.
One of the most important lifestyle changes patients can and should make is to their diet. Ideal Spine works with chiropractors not only to help them educate patients on good postural and exercise habits, but diet as well. Many chronic pain sufferers don’t realize it, but their pain likely has roots in what they eat.
Salt, sugar, and fat’s effect on the body
The obesity epidemic in America hit its peak in the late 1990s and early 2000s. But while rates of severely overweight individuals have backed off in the past decade, it’s estimated 34% of adults and as many as 20% of children are still overweight. Sedentary lifestyle plays a role, but the predominant force behind overweight Americans is diet.
Poor diet does more than just pack on the pounds, which stresses the body’s biomechanical structure. It also exacerbates inflammation. The excess salt, sugar, and fats consumed through processed foods, fast food, and unhealthy habits affect the body’s many governing systems – everything from nerve health to the responsiveness of the limbic system. The inflammation and general stress caused by poor diet both incite and exacerbate chronic pain symptoms.
Addiction to poor diet
Telling patients to cut out poor food choices is much easier said than done. Chiropractors have no control over what patients do when they leave the office. In fact, patients have little control over their own actions when it comes to eating. Many suffer addictions to unhealthy food choices, which is a disease in and of itself.
To help patients break their poor eating habits, chiropractors often have to assume the role of nutritionist. This means educating patients on how their eating habits affect spine health and what they can do to break them.
Talk about nutrition
Linking chronic pain to inflammation and inflammation to diet is the quickest, most direct method of affecting change in a patient’s diet. If the answer is conceivably as simple as “eating cheeseburgers makes your back hurt,” patients will be more inclined to avoid the foods they know cause inflammation.
Targeting specific foods is only a start. It’s also important to provide alternatives that keep people eating healthily in the face of temptation. This can occur in stages. Eating one cheeseburger instead of two. Taking the cheese off the burger. Taking the bun away. Switching to a plant-based burger. They’re all options patients can explore to incrementally improve their eating habits.
There’s also the prospect of willpower to address. Many patients are engrained in their eating habits and unable to break them due to willpower. Teaching methods of accountability – keeping a journal, having a friend eat healthy with them, etc. – are modes of boosting willpower to affect dietary changes.
Pain rooted in diet requires change
If a chiropractor is able to show a patient the link between diet, inflammation, and pain, the battle is half won. From there, making changes can take time and learned willpower, but it’s possible – especially with the prospect of pain-free living.
Ideal Spine encourages chiropractors to build incremental dietary changes into a Chiropractic BioPhysics (CBP) recovery plan for patients. As they experience improved quality of life from adjustments, they’ll also be complementing these changes with dietary improvements of their own. Together, it’s a recipe for pain-free living, faster.
Chiropractic BioPhysics® corrective care trained Chiropractors are located throughout the United States and in several international locations. CBP providers have helped thousands of people throughout the world realign their spine back to health, and eliminate a source of chronic back pain, chronic neck pain, chronic headaches and migraines, fibromyalgia, and a wide range of other health conditions. If you are serious about your health and the health of your loved ones, contact a CBP trained provider today to see if you qualify for care. The exam and consultation are often FREE. See www.CBPpatient.com for providers in your area.
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