Is our 'diet' a contributory factor to chroni... - Pain Concern

Pain Concern

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Is our 'diet' a contributory factor to chronic pain?


Hi all

Does anyone have any experience or thoughts of, if being vegetarian has a detrimental or beneficial effect on their chronic pain?

I am vegetarian and was before all this started. At one point, a doctor told me to maybe start eating fish to alleviate some of my pain - with a major guilty conscience I ate fish for a year but it had no effect whatsoever so I stopped. A few people and another doctor have 'suggested' eating meat again but due to my reasons for not eating meat, I'm obviously reluctant and a little sceptical - unless there's an overwhelming majority of evidence that it 'will' help?!



15 Replies

That's a very interesting question. I am trying to be gluten free and dairy free. For me, I can only say some days are better than others. So at this point,, I can't say my diet triggers flair ups. Greasy food is bad for me.

This is an old book which claims that our modern eating habits have made us 'sick': 'A doctor's proven new home cure for arthritis '.... Basically suggests we eat grass fed organ meats and vegetables yada yada... You'll find loads of other conflicting advice on the web... It's a whole industry! I guess the gp was suggesting fish because there is some evidence that omega 3 oils can help inflammation.... Personally, despite all the arguments about vegetarian and meat eating, I couldn't just eat veg. I find it bloating and unsatisfying and it's hard to maintain a balanced bloody sugar level coz always hungry....

RAYJAYC in reply to Boozybird

Hi Boozybird

Yep, I've found, seen and been given conflicting evidence about meat versus vegetarian diets - I thought I'd ask on this forum as this is where the real experts are!! Nothing better than anecdotal evidence..........

I think maybe as you're not vegetarian that you're not familiar with the vast variety of foods that we veggies eat nowadays - trust me, it's not just vegetables!! We've got plenty of grub to keep our blood sugar levels up - if it were just vegetables, I admit I'd probably be eight stone lighter though!!

I'll have a look for the book - could be interesting!


This might interest you: I had my DNA decoded with 23andme and it revealed a problem with the gene for methylation. People on the site forums have got quite excited by this and there is much debate about how it effects the body when the gene is defective. Anyway, the solution seems to be eating natural sources of folate and avoiding unnatural sources of folate eg. Shop made bread contains this so avoiding bread and flour I suppose.... Anyway you can google MTHFR... I guess it indicates as if we needed confirmation how diet affects the body. 😜

RAYJAYC in reply to Boozybird

Thanks Boozybird, will do some 'research'


You are not asking a simple question. There are a multitude of different vegetarian diets. Some will provide the balanced nutrition you need some will not. B!2 can be a problem with vegetarian diets. Always worthwhile checking the B12.

Some pulses have to be mixed with other pulses to get the amino acid requirements at a single sitting.

What nutrients do you need in regard to amino acids, fatty acids, vitamins and minerals and is the food you are eating providing these nutrients? Unfortunately there is an added complication in that we all have a micronome which aids in the digestion of food and provides some essential nutrients. Hence the discussion in scientific and medical circles about the issues of fecal transplants helping with some chronic conditions.

Hope this has been helpful.

Potentially, yes, it could have an effect, though it wouldn't be a primary cause. Being vegetarian can make it a whole lot harder to ensure you have exactly the right balance of nutrients in your body, particularly amino acids and some minerals. Vegetable protein sources typically don't have as many amino acids as meat protein, which means you have to do a lot more combining of vegetable proteins (eg rice + beans) to get all the amino acids you need to build muscle in your body. It might be worth trying to find a health practitioner who can do an analysis of your diet and maybe even check you for deficiencies. Its a whole lot easier to get a good balance of nutrients from a diet that has a good balance of animal protein + carb + fats + vegetables + dairy, but being vegetarian or even vegan is possible if you take a lot more care and really understand what you are eating.

Hi RAYJACK, I don't know if it's for ethical reasons or not, that you are vegetarian. Do I assume you USED to eat meat way back when, or its just that you don't like the flavour or texture of it?

Meat does contain certain proteins and necessary nutrients you won't get from salads or vegetables.

If you buy soya products, there presumably will be a lot of other non essential elements in it, because the whole package may have be factory produced.,I can't say for certain because I'm not vegetarian, but have seen soya / vegetarian products on supermarket shelves.

I find it interesting you say your doc said to eat fish, a good source of omega 3 fish oils - IF you eat oily fish, like tuna, sardines. dry fish like cod plaice are different types, just like meat has different types.

Beef can be fatty. Pork and lamb worse often than beef. Venison is the leanest and best meat for its protein content.

we need preferably, 'natural sources, of proteins, carbohydrates, minerals, etc etc.

I have 2 books here which may be of interest to you to read. I've had them a few years, as something to have and read in retirement! It's time I took my own advice here as well! I've relied too long on Doctors to no good avail now!

I imagine they may be available on Amazon or if not from a good bookstore.

1. 100 great natural remedies. - by Penelope Ody. Published in GB by Kyle Cathie Ltd, London, in 1997.

(Not just about nourishment) but healing, - e.g. the use of cabbage leaves to ease aching joints! She "examines some of the healing properties of familiar plants that can easily help you to improve and maintain your own health".

As you vegetarian it's a place to start

2. AN EVEN BETTER BOOK, it addresses the changes in our modern day diets, farming methods etc., and is called


Published by R D Association Inc. in London*New York*Sydney*Montreal

The Chief Consultants are:-

Dr Alan Lakin who was Senior Lecturer on Food Chemistry at Reading Uni.

Dr Ann Walker senior Lecturer in Human Nutrition in same place.

Between them Both have good degrees in food related studies, biochemistry, food science, proteins - the list is endless almost.

Dr John Cormack - a practising GP in Essex is co-author ~ writer and Broadcaster - of Arthritis and Rheumatism-Your Questions Answered ~ with Dr Andrei Colin.

The book lists several individual medical conditions, Supplements and covers other aspects as well.

The book was published in 2000 originally, there may well be better other Guides available these days. But look the authors up on Wikipedia to see what it or if it says about their current status.

Finally my French pharmacist suggested I DONT eat Pork : beef, poultry and eggs. yes! he didn't mention fish but everyone here seems to eat a lot anyway, so he probably took it as given that I do, although I'm not a great fish lover.

But having said that, I'm about to now make myself a tinned tuna plus mayo sandwich with with butter - from a baked and sliced today small granular loaf. It tastes delicious.

So you see we can eat healthily. vegetarian or not. Happy New Year

Thanks everyone for your replies.

Yes SAMBS, I'm vegetarian for ethical reasons.

I've had some doctors say being vegetarian could be a factor whilst others haven't given an opinion either way.

I see a dietician as I'm unable to prepare & cook a meal from fresh due to my disability so have been eating 'rubbish' for the last three years. She prescribed a multivitamins with iron with which I take strictly everyday as I'm really reluctant to eat fish and meat but don't want some doctor to say,

"Well, if you had adequate vitamins and minerals then you'd be I less amounts of pain!" type thing!!

I know it's not as simple as that and do try to get my fruit & vegetables quota along with protein etc, etc, etc but when it's a bad day and I'm literally hanging off two crutches and unable to stand up straight, it's quite hard to be thinking about the nutritional content of the bag of crisps I'm able to reach!

I know it's the same for a lot of you so was just seeing if anyone had the answer!! (Wouldn't that be great?!)

I will look into the vitamin B12 though.

Thanks for your replies.....


There are anti-inflammatory foods according to articles I have read. A good source is from Dr. Weil. He has published books concerning this and has a website about it. I think you would be very interested.

RAYJAYC in reply to X01WOOG

Ok, thanks for that, I'll have a look...


RAYJAYC Well fancy your doctor telling you to eat fish. Cheeky that. I am a veggie and have been for a number of years. I do not eat fish. I eat eggs and cheese. I do not eat meat as I do not like the feelings I got when I did. I could pick up vibes shall we say on how the animal died as weird as it sounds. I get a lot of stick for not eating meat. People look at me in disbelief and even more because I do not drink or smoke. They think I am a bore haha. I do not take pain killers anymore having spent 16 years on them I find I function better without as they caused me more physical pain and side effects were immensely disturbing. I have pain and how I overcome it is through my inner strength albeit very tiring , however, the plusses of not having the side effects are fabulously rewarding. I am fighting depression too without the use of anti depressants .. I am relying solely on myself to get me through with the use of essential oils to combat the pain I might add and now use of this site which I found weeks ago. Diet is important I know. I went through a year or three of eating crap and found it of no benefit thru crisps and ready made snacks. I use my smoothie machine a lot now and swear by that .. A very handy appliance.

RAYJAYC in reply to Satsuma

I genuinely am impressed that you've come off all medication!! If pushed to make a decision, I suppose I'd give up my pain meds rather than antidepressants (my psychiatrist would probably section me otherwise!!) but I really don't know how you've managed it all!! That's some going!!

I get stick about being vegetarian too. People telling me about their 'favourite' meat dish or showing me their food - weird & rude!! They ask me how I manage to live without eating meat - huh? Easily......

I still get some doctors commenting on how I could be lack this & that from my diet but even if I did eat meat, it wouldn't be freshly prepared steamed chicken breast; I can't use the hob or oven and even the microwave can be a little hazardous!! It would be processed everything which doesn't really constitute a healthy diet!!

I've concluded that my ethical reasons for not eating meat are in no way contributing to my degenerative disease thus one shall continue to be veggie!


Satsuma in reply to RAYJAYC

Well RAYJAYC yes stick to your guns and morals and stuff them who try and force you. I came off my meds, i was fed up of the rut they had me in plus another life change happened. Knocked me for six at first and I did not know if I was coming or going plus it added to my depression somewhat .. I am bi polar and not had a high for many months .. I used to have them regularly. Depression has been severe and I am working through it and refuse to let it beat me and although I have a few obstacles to get over I think I will succeed as I must have faith in myself ... Call it my own ethics for want of a better word. I do not miss the side effects whatsoever. Has taken a good few months for them to work out of my system. A struggle alone without anything else. In fact my life is one big struggle but I have learnt I am losing time by suffering and have to change my attitude to many,many things in my life. I do not like living in the spirit of brokenness .. My attitudes were negative and produced no good only damage. Depression is a killer. I nearly resorted to suicide recently. As for cooking I do simple things in a wok and use a chair in the kitchen and sit and wait for the cooking process. There are ways around things, you just have to find them. And take your time. I live alone with no external support .. I have felt at times like giving up. I have no job but I would like to get one that suits me and one I would enjoy. It has been one big rollercoaster. I find that chatting on here helps. I used to enjoy reaching for the med bottle but now I do not even think about them. I was addicted I now know that now. Whilst on them I would defend my use I realise now. Plus take more as I built up a high intolerance to them. They masked who I was at core and had me a dysfunctional mess and I also found myself using synthetic cannabis for a few years to numb my emotional pain which it did not do. I gave that up and tobacco too .. Yes I have made some changes somewhat.. Phew what work though.

RayJay. I've just seen this post of yours from way back. It interests me a lot. I'm a fish eater but don't ever eat meat . For ethical and health reasons. I don't want my body pumped full of the hormones and antibiotics that are found in farmed meat. I ate my own chickens for a while as they had to be killed once they reached the end of egg production and I don't like to waste them but I can't do it now.

I believe my diet makes me healthier and more able to deal with the multiple drugs that i pollute my system with. My liver function is fine and my kidney function above average. Heart, lungs and cholesterol levels are good. I don't believe that if my diet was lacking I would be so generally healthy. Its only my spine that the problem. Oh and my alopecea. I can't explain that.

I am careful to include pluses as an alternative source of protein and eat extremely well. But I love cooking and do it well mostly.

My husband works off shore and is forced to eat a heavily meat based diet. He is generally constipated, bloated and feels rotten when he comes back. A few days at home and his health is restored.

We do not need meat and certainly not in the quantities people nowadays expect.


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