Dr. Susan Knight-Nanni
What You Eat May Ease Back Pain
The most well-known causes of back pain include injury, poor posture and muscle strain. Diet is rarely considered to be part of the conversation, yet it is a contributory factor to back pain. So is your diet the cause for pain in your back? Let’s learn more about the relationship between the two.
What is the Relationship between Diet and Back Pain?
The relationship between diet and back pain can be looked at in three main ways:
1. Inflammation: Inflammation can cause pain and stiffness in your back muscles. Consequently, several foods can promote inflammation or decrease it. Choosing anti-inflammatory foods is therefore a wise option.
2. Nutrition: Several nutrients are essential for strengthening your muscles and keeping your bones strong; including Vitamin D, Magnesium and Calcium. Incorporating these vitamins into your daily diet is strongly recommended.
3. Hydration: Lack of proper hydration has adverse effects, including muscles spasms and poor digestion (constipation can aggravate back pain). Water also insulates your spinal cord, making it a core part of your back health. Drinking the right amount of water daily based on your health, level of activity and environment is therefore essential.
Best Foods for your Back
When exploring a healthy diet that minimizes the possibility of back pain, consider the following foods which are anti-inflammatory and/or high in essential vitamins:
1. Vegetables: Sweet potatoes, carrots, beetroots, onions, kale, broccoli, spinach.
2. Fatty fish: Tuna, salmon, sardines, trout, mackerel.
3. Herbs & Spices: Cinnamon, ginger, basil, rosemary, turmeric, oregano, curcumin.
4. Seeds & Nuts: Chia, flaxseed, almonds, pecans, Brazil nuts, walnuts.
5. Fruits: Berries, cherries, watermelon, grapes, apples, pomegranate, avocado, bananas, oranges.
6. Proteins: Beans, turkey, chicken, eggs, yogurt, milk, cheese.
7. Drinks: Regular water, coconut water, herb tea, oolong tea, green tea, and red wine.
For all the sweet tooth’s, cocoa-rich dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa) also has amazing anti-inflammatory benefits.
Foods to Avoid
Consequently, there are several inflammatory foods that will worsen your back pain. Such foods include refined carbohydrates (pastries, cookies, white bread, white rice, white pasta, fruit juice, sugar-sweetened beverages e.g. soda), fried foods, processed and red meats (hot dogs, beef, sausages) and hydrogenated oils (margarine and shortening).
Consumption of alcohol and caffeine should also be moderated, as they may inhibit your body’s ability to effectively absorb vital nutrients when taken in excess.
In addition to tailoring your diet to the advice given above, remember to consume regular well-proportioned meals. If you’re not sure whether or not a certain food is contributing to your back pain, eliminate it from your diet for a few weeks and wait and see if you experience any changes. If you would like to find relief from your back pain through tailored and specialized care, book your chiropractic appointment today.