How Diet May Effect Chronic or Persistent Pain | Modern Manual Therapy Blog

How Diet May Effect Chronic or Persistent Pain

I wanted to follow up on Dr. Rothschild's excellent and very popular post A “Gut” Feeling: How what you eat may affect your perception of pain.

Both Andrew and myself have transitioned to a mostly Whole Foods, Plant Based Diet. This was both for our own health plus curiosity and the never ending quest to help those who are seemingly non-responders to traditional physical therapy.

When you end up with a diagnosis of Fibromyalgia on your schedule for initial evaluation, depending on how your day is going you may think
  • I'm up for the challenge, let's get this person functioning again
  • I am not ready for this
I want to thank Dr. Michael Greger of who puts together a great site at with literature review videos and blog posts. Below is one of my favorite videos showing the effects of various WFPB diets on the perceived pain/stiffness and quality of life of individuals with both fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis.

Fibromyalgia vs Vegetarian and Raw Vegan Diets

The thing I liked about some of the studies reviewed in the video is how the groups who had improvement in pain/stiffness/quality of life returned to their normal diet after weeks or months, and their symptoms also returned.

Does this mean that meat or poor diet causes chronic pain? No, but it fits in with what other researchers have found regarding persistent pain patients, they may overall have an unhealthy ecosystem with many comorbidities. Just like Vitamin B or D deficiency, often studied in isolation for various effects like neuropathic pain, balance, strength, etc... If you are nutrient deficient in your diet, it's not just vitamins B or D, and the effects are widespread, not just for pain, but overall health.

Check out this post on Pain-Ed on The Role of a Healthy Lifestyle in Chronic Pain

What's the solution? I think PTs, whether or not it's in your state practice act to prescribe nutrition, owe it to themselves and their patients to learn more about it, and always have a plan B for non-responders that is not imaging, meds, and surgery.

Interested in live cases where I apply this approach and integrate it with pain science, manual therapy, repeated motions, IASTM, with emphasis on patient education? Check out Modern Manual Therapy!

Keeping it Eclectic...


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