There is an increasing amount of research that there may well be a correlation between diet and pain, at least in some people. Some of this research indicates that, for certain people, some foods may actually lead to inflammation, the most common cause of ongoing pain.
In fact, as far back as 1958, researchers were interested in the relationship between diet and lifestyle, and chronic widespread pain (CWP).
“The findings for smoking, body mass index and (for women) diet offer support for the hypothesis that lifestyle factors may partially explain the association between Chronic Widespread Pain and cancer or cardiovascular disease.” (British Cohort Study)
Gluten, Inflammation & Pain
More recently, and especially as gluten-free diets have become popular, studies have been conducted on the possible causal relationship between gluten and a variety of health problems, including: gut problems, weight loss, anemia, osteoporosis, infertility and miscarriage, skin rashes, headache, depression, fibromyalgia, and joint pain.
According to Alessio Fasano, MD, who directs the Center for Celiac Research at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, “Unlike other proteins, we don’t digest gluten completely. In some people, the immune system sees gluten as the enemy and will unleash weapons to attack it, causing inflammation in the intestines as well as in other organs and tissues.” (Arthritis.org)
For people who are sensitive to gluten, the inability to fully digest grains for example, may not only cause stomach and digestive problems, but can lead to inflammation outside the gut. This inflammation will most commonly be felt in the joints, which may cause arthritis and other joint pain.
According to Rochelle Rosian, MD, a rheumatologist at Cleveland Clinic, “We know that certain foods are pro-inflammatory and that includes gluten-containing grains and the thousands of foods made from them. When some, but not all, people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity eliminate these from their diet, they find their arthritis improves.”
In my own experience, I’ve had innumerable examples of people who’ve reduced or eliminated pain by changing their diets, most commonly by eliminating wheat, dairy, corn, soy, and eggs; all of which I define as “pro-inflammatory foods”.
Have you had experience with successfully changing your diet and reducing pain? Share your story with others in the comments section below.