(Click Here) to see Part 2.

As we age, many of us begin to experience aches and pains. In fact, according to a recent study conducted at the University of Toronto Centre for the Study of Pain, Toronto, Ontario, 70% to 85% of people 65 years of age and older, have reportedly experienced significant health issues that can predispose them to chronic (long-term) pain. Chronic pain can be persistent, and it can last for days, months, or even years in some instances (such as in rheumatoid arthritis). Just ask someone with chronic pain, and they’ll probably tell you that it interferes with just about every aspect of life, from enjoyment, to work, their sleep pattern, and more. It can also adversely affect mental health, leading to frustration, anxiety or depression. Many people with chronic pain feel that using prescription medication is the only option for pain relief. But, most recently, medical research shows some strong evidence that there is an association between what we eat and chronic pain.

The Study

According to a 2010 internet-based study, published in The Journal of Pain, 31% of adults in the U.S. suffer from chronic pain. In 2017, another study, published by the U.S. National Library of Medicine (PubMed), surveyed 300 adults with chronic pain from rheumatoid arthritis, to find out if certain foods exacerbate the pain. The study results indicated that 24% of the participants reported that diet impacted the severity of their pain.

How Does Diet Adversely Affect Pain Level?

Foods don’t directly cause an increase in pain in the body. However, they do have an impact on the inflammatory response, which is responsible for pain (and other symptoms) in many illnesses. One glaringly obvious example of inflammation and pain is rheumatoid arthritis. The body’s inflammatory process can be helpful in the short term—such as when the immune response works to fight an infection. In other instances, the immune cells attack normal, healthy tissues in the body, resulting in damage to the cells and tissue and pain. This is what happens when a person has arthritis.

Common Inflammatory Pain Related Conditions

  • Arthritis
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Gout
  • Migraine Headaches
  • Lupus disease
  • Food allergies
  • Chron’s disease
  • Celiac disease

Approximately 70% of the cells that are involved in the immune response can be found in the digestive tract, and diet has been found to have a strong effect on the inflammatory response. For example, some foods have been found to help lower inflammation (such as wild caught salmon and other foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids). Other foods, such as processed meats can trigger symptoms of inflammation, worsening pain that results from inflammation.

Read on to Part 2 of this article to discover which foods to avoid that can trigger inflammation and pain.

(Click Here) to see Part 2.


1 Link, R. (2018, February). Top-ten pain triggering foods. Dr. Axe.

2. Mailis-Gagnon, A., Nicholson, K., Yegneswaran, B., & Zurowski, M. (2008). Pain characteristics of adults 65 years of age and older referred to a tertiary care pain clinic. Pain Research & Management: The Journal of the Canadian Pain Society, 13 (5), 389–394.

3. Tedeschi, SK. (2017, December). Diet and Rheumatoid Arthritis Symptoms: Survey Results from a Rheumatoid Arthritis Registry. PubMed

4. Johannas, CB., Le TK, Zhou X, Johnston JA, Dworkin RH. (2010, August). The prevalence of chronic pain in the United States. PubMed

5. Nestel PJ1, Pally S, MacIntosh GL, Greeve MA, Middleton S, Jowett J, Meikle PJ. (January 2012). Circulating inflammatory and atherogenic biomarkers are not increased following single meals of dairy foods.