tiramisu – the key to pain management?

In his latest column, Andrea Lucchetti, owner of Wymondham Chiropractic Clinic, talks mindfulness, tiramisu, and coping with chronic pain. 

Every Italian family believes they have the best tiramisu recipe on the planet! But nobody really knows for sure who invented it, or which region of Italy it derives from. Tiramisu means ‘lift me up’ or could be translated as ‘makes me happy when I eat it’. My family recipe comes from Naples and includes a double layer of Savoiardi biscuits lightly soaked in coffee and Tia Maria, with a layer of blended whisked egg whites, mascarpone, and egg yolk. The secret is to make it a day in advance so that it can set perfectly and then sprinkle with chocolate dust before serving.

Can eating tiramisu make your back pain better? You might think this a strange question, but your state of mind has been shown to significantly help both reduce and manage chronic pain. Mindfulness is one such concept. My work colleague Samuel Clarke, a qualified chiropractor who is currently undertaking a specialist Masters degree with Cardiff Medical School in pain management has some really interesting information on current best practices. He shares:

“When we are working with people who have long term back pain and other conditions that result in chronic pain, we notice that the way a person thinks about the problem has a dramatic influence on their quality of life, while they are getting better, and that can ultimately dictate their ability to recover. Often when a person gets bogged down and feels consistently negative about their recovery, they end up focussing on everything their problems are stopping them from doing. It can be little things such as picking objects off the floor, or simply carrying shopping bags, but when you’ve been struggling with pain for a while, these small things can seem like monumental challenges. 

“We aim to help our patients make these thoughts and feelings fleeting events rather than permanent fixtures. By teaching a person how to direct their focus onto the things they can do, rather than the things they can’t do, we can see profound changes in their mental wellbeing, and that reduces the chances that secondary problems such as depression and the fear of movement that develops as a result of their pains.

“When a person is able to focus more on feeding themselves good quality food that reduces their levels of inflammation, the focus is taken away from pain and instead directed towards acts of self-care and positive habits that enhance both recovery and mental wellbeing. When a person is able to give a few minutes a day to some pain-free exercises, shown to them by us, it’s a positive step in the direction towards recovery and minimising the fear of pain.

“Another healthy aspect of the positive mindset we promote is by spending time with our loved ones and friends. By actively spending time with people who make us feel good, we produce higher levels of feel-good hormones like serotonin, that have a dramatically positive effect on our psychology and can even effect our pain levels in a positive way.”

So, there you go – make yourself a tiramisu and get those you love around to enjoy it with you!. 

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