The Inflammatory Diet

I’m big into the “cause and effects” of musculoskeletal conditions like joint dysfunctions (i.e. subluxations), muscle disorders, and disc problems. But that seems a bit obvious. It’s what I do every day. But that means I really enjoy focusing on how it all works. Why are you in pain? Is there some reason why you are prone to certain pain patterns?

And the answer is yes! Each person is unique, as unique as each individual’s diet. Obviously the answer is more complex than just your diet, but what you eat goes a long way towards explaining pain and inflammation. That is because certain foods like gluten found in wheat, barley, oats, and rye all cause an inflammatory response in your body every time you eat it.

A true gluten allergy is Crohn’s disease or Celiacs. You hear about Gluten sensitivity but everyone, whether or not they show symptoms, has a negative chemical reaction in their body when you digest gluten. It creates a systemic (meaning throughout your whole blood stream) inflammatory state. That does a couple of nasty things that increase the pain level of your musculoskeletal conditions…

1.) Slows down the healing process. It’s that simple. Any musculoskeletal condition you have will heal slower when you are in an inflammatory state.

2.) Makes your body more susceptible to re-injury. Inflammatory chemicals in your body wear down your tissue to the point where they can tear or ripe easier.

3.) You become more sensitive to pain chemicals. When body tissue and cells are injured, they release chemicals called nociceptors. Nociceptors are messengers. Your nerves “sense” the surrounding pain messengers and relay that information to your brain that you hurt. A chronic inflammatory state causes those nerves to be more sensitive to nociceptors. So your body feels more pain.

So combining a musculoskeletal condition with a diet high in gluten is a bad idea. I’m not saying give up gluten all together (though if that’s right for you maybe you should). But be more conscious of the AMOUNT of gluten you ingest. Remember, gluten can be found in anything with WHEAT, OAT, RYE, and BARLEY. Not just wheat.

If you want to take it a bit farther, there are many foods that you can ingest that actually fight the inflammatory state. These are called anti-inflammatory foods, and they are much better than popping a few ibuprofen. Practically all fruits and vegetables are natural anti-inflammatory. Hmm, what did the doctor say about eating more fruits and vegetables again? You’ve heard about the Mediterranean diet? Well guess what, its very anti-inflammatory. It involves a diet high in olive oil, moderate red wine, vegetables, fish, and eggs. Eat up people!!

~ Dr. Andy


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