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Diet and Pain

A Few Exceptions

While diet alone is not enough to control pain in people with chronic pain, there are a couple of notable exceptions. Certain chronic pain conditions can be better managed through changes in diet.
 
For example, people with gout, a painful form of arthritis, are often instructed to follow a gout diet. Gout attacks occur when uric acid builds up in the blood and form crystals around a joint. A gout diet aims to reduce intake of foods high in purine, such as meat, fish, and alcohol. This is because foods high in purine increase the amount of uric acid in the body. While decreasing purine intake won't treat gout completely, it can help reduce the number and severity of gout attacks.
 
(Click Gout Diet for more information on foods to avoid if you have gout.)
 
In addition, people with migraine headaches may have certain things that trigger the onset of a headache. For some people, this includes certain foods. While triggers can vary from person to person, common ones include beer, wine, and certain meats and cheeses (see Migraine Food Triggers for more information).
 

Final Thoughts

Chronic pain is generally best managed with a well-rounded approach that includes several different treatments, from medications to diet and exercise. Strong evidence doesn't exist to support any one particular food or type of diet for treating chronic pain. You should, therefore, be wary of diets that claim to be a cure for chronic pain until more research is available. However, eating a well-balanced diet is one of the best things you can do for your overall health, and may help improve your pain symptoms as well. 
 
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