The keto diet isn’t just the latest diet trend; it may be exactly what we need to finally address chronic pain in a whole-body manner. With more than 20 percent of the U.S. adult population living with chronic pain (8 percent of whom experience high-impact pain), it is time we look to an approach that deviates from opioids and other potentially dangerous solutions.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 130 Americans die every day from opioid overdose. What many people do not realize is that these ‘drug users’ are often just people facing unbearable chronic pain.
But what if there was a solution that was not only safer and helped with pain relief, but carried numerous other health benefits? The keto diet may be the answer for many who are constantly looking for ways to improve pain management.
What is the Ketogenic Diet?
The keto diet (also referred to as a ketogenic diet) is rich in non-starchy vegetables, protein, and good fats and minimizes carbohydrate consumption. The goal of this diet is to (eventually) get your body to a place where they can store and break down fat, converting it into energy – this is called ketosis.
So, what does this have to do with chronic pain relief? For starters, one of the top benefits of the keto diet is its ability to decrease tissue damage and inflammation. The diet cuts out all sugar, which is extremely inflammatory and can lead to chronic pain. It also encourages the production of adenosine, a naturally occurring chemical in the body that acts as a pain reliever.
What to Eat on a Keto Diet
If you are thinking about starting the ketogenic diet to see if it will help you find pain relief, keep in mind it is typically comprised of 70 percent fat, 25 percent protein, and 5 percent carbs. Some of the foods you will eat include:
- Avocado, grass-fed butter, coconut oil, whole pastured eggs
- Raw nuts
- Omega-3-rich seeds, like chia, pumpkin, and hemp
- Wild-caught fish (think salmon, mackerel, and sardines)
- Dark, leafy greens
- Berries (but not for at least a couple of weeks)
Since the main goal of the keto diet is to reduce inflammation and get more calories from good fats and protein, the following foods should be avoided:
- Processed foods
- Sugar and other artificial sweeteners
- Soy products
- Refined oils and fats
How Can the Keto Diet Reduce Pain?
Over the last 20 years, more than 700,000 Americans have died as a result of a drug overdose, 68% of which involved opioids.
Instead of relying solely on painkillers and other medications to treat chronic pain, including the ketogenic diet may help reduce the need for daily medications and can be a much more effective and beneficial solution. It is no secret that pain dramatically impacts your quality of life, so finding a treatment that works is a must – albeit challenging. Those who have tried the keto diet have seen very positive results, including relief from pain associated with arthritis and other chronic conditions.
To learn more about the benefits of the keto diet and how it may provide you with pain relief, please contact Ortho Spine America today to set up a consultation with Dr. Atwater’s team!
This article is listed in the Business Directory.