Most people experience back pain at some point in their life. And, although you may not be surprised to hear that back pain can be the result of things such as overexertion, sitting for long periods of time, injury or stress, you may be shocked to learn that diet can be a major contributing factor in the back pain equation.
It’s impossible to pinpoint what diet-caused back pain feels like. It can be anything from a chronic aching neck to severe lower back pain to muscle spasms up and down the spine. Whatever form it takes, back pain can be debilitating and will impact every aspect of your life.
Eating large amounts of inflammatory foods can result in muscles contracting without relaxing, which may lead to spasms and irritation. Eating foods that increase cortisol levels in the body (foods containing excessive sugar, caffeine and alcohol) will cause connective tissues to become inflamed, which often leads to pain. Eating habits can also have a detrimental impact on pain levels. Restrictive diets over long periods of time, consuming large portions and skipping meals can cause stress and produce cortisol, thereby increasing your back pain.
Inflammatory foods that can lead to back pain and should, therefore, be avoided include:
- Enriched white flour (bread, pasta, crackers, cookies, etc.)
- Alcoholic beverages
- Caffeinated beverages
- Hydrogenated oils (anything ending in -ose)
- Processed foods (including processed cheese)
- Certain fruits, such as dried fruits, figs, grapes, bananas and cherries
- Artificially flavored/sweetened fruit juices and beverages, including sodas
- Milk-based beverages (chocolate milk and milkshakes)
- Added sugar
Inflammation invariably leads to pain and disease. By eliminating (or at the very minimum, limiting), processed foods from your diet, you’ll go a long way toward reducing inflammation and pain. You’ll also have the added benefit of feeling better with increased energy and stamina.
While it is true that changing dietary and eating habits aren’t the easiest things to accomplish, they are at least something over which you have full control and can do knowing you’ll begin to feel better in just a matter of weeks. And, another added benefit to these dietary changes, you’ll lose weight, which also helps in the battle against pain. (add a link to the article I wrote about losing weight)
Back to the original question … does diet hurt or help back pain? Yes and Yes. Eating the wrong foods will cause back pain. Eating the right foods will be a giant step in the right direction toward eliminating your pain.
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Here at Choice Chiropractic, we believe your body should always be performing at the highest level possible – whether you’re walking your dog, walking up the stairs or playing golf. Chiropractic care offers safe, natural treatment for patients of all ages. At Choice Chiropractic, we provide natural treatment for a range of pain, illnesses and injuries. To make an appointment at Choice Chiropractic, contact us today.