11 Mar Obesity and chronic pain treatment with diet
There is still a common attitude in the society that doctor’s advice is needed only when the body is hit by serious health problems such as diabetes, allergic reactions, and so on. However, not enough attention is paid to the fact that nutrition is a complex part of obesity and chronic pain treatment, and usually, people do not think about their diet, even when it comes to chronic pain.
It took years to ask for professional treatment
Patient Daina Kuniauskienė made an appointment with doctor dietician Ph. D. Rūta Petereit after long years of suffering not only from chronic pain but also from obesity. The pain she was suffering has forced her to look for the reasons that led to the difficulty of movement. Over the years, the extra pounds have become a commonness. Unfortunately, over the years weight and chronic pain have become a challenge that overtook even in the simplest everyday tasks. However, since the patient was suffering from back pain for ten years, she didn’t pay attention to the problem with obesity. Therefore, Daina wanted to start with pain treatment rather than losing weight.
First of all, Daina was determined to have a stomach reduction operation. However, there were other serious disorders that prevented from this treatment – mostly wounds on the legs and an extreme overweight. After consulting several specialists, it was decided to look deeper into the causes of the pain and to apply treatments to regulate the diet. The inner maturity of Daina and the understanding that the illness had been so far advanced that there was no way back had a major influence on such a decision. There was no other way just to take matters into one’s own hands and listen to the specialists religiously. It is important to realize that the key to a successful treatment is combined forces of the doctor and the patient, and the inner desire to recover. The patient made the decision to visit Clinic AGATAS due to the fact that all the necessary specialists are here in one place – pain physician, neurosurgeon, dietitian, neurologist, and physiotherapist.
A fully-fledged diet must become a part of the lifestyle
MD Ph.D. Rūta Petereit described the situation of Daina: “Now Daina’s Body Mass Index is very large, defined as obesity. However, obesity and chronic pain treatment should be started with changing a lifestyle, not with surgery. We could think about stomach reduction operation in a half a year, but not yet. Even after such operation, the patient should follow the doctor’s recommendations. A balanced, fully-fledged diet should become part of a lifestyle.”
The doctor dietitian created a diet plan for the patient in which the food ration was been changed. During the first consultation, the doctor and the patient discussed the patient’s eating habits – what food she consumed, when and in what quantities she ate. “At the beginning of losing weight meals must contain enough proteins to prevent the person from feeling hungry. What is more, unsaturated fats should be included in the diet, because they also give a feeling of satiety. Of course, carbohydrates, fiber materials cannot be completely abandoned as well. Often people, who want to lose weight, make a mistake by avoiding bread, wheat and etc.. Without eating such products, the energy level can drop very quickly and significantly, ” – commented MD Ph.D. R. Petereit. It was decided to make a diet plan with the patient so that weight loss would not decrease energy and there would be no extreme changes. Weight should fall consistently, slowly and without significant residual negative effects.
The eating process cannot be disturbed
Another very important step is writing a nutrition diary. It is daily records of what foods and drinks, when and in what quantities are consumed. It helps not only people who are overweight or those who are suffering from chronic back pain, but also everyone who cares about their health. The nutrition diary helps the patient and the doctor to understand the eating habits of the patient and at the same time to identify more clearly the causes of compulsive overeating.
Often eating is found as a way to relieve stress and emotions such as anger, anxiety, loneliness, fear and many others. For this reason, the specialist’s help may be required. The dietitian or nutritionist can supervise the patient and identify the cause of wrong eating habits.
The treatment process must be important for the patient
Clinic AGATAS dietitian says: “The process of the treatment must be important for the patient. Sometimes it is hard to stay focused on the diet plan, but the nutrition diary helps a patient to stay consistent. Professional help is needed to select the best individual diet and to help the patient to understand why one or another product is desired. Unfortunately, it is hard to change habits and sometimes people want to give up ”.
The patient does not live in the city of Kaunas, but it does not affect intensive communication with the dietitian. Daina receives remote support from the doctor. She is writing a nutrition diary that is forwarded to the doctor. In this way, the specialist can better evaluate the patient’s diet and achievements. “It is important for a patient not to lose the feeling of satiety. If a person is hungry, after a few days he or she gets angry and then the risk of losing motivation and compulsive overeating emerges,” – said dietician Ph.D. R. Petereit.
It is also very important for a person to find the pleasures of life without eating unhealthy food. New hobbies may become a great distraction from thoughts about eating and food. It can be various crafts, art therapies, sports, and many other activities. In this way, psychological resistance is also formed. In addition, special relaxation exercises may lead to well-being. For example, a person has to name at least 3 pleasant things every day. These things may seem completely insignificant, such as a cup of delicious tea or coffee. What is more, the eating process cannot be interrupted by other distractions such as TV, telephone or magazines. A well-set table, slow eating makes every bite a pleasant part of the process. However, most of us eat in a hurry without looking at what exactly we put in our mouth. What is worse, in this way we show an example of inappropriate eating to future generations.
Support from relatives is a part of a successful treatment
Support of others also plays a significant part in successful treatment. It helps not to give up and to achieve your goal. Besides, nowadays it is not hard to eat healthy, as there is a variety of recipes for healthy and delicious food. All you have to do is pay attention while buying food or looking for new recipes.
MD Ph.D. Rūta Petereit is delighted with the achievements of her patient Daina: “Two weeks after the beginning of the treatment, the patient was able to squat for the first time in three years, climb up to the second floor, and also move more around doing daily chores. For a lot of people, this may seem to be a worthless achievement, but for a sick person, it is a great challenge that must be sincerely cheered on. After any achievement, a person must reward oneself with a cute little gift or entertainment. Anything that gives pleasure, but not sweets or unhealthy food.
The doctor and the patient did not plan how many kilograms to lose. It was decided to concentrate on health, well-being, ability to move, and the treatment of obesity and chronic pain. They set long-term goals, which are expected to be achieved in a year.
Do not forget physical activity
Moreover, physical activity must also be included in a daily routine. The treatment plan must include the supervision of the physiotherapist and the exercises he/she assigns. A specialist shows individual exercises, determines the most appropriate exercises which would not be too hard, and would not be too easy. Physiotherapist’s care is especially needed at the beginning until the patient learns how to exercise properly, but it is also significant at further stages of the healing process.
Nutrition is only a part of a treatment complex. Indeed, advice from a number of professionals is needed in order to see the great result of obesity and chronic pain treatment. In this way, a more comprehensive treatment can be created.
“A patient can not think that doctor is fully responsible for the result. A patient must take care of health oneself. Of course, it is a difficult process to admit that there is a problem to deal with. A person needs to have a strong purpose and to be persistent in order to become healthy. When a patient is successful, the doctor also gets positive emotions. We are a team, so every achievement, even the smallest one, makes both of us proud,” – says MD Ph. D. R. Petereit.
We are grateful for sharing this story to both the patient Daina Kunauskienė and doctor dietitian Ph. D. Rūta Petereit. If you have any questions regarding nutrition, please contact Clinic AGATAS dietitian Ph. D. Rūta Petereit. The doctor advises on various dietary issues: chronic (spine, joint), gastrointestinal, cardiovascular disease, overweight and obesity, nutritional deficiency, diabetes mellitus, increased cholesterol levels, gout, before and after various operations. Take care of your health!