If you’re suffering from chronic pain or inflammation, good nutrition can help you find relief. Because eating the appropriate foods can help your body recover from a variety of diseases, diet is an important aspect of any occupational therapy routine.
Eating well combined with reduced stress and regular exercise can aid in the treatment of inflammation and chronic pain. If you live with chronic pain, request a consultation with one of our occupational or hand therapists to have your condition assessed.
Our innovative care strategies at Hand In Hand Rehabilitation will help you find quick relief. In the meantime, keep reading to learn more about inflammation and how maintaining an anti-inflammatory diet can prevent chronic pain!
What is inflammation, and how does it occur?
If you’re feeling pain, there is probably inflammation at that location, as the two often go hand-in-hand. If you have an infection, a wound, tissue damage, or a buildup of toxins in your body, the immune response is triggered in order to initiate the healing process. Inflammation is part of the body’s healing process, as it is an immune response to harm or sickness.
Injuries would not be able to heal entirely without inflammation; nevertheless, if the inflammatory response lasts too long, it can lead to chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation is a source of concern, and your occupational or hand therapist will want to assist you in reducing it!
Chronic inflammation, if left untreated, can lead to a variety of health problems, including arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, and even cancer.
Rest and medicine are two of the most common treatments for persistent inflammation. Traditionally, primary care physicians would advise you to reduce your physical activity. A lack of exercise, on the other hand, can make you worse off in the long term than learning simple stretches and exercises from a therapist.
For example, if you’re dealing with inflammation in your hands, your therapist may recommend keeping your hand elevated to reduce the buildup of extra fluid. They may also encourage the use of compression wraps or splints.
Additionally, medications can often carry a host of nasty side effects and could potentially be habit-forming. The good news about treating pain and inflammation with diet is that it’s all-natural!
How can I maintain an anti-inflammatory diet?
Many patients who adopt an anti-inflammatory diet report lessened symptoms of pain and inflammation. You can help speed up the healing process as the body purifies itself during the inflammation process by switching to a diet that complements the removal of toxins.
There are three basic components to an anti-inflammatory diet:
- Avoid red meat. In an anti-inflammatory diet, it’s ideal to eliminate red meat entirely, but if you must have it, it should be very limited. The maximum amount of steak you should eat every week is one tiny piece. Because the proteins in red meat demand additional effort from your kidneys to digest, eating a lot of it will slow down your recovery. The good news is that anti-inflammatory diets can include chicken and fish. Enjoy these with a healthy serving of vegetables!
- Less dairy and grains. In order to strengthen your body’s immune response as much as possible, you’ll want to try and avoid simple carbs and sugars completely. That means no pastries, no donuts, and no white bread. Dairy products should also be minimal, so be mindful of serving very little cheese or milk with anything. Whole grains such as barley, oats, brown rice, and wheat are best when practicing an anti-inflammatory diet.
- Eat more vegetables. Increasing your vegetable diet is one of the most effective
strategies to reduce inflammation. This diet works best if you eat five to nine servings per day, with the veggies served raw whenever possible. Some of the better choices include Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, and broccoli. It’s fine to use fruits in place of vegetables for a couple of servings to add variety, but veggies should be the main item for the most part.
Request an appointment with our therapists today
If you stick to the diet listed above, you should see your pain and inflammation symptoms start to reduce significantly. You can also combat chronic inflammation by maintaining healthy body weight, getting daily exercise, and learning how to manage your stress.
Therapists are not nutritionists, however, we can be beside you while you work on improving your overall health. Want to decrease inflammation in your hands or upper extremities, while also boosting your levels of wellness? Contact our office today to schedule a consultation with an occupational or hand therapist.