Chronic Pain And Inflammation


Contributing Writer
Jeffrey Barkstrom

We see a lot of chronic and inflammation in our office. People don’t realize that what they eat is making their pain worse.

First a quick story, I have a patient who was scheduled for shoulder surgery. We helped him change his diet over a few months. He decided to cancel his surgery, because his pain almost completely disappeared.

When we think about pain, what do we usually see. Generally, the area is red, swollen and painful. What that is telling us is that area has inflammation. Inflammation makes pain worse.

The good news is that if you are willing to change, you can reduce your pain substantially just by making a few changes. The changes are very simple.

First, let’s look at the foods that cause inflammation. In general, the category of foods that are high in carbohydrates cause the most inflammation. Carbohydrates are divided into two categories: Simple and Complex.

Simple Carbohydrates are foods like : sugar, corn syrup, honey, maple syrup, jellies, fruit drinks, soft drinks and candy. These are the foods that most people recognize as bad for us, but are most unwilling to give up.

Complex carbohydrates are things like : Grains and things made from grains (Oatmeal, pasta, breads, whole-grain breads), starchy vegetables (potatoes, sweet potatoes and pumpkin), beans, lentils and peas. This category is believed to be healthy for us due to the effect of advertising, but research says otherwise. Research says complex carbohydrates just change into sugar in the body and cause just as much inflammation as white sugar.

How do you start? What I find works for most people is starting small. Pick something that you can easily keep track of, let’s say sugar in your coffee. If you start with three teaspoons of sugar in your coffee, switch to two tea spoons for a week. If you can do that, then the second week switch to one tea spoon and so on. I would also suggest writing down everything you eat and have a person you can talk to about the changes you are making, like a natural health practitioner. Research has proven that change is done when, we write things down and we are reporting to someone else.

So, you can effect how you feel! In our office, we help teach people and help that gain control of their lives. If you have questions, feel free to call our office at (716)665-5015 or come to one of our free workshops. Take care and have a great day!

Jeffrey Barkstrom has been helping people with health and weight loss issues for more than 12 years. He has spoken at colleges, businesses, non-profits, national conferences and on television about the benefits of a healthy lifestyle. He currently practices at Barkstrom Acupuncture PC, Natural Health Improvement Center in Jamestown, NY. Learn more at or at