Fruits and Vegetables2

Effect of Diet on Inflammation and Pain

Over and over again, we hear about the importance of a good diet, but does what you eat affect your pain level? The simple answer is “yes.” The more complex answer involves understanding that there is a relationship between nutrition and pain, analyzing the mechanisms by which food triggers pain in the body, and identifying those foods that either exacerbate or relieve pain.

This important topic was addressed recently at the 2016 annual meeting of the American Academy of Pain Management, now the Academy of Integrative Pain Management (AIPM). In his address, Robert Bonakdar, MD, past president of AIPM and member of its board of directors, stated, “Diet can influence inflammation, shift the microbiome, modulate the immune system, improve joint function, eliminate pain triggers, and reduce deficiencies.” Dr. Bonakdar further explained that a poor diet increases C-reactive protein (CRP) in the blood, a known indicator of inflammation.

Dr. Bonakdar made several other points related to the impact of food on pain:

  • Excess grains can be inflammatory, especially in individuals who have celiac disease.
  • Magnesium deficiency, which affects about 70% of the population, has a strong association with migraines.
  • Vitamin D deficiency, present in 70-80% of pain patients, makes nerves “hypersensitive.”
  • A good diet, especially when combined with regular exercise, can significantly reduce pain.

Many medical experts suggest that patients with chronic, severe pain follow a diet that is high in “good” proteins—healthy meats, cottage cheese, eggs, fruits, and green vegetables. These high protein foods supply amino acids that produce pain-controlling substances such as endorphin, dopamine, and serotonin. Also, these patients should avoid eating carbohydrates without simultaneously eating protein to avoid a rapid rise in insulin followed by a drop in blood glucose (hypoglycemia), which appears to increase pain.

To date, there are no official dietary recommendations to manage pain, in contrast to dietary recommendations for other medical conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, hyperlipidemia, and renal failure. But, clearly, the American diet is heavy in processed foods, making up about 60% of what we consume, and is lacking in fiber and fresh fruits and vegetables. The AIPM is planning to issue targeted dietary recommendations before or at its next annual meeting in 2017.

If you are a chronic pain sufferer, Sarasota Interventional Radiology (SIR) offers revolutionary, nonpharmacological treatments for pain reduction associated with herniated discs, pinched nerves, axial disc pain, and spinal fractures. Gerald Grubbs, MD, founder and leading interventional radiologist a SIR, can consult with you about appropriate options to reduce your specific type of pain. For more information on our pain management procedures, click here or call 941-378-3231.

SIR’s partner practice, RevitaLife Sarasota, promotes wellness through innovative nutrition therapies. We offer advanced micronutrient testing to detect any deficiencies that may interfere with your ability to achieve optimal health. A simple but comprehensive blood test can determine if you have proper levels of vitamins (e.g., Vitamin D), minerals (e.g., magnesium), antioxidants, amino acids, micronutrients, and metabolites. Dr. Grubbs can then help you develop a plan tailored to address your specific deficiencies. Click here to visit RevitaLife’s website or call 941-377-4555.



With chronic pain affecting an estimated 86 million American adults and opioid prescription drug use on the rise for these sufferers, the U.S. has been described as being in the midst of an opioid epidemic. While use of opioid drugs may be appropriate for some individuals, pain management experts are revisiting their position on prescribing opioid-class pain relievers, which include such drugs as oxycodone (Oxycontin), hydrocodone (Vicodin), hydromorphone (Dilaudid, Exalgo and Palladone), fentanyl, and morphine.

The issue here is that legal prescriptions for these medications have decreased while illegal use of the drugs has increased, and this illegal use has led to rising deaths among Americans. Despite efforts by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) to educate the medical community about the dangers and misuse of opioid medications, the rate of overdose deaths involving opioids has nearly quadrupled since 1999. In actual numbers, more than 165,000 Americans have died from misuse of opioids in the last seven years.

The topic of pain management has gained attention in recent years. Pain management experts are being advised to cut back on prescribing opioids and to prescribe them carefully, while the DEA has mandated significant cuts in the manufacturing of opioid medications. The production cuts will amount to 25 to 34 percent, depending on the specific drug.

Pain medications and reduced activity were the only options for pain relief for many years. As patients look for nonpharmacological options to manage their pain, Sarasota Interventional Radiology offers modern, revolutionary ways to treat certain types of pain without resorting to potentially harmful and dangerous medications. We treat pain associated with herniated discs, pinched nerves, axial disc pain, and spinal fractures. Our procedures include epidural steroid injection, facet block, intravenous ketamine, IPL laser therapy, plasma disc decompression, radiofrequency nerve destruction, injections and cooled radiofrequency, sacroplasty, selective nerve root block, Stellate ganglion block, trigger point injection, vertebroplasty, and kyphoplasty.

At Sarasota Interventional Radiology, our goal is to improve quality of life without dependence on dangerous drugs. To learn more about our pain management procedures, click here or contact us at 941-378-3231.




Each year from October through May, flu viruses are more prevalent throughout the U.S., and Americans face being affected by this serious disease. Influenza may lead to hospitalization or even death, with over 80% of deaths occurring in the over 65 population.

To protect yourself and your loved ones from getting the flu and spreading it to others, it’s time to get that annual flu shot. During this flu season, the Center for Disease Control recommends the injectable vaccine rather than the nasal spray variety.

The flu vaccine, recommended for everyone age 6 months and older, takes about two weeks to become fully effective. It increases the antibodies that protect against the viruses that are contained within the vaccine. In this 2016-2017 flu season, the traditional “trivalent” vaccine protects against the more dominant and severe A strains—A H1N1, A H3N2—as well as one B virus that is less common and less severe. Several other vaccines that contain a fourth strain are available for certain individuals, and your physician or pharmacist can answer questions about which vaccine is right for you.

What about side effects? The flu vaccine does not cause the flu, but there may be some mild side effects, such as soreness, headache, and fever. Any severe reactions, such as difficulty breathing, hives, or facial swelling should get immediate medical attention. For further information or questions, contact your healthcare professional.