The Connection Between Diet and Back Pain

While most people come to us seeking motion-preserving spine treatment for spinal pain and discomfort, many clients are surprised by 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.

Weight Gain

A diet high in fat and calories almost always leads to weight gain. Extra pounds around the middle are not only bad for heart health and predispose people to diabetes, but also can cause or increase physical tension on the spine. A vertebral column that is 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 or other 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 pre-packaged meals
• Wheat

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 will help relieve pressure from the lower back.

If a person’s diet is rich in foods that may be causing inflammation, many healthy alternatives can help reduce swelling. Consider foods high in magnesium, an essential element that is crucial in allowing the body’s muscles to relax. Foods that are packed with the nutrient include:

• Dark, leafy vegetables
• Salmon
• Bananas
• Nuts and seeds
• Beans

Although not all spine pain can be reversed with healthy eating, it’s never to late too improve your diet and promote optimal back and spine health. If you experience persistent back pain and have exhausted your options for relief, schedule an appointment with Beverly Hills MD, Dr. Hyun Bae, Medical Director at The Spine Institute Center for Spinal Restoration. Dr. Bae can identify the cause of your pain and help you select the treatment option right for you. Call (310) 828-7757 to request an in-person consultation today.