Pain Concern
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Sugar seems to help!

I've suffered from chronic pain for over 8 1/2 years. It's mostly neck, head and shoulders but also affects my upper back down to my shoulder-blades. And very often leads to migraines. I have had no diagnosis and nothing significant showed up on an MRI scan. I have tried chiropractors, osteopaths, cranio-sacral therapy, Alexander Technique, yoga, massage, physiotherapy, acupuncture, reflexology, rest, exercise and changes to my diet. I took tramadol for ages and coming off it led to a mental breakdown. Now I am off the anti-depressants I needed to get through that, my pain has got worse again. There is not much relief from it. I have noticed, however, that sometimes having a sugary drink or a cake or biscuit can ease the pain a little. Has anyone else experienced this, and does anyone know why this would happen? It never works if the pain is really bad, and definitely does nothing if the pain has gone to a migraine (nothing helps then) - but on occasions when it is less severe, it can sometimes help.

11 Replies

Raw sugar (brown) is well known and used frequently to treat newborns for pain.

Honey is a bit of a cure all too and it might be worth looking into it and its benefits if sugar works for you. Try mixing 2 teaspoons honey, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon in a cup, fill with boiling water and drink as a tea. Takes a bit of getting used to - not unpleasant but strange, this helps with all sorts of aches and pains. 2 - 3 times a day.

If sugar picks you up may be worth having a diabetes test. It may just be that you have associated pain and sugar as a reliever by coincidence.

It may just be the placebo effect of enjoying a biscuit or cake, or enjoying the time out that this gives you, stopping and relaxing.

But if it works, keep doing it. We don't always need to know why.


Thanks for your reply zanna. Have been drinking agave nectar (which is similar to honey) in hot water and it does seem to help a little sometimes. Will give brown sugar a try too - though will have to balance all this with my efforts to lose weight!!! It's unlikely I have diabetes as I am quite a healthy weight and very active and my doctor doesn't think it's worth testing for. I do definitely experience more pain when I'm hungry so I have also just been trying to eat something every 4 hours instead of sticking to 3 meals a day. Thank you for your suggestions! :)


Who needs scientists, drs and nutritionalists? We seem to be v good at working things out for ourselves.

The Roman's used honey. Its amazing stuff. I can't upload the link but there's an article on here called the benefits of honey I'm sure other honey like foods will have similar benefits.


Hi boogyon, having been a migraine sufferer most of my life just wonder if you have the right mattress and pillow? Recently I have tried a softer pillow and find lying flatter is better for my neck, which affects my head.Have also had to move my position because of my back pain, now lying almost on my back but slightly to the right side so that the pain and tingling in my left leg are not so bad. Am also back on a sprung mattress after 8 years on a Tempur which

was lovely at first but eventually seemed to have got past its "sell by" date.

Have now given up spending money on chiropractic as the last adjustment caused me to yell in agony and am sure the disc must have been pushed further out to cause so much pain, could hardly walk after that , although they had helped my neck problem many years before.

So it is back to physiotherapy, morphine and amitritylene and awaiting injections to a facet joint and nerve root.

You appear to have tried everything under the sun so I feel a lot of sympathy for you. Interesting about the sugar/honey treatment and the cinnamon, certainly worth a try. Thanks, Zanna, you often have very helpful advice.

Take care, boogyon, good to hear from you, Chriswinkle


Hi chriswinkle. Thanks for your reply. I have no idea if I have the best mattress and pillow, although I have had 2 or 3 different ones since the pain started and it doesn't seem to make a lot of difference. I tried a temper at one point but found the mattress uncomfortable and the pillow too hard! Yes, I also find lying flat is good and often discard the pillow when lying on my back. The last time I bought a mattress the advice was that a harder mattress is better - but who knows? If only the shops would let us borrow a few different ones for a month each and then we could decide! Good luck with your physio etc. I am trying hypnotherapy now! It's nice and relaxing anyway...


I have pain in similar places and migraines, which are often triggered by the pain. Sugar seems to help the migraines - it's as if I am craving it a bit (I can usually leave it alone) and I've read that some people get this with migraine. Also that migraine can cause changes in blood sugar or changes in blood sugar can cause migraine. I am getting some relief now from botox and physio.

Have you joined the National Migraine Centre community on healthunlocked? Someone on there might be able to answer your question.


Hi teadrinker. Thanks for your reply. It's interesting that other people also find a connection with sugar and migraines. I am trying to keep my blood sugar levels steady by eating small meals regularly, but I still crave sugar massively sometimes, and it does seem to help. I am glad you are getting some relief from your pain. Thanks for the National Migraine Centre suggestion. Will give it a go!


Have you tried Erythromycin. There is an argument that bacterial infection can cause pain. I do take this when my chronic pain is worse than usual and it helps. My GP says that Erythromycin is known to have anti-inflamatory properties and this is what helped rather than the anti bacterial properties. It is going to take some time to convince GP's that bacterial infections which they cannot see can cause pain. Dentists have known for years that you can get bacterial infections which cannot be seen and yet cause massive amounts of pain.

I have used Alexander Technique for 35 years and I know it cannot cure my chronic pain problem. It does however help me in the management of my chronic pain. The McTimony chiropractor I see cannot cure my chronic pain problem, but it does help in the management of my chronic pain problem.


Hi johnsmith. Thanks for your reply. No, I have not tries Erythromycin (hadn't even heard of it to be honest!) but there's something to bring up with my doctor on my next visit! I am glad you have found things that help you manage your pain and I hope you find something that will get rid of it completely. I am trying Hypnotherapy now and hoping it will cure me!!!



What can you say about this sweets, chocolate and other sugery things seems to lighten up our moods, for a short period of time. One problem we put on weight because of inactivity, and we get wrong from the dieticians, we cannot win all things we like are in some ways bad for us.

All the best



Hi BOB. Thanks for your reply. Yes, too many sugary things can definitely be bad for us. I am trying to incorporate them in a balanced way into an otherwise pretty healthy diet. I eat a lot of fruit and veg and salads (and at times, too much chocolate!) I think a bit of sugar can be good, especially as it can bring relief from pain. My approach at the moment is not to have any biscuits or cakes etc in the house, but just to buy one bar of chocolate every so often. The agave nectar I have been drinking in hot water has a low GI so is a healthier way to get a bit of something sweet. Mmm... going to go and have one now!


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