Chronic pain refers to any pain that is persistent for a period beyond twelve weeks. The pain can either be in a mild form or excruciating; continuous or episodic; barely convenient or totally inconveniencing. The nervous system has signals that detect pain in healthy individuals to trigger a withdrawal response. Naturally, individuals have a mechanism of terminating a signal once it is generated, and a response is elicited. This works best in the case of acute pains which is usually short-lived, and the signal doesn’t last for long.
When pain signals are generated, and they fail to be terminated over a short period, they result to continuous pain signal that results to persistent pain that lasts for a long period also referred to as chronic pain. The body has its mechanism of managing the pain that is regulated by different molecules. However, the pain signals can be triggered by certain molecules present in some foods we eat. In this article, we discuss five foods that can trigger chronic pain in an individual.
Coffee and chocolate
Chronic pain results from an imbalance in the brain chemicals that controls mood that is mostly linked to fatigue and cases of inadequate sleep. This mostly prompts individuals to take caffeine to elevate mood. The body has a substance known as endorphin that binds to the nerve endings in the brain cells which acts as an opiate to terminate our sense of pain.
Coffee or caffeine is a competitive inhibitor of the natural endorphin and it binding to the endorphin receptors prevents the latter from binding however they lack the analgesic activity of opiates thus they trigger pain. They also contain oxalic acid that binds to mineral ions and chelates them. The resultant effect of these is the decrease in the level of mineral ions in the blood resulting in muscle spasms and tightness that are characterized by pain.
White table Sugars
The increase in blood sugar level stimulates the pancreatic gland to increase the synthesis of insulin hormone that leads to inflammation of the pancreas that is accompanied by pain. Secondly, white sugar lacks a lot of mineral ions, and its consumption causes the absorption of calcium, magnesium and sodium and potassium ions that are then dumped into the urine.
This causes the low supply of this mineral ion in the body and as a result, it forces the body to scavenge on its own bones and muscles to compensate for the blood mineral deficiency, resulting to pain. Excess sugar is broken also broken down into saturated fatty acid mainly arachidonic acid whose accumulation leads to inflammation and pain.
Eggs have arachidonic acid as one of their components. Arachidonic acid is a fatty acid that research has found to cause inflammation in the body tissues. The inflammation due to arachidonic acid leads to chronic pain if the consumption of eggs is not terminated. Most eggs consumers may not be aware of this factor, however, it may be because of your chronic pain.
Arachidonic acid is also further broken down into prostaglandin that takes part in a signal cascade through binding to G-protein-coupled receptors and activating a protein kinase a cascade. The downstream effect of the pathway is increased sensitivity, and this makes an individual more prone to chronic pain.
The human body finds it difficult to digest lactose a major component of milk. An individual suffering from lactose intolerance is mostly affected when they consume milk. The lactose accumulation in the gastrointestinal tracts leads to gastrointestinal pains and abdominal discomfort.
Red meat is rich in purines, a nitrogenous base whose break down in the body produces uric acid. Uric acid triggers excruciatingly pain in the body by causing inflammation of body tissues. It also has several Omega-3 fatty acids rich in arachidonic acid that is a component also present in eggs and triggers pain in a similar mechanism as earlier described.
The above-mentioned foods have been implicated in cases of chronic pains, therefore, individuals that suffer from chronic pains should try and minimize uptake of such foods or totally eliminate them from their diet. Though some chronic pains might be due to genetic factors, their management can be managed through dietary approaches by ensuring you eliminate foods rich in the key molecules that increase sensitivity to pain or stimulates pain.