In recent years, there have been numerous articles around the link between diet and pain. Now, I was always one of those people who disregarded this and thought it was a load of nonsense. “How could what I eat possibly affect my pain levels?”
However, a few months ago after a period of feeling ill every time I ate certain things, I went to see a nutrionist to find out whether there are any foods I am intolerant or allergic to (except the obvious peanuts) and I was shocked by the results. Anyone who knows me well will know how much of a carb lover I am – cakes, bread etc. have always been my biggest weakness (I do love baking after all), However, that fateful day revealed to me that the one thing I have always craved had been making me ill for years. I came straight home and went completely gluten free straight away, which let me tell you was particularly difficult considering I had just come home from holiday on which I had bought multiple boxes of my favourite cookies. Within 2 weeks I felt like a different person – yes I still had pain but the pain wasn’t reducing me to tears like it had been for months prior and for once I had enough energy to get through a day of work without coming home and falling asleep within 15 minutes of hitting the sofa.
Since then, I have cut out most processed foods and replaced these with meat, fish and fresh vegetables (with the odd carb here and then as I am self-confessed carb lover!). Now, don’t get me wrong I still enjoy the odd treat here and there – I mean hello, who can resist a twister (or two or three… 🍦) but on the whole I try and eat as healthily as possible and I cannot even begin to explain what a difference this has made to me.
So, is there a correlation between diet and Chronic Pain – yes, quite possibly. It may well just be a coincidence that my pain levels have decreased (by decreased, I mean they’ve gone from a 7/10 to a 5/10 – I’ll take my wins where I can get them) but then again, there may well be a positive link between the two.
The Ehlers-Danlos Society is currently trying to raise the funds to enable them to conduct research into the effects changes to diet can have on the symptoms of hEDS so hopefully one day we will find out an answer but until then I urge all of you suffering with chronic pain to assess what you’re putting into your body and think about where you can make small changes to see if you can reduce your pain (even by just 10%). However, do not deprive yourself of treats – especially on a high pain day (we all know chocolate is the best type of pain relief 😉)
If you would like to find out more about or donate to the EDS Society’s research efforts, please see the link below for more information.