Many people living with back pain are surprised to learn there are some relatively common causes of back pain. Although people of all ages and activity levels experience back discomfort resulting from overuse, degenerative changes, and physical trauma to the spinal column, recent studies have shown that diet may also play a part in causing back pain.
A proper diet with certain vitamins and nutrients that can be obtained through dietary supplements or found naturally in leafy greens, citrus fruits, fish, and some meats can play a pivotal role in reducing or preventing spine pain. Understanding the relationship between diet and spine pain can also make it easier to see the importance of maintaining a proper nutritional balance.
A diet high in fat and calories almost always leads to weight gain. Extra pounds around the middle are bad for heart health and predispose people to diabetes, and they can also cause or increase physical tension on the spine. A vertebral column that’s being pulled out of its normal curvature due to an enlarged belly may become weakened, strained, and prone to injury. If the problem persists and/or worsens, it could eventually necessitate spinal fusion surgery. Los Angeles residents should do their best to take off excess pounds with exercise and proper diet to avoid the need for this procedure or another type of surgical relief.
Foods That Encourage Inflammation
Recent studies have shown many foods common in the population’s diet may cause an inflammatory effect in the intestines, joints, and muscles, resulting in back pain. A blood test can be performed to determine food sensitivities. Some of the most common culprits include:
- Bacon, sausage, and hot dogs
- Vegetable oil
- Eggs and dairy products
- Processed or prepackaged meals
- Preventing Back Pain with Dietary Changes
For most people, incorporating a new habit or getting rid of harmful practices takes approximately one month. People who gradually replace fatty foods with healthier choices are more likely to enjoy long-lasting changes, and progressively losing weight can relieve pressure from the lower back.
If your diet is rich in foods that may be causing inflammation, many healthy alternatives can reduce swelling. Consider foods high in magnesium, an essential element that’s crucial in allowing the body’s muscles to relax. Foods that are packed with the nutrient include.
- Dark leafy vegetables
- Nuts and seeds
- Supporting the Spine’s Structure
The bones, muscles, tendons, joints, and nerves that support the spine need a steady influx of key nutrients to remain strong and healthy. Calcium, in particular, can provide essential nourishment for the spine while preventing conditions like osteoporosis.
Reducing the Risk of Injury
A well-balanced diet can also reduce the risk of injury to the spine from falls. For instance, a vitamin D deficiency can make the spinal cord increasingly prone to injury with age. Additional dietary essentials that may prevent spine pain and discomfort include:
- Vitamin A – Repairs tissues supporting the spine
- Vitamin B12 – Promotes healthy bone marrow within the spine
- Vitamin C – Promotes healing of injured ligaments, tendons, and vertebral discs
- Vitamin K – Allows the spine to properly use calcium
- Iron – Assists with the production of myoglobin, which promotes healthy spine muscles
- Magnesium – Maintains bone density and muscle tone that can prevent back problems
A diet that includes a mix of essential nutrients and vitamins can also promote the body’s natural healing abilities, lessening the severity of pain or reducing the risk of sustaining serious spine injuries. The good news is that it’s never too late to make dietary changes to promote optimal spine health.
For more detailed information about how diet and back pain are connected, your doctor or a Los Angeles spine surgeon can be a fantastic resource. If you’re experiencing severe or prolonged back pain, reach out to the spinal health experts at The Spine Institute. Our experienced physicians are setting the standard for innovative care, including using state-of-the-art technology to diagnose and treat all forms of neck and back pain. Call one of our friendly representatives today at 310-828-7757 to schedule an appointment.