Gut health is the latest health trend. Several studies and articles have been published on the importance of “gut health” and its vital role in our bodies’ health. Until recently, society has not recognized the connection between the gut and brain axis and how the gut influences our mood, cognitive function, and mental health. Mood and mental health are thought to affect chronic pain and its severity.
So the question is, what role does the gut play in chronic pain? If any…
What is a microbiome?
Our microbiome or “gut” is the community of microorganisms that can usually be found living together in any given habitat. Our microbiome consists of bacteria but also fungi, parasites, and viruses. When a person has a healthy microbiome, these “bugs” coexist peacefully.
Each person’s microbiome is different and determined by their DNA. Starting from birth, your microbiome is influenced by the microorganisms you were exposed to. Many factors affect the health of your gut.
These factors begin from birth and include:
- Did you come through the birth canal during childbirth
- If you were breastfed
- Past and current diet
- The number of antibiotics you have been on throughout your life.
How is the gut related to Chronic Pain?
Let’s look at diet and how it affects your gut microbiome. Eating foods high in sugar that are highly processed feeds the nasty bugs in your stomach and can cause an imbalance in your microbiome, leading to inflammation in the body. Excessive inflammation can trigger pain-related conditions such as migraines and fibromyalgia. Inflammation in the body can also increase the symptoms of injuries or other chronic pain-related conditions. The gut-brain connection is also related to your mood, and the “feel good” chemicals in the brain. When the gut is not optimal, it can reduce these chemicals and lead to mood imbalances. When the mood is not balanced, it may increase the severity of your pain.
Researchers are finding that optimizing your gut microbiome can help reduce chronic pain conditions and relieve your symptoms.
How to optimize your gut microbiome
At ISPW, we believe in the whole-body approach, including the gut. We try to teach and show all patients how to eat and make healthier choices to improve their health and reduce pain ultimately. Choosing anti-inflammatory foods is vital when optimizing your gut health.
Reducing or eliminating these foods from your diet:
- processed foods
- sugary foods
- sugary drinks
- foods you are sensitive or allergic to
You want to focus on filling your diet with these foods:
- whole and nutritious
- filled with antioxidants
- whole grains
- lean protein
Incorporating probiotics into your diet is another way to help improve gut health. This can be done through food or by taking supplements. Because the FDA does not regulate probiotics, it’s important to choose supplements that have been third-party tested and can’t be destroyed by the acid in your gut.
If you choose to get probiotics through food, here are some options that will help to optimize your gut microbiome:
Feel free to contact our office for additional ways to improve gut health. We can offer food coaching to get you on the right track and get your gut in check.
Healing your gut can offer several health benefits, not just lowering chronic pain symptoms but it helps to improve energy, mood and strengthens your immune system. This doesn’t happen overnight and may take a little bit of time, but once you work on optimizing your health, you will feel better than you have in years.
At ISPW, we are always looking at ways to help support you in your journey with Chronic Pain. Being on this road isn’t easy, and we want to give you the tools to help heal and alleviate your pain. For any questions regarding this topic, please reply to this email or reach out at [email protected]
Here’s to excellent health and less pain,