Fibromyalgia? Chronic Pain? Is a change of Diet needed? | ProHealth Fibromyalgia, ME/CFS and Lyme Disease Forums

Fibromyalgia? Chronic Pain? Is a change of Diet needed?

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I think that Dr Joseph Mercola has a lot of very interesting and helpful insights that he shares with his readers. This is what he suggests in regards to the above in order to reduce pain through diet.

'Chronic pain is a pervasive issue and fibromyalgia is a very common form. It is a chronic condition whose symptoms include muscle and tissue pain, fatigue, depression, and sleep disturbances.

Recent data suggests that central sensitization, in which neurons in your spinal cord become sensitized by inflammation or cell damage, may be involved in the way fibromyalgia sufferers process pain.

Certain chemicals in the foods you eat may trigger the release of neurotransmitters that heighten this sensitivity.

Although there have been only a handful of studies on diet and fibromyalgia, the following eating rules can’t hurt, and may help, when dealing with chronic pain.

Limit Sugar as Much as Possible.Increased insulin levels will typically dramatically worsen pain. So you will want to limit all sugars and this would typically include fresh fruit juices. Whole fresh fruit is the preferred method for consuming fruit products.

If you are overweight, have high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes, you will also want to limit grains as much as possible as they are metabolized very similarly to sugars. This would also include organic unprocessed grains. Wheat and gluten grains are the top ones to avoid.

Eat fresh foods. Eating a diet of fresh foods, devoid of preservatives and additives, may ease symptoms triggered by coexisting conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

It’s also a good idea to buy organic food when possible, as it’s best to avoid pesticides and chemicals. However, fresh is best. So if you have to choose between local, fresh, non-organic and organic but wilting – go with fresh, and clean properly.

Avoid caffeine. Fibromyalgia is believed to be linked to an imbalance of brain chemicals that control mood, and it is often linked with inadequate sleep and fatigue. The temptation is to artificially and temporarily eliminate feelings of fatigue with stimulants like caffeine, but this approach does more harm than good in the long run. Though caffeine provides an initial boost of energy, it is no substitute for sleep, and is likely to keep you awake.

Try avoiding nightshade vegetables. Nightshade vegetables like tomatoes, potatoes, and eggplant may trigger arthritis and pain conditions in some people.

Be Careful with Your Fats. Animal based omega-3 fats like DHA and EPA have been touted as a heart-healthy food, and they may help with pain, as well. They can help reduce inflammation and improve brain function. At the same time, you want to eliminate all trans fat and fried foods, as these will promote inflammation.

Use yeast sparingly. Consuming yeast may also contribute to the growth of yeast fungus, which can contribute to pain.

Avoid pasteurized dairy. Many fibromyalgia sufferers have trouble digesting milk and dairy products. However, many find that raw dairy products, especially from grass fed organic sources, are well tolerated.

Cut down on carbs. About 90 percent of fibromyalgia patients have low adrenal functioning, which affects metabolism of carbohydrates and may lead to hypoglycemia.

Avoid aspartame. The artificial sweetener found in some diet sodas and many sugar-free sweets is part of a chemical group called excitotoxins, which activate neurons that can increase your sensitivity to pain.

Avoid additives. Food additives such as monosodium glutamate (MSG) often cause trouble for pain patients. MSG is an excitatory neurotransmitter that may stimulate pain receptors; glutamate levels in spinal fluid have been shown to correlate with pain levels in fibromyalgia patients.

Stay away from junk food. Limit or eliminate fast food, candy, and vending-machine products. In addition to contributing to weight gain and the development of unhealthy eating habits, these diet-wreckers may also irritate your muscles, disrupt your sleep, and compromise your immune system.'

Keeping a diary of what you are eating will also help you hugely...because you might not actually experience increased pain (or a flare up) for a bit. Always good to know what helps and what is hurting you! For me, I experimented with nightshade veg...and found that although fresh tomatoes are no problem, within 2 hours of having anything with tinned tomatoes in it (bye bye chili and spaghetti sauce!)...I will be in a flare up for up to 3 days afterwards.

In fact, almost ALL of my fibro friends have food intolerances of some sort - from gluten to dairy. Quite a few people I know are also on the Paleo diet and are experiencing a lot of success in regards to pain reduction and an increase in energy and not so much brain fog. are what you eat!!!!


Hi, Alyssa. I think this is a great list, but some people can tolerate coffee just fine. In his book Grain Brain, Dr. Perlmutter says that coffee is one of the most potent activators of Nrf2, a nucleic protein that turns on some of the body's most powerful antioxidants and detoxification, especially for the brain. Some of the other activators are DHA, turmeric, bacopa, green tea extract, and several other supplements a lot of us take. That info is from page 144 and 146 of Grain Brain.

I have one cup of coffee a day, and it helps clear away some of my brain's cobwebs and gives me such pleasure. I also have 2 cups of green tea. I don't have any side effects.


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Thanks for sharing your experience jkennedy! That obviously makes sense in regards to clearing the cobwebs. For myself, because I am following what is essentially a low carb diet - I stay clear of it really can affect insulin levels. Everyone is so different! And it is great that you are able to enjoy your cuppa. I admittedly have yet to try a green tea that I enjoy though....Lord knows I have tried! I just find it unpalatable! (But it is in my protein shake in the morning...). Have a great, pain free weekend! A.x


I always have to eat a little something before I have coffee or tea so it won't bother my stomach. It doesn't take much: just a little cheese and almond butter.

I don't know, but it seems like any insulin spike would be lessened if you have some protein first.


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My diet is high in protein, medium fat and low in, yes - I do try and have a slice of cheese - or, there is some wonderful peanut butter here called Whole Earth - with no sugar - but with salt - so it still actually tastes good! A spoonful of that, meds, protein shake...and fingers crossed it all stays where it should!!!! For me in regards to caffeine, I have enough troubles getting to sleep as it is! :) Have a great weekend. A.x