There are a lot of factors that can contribute to your back pain, but did you know that what you eat could be one of them? Researchers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham recently found that eating poorly can increase your hyper sensitivity and either cause or prolong your chronic pain. There are also certain types of food that can trigger back pain.
According to Dr. Todd Sinett, a chiropractor and author of the book "3 Weeks to a Better Back," diet is one of the main lifestyle factors that cause back problems. According to Sinett, certain foods increase your cortisol levels and cause your connective tissues to become inflamed, leading to all levels of pain and discomfort.
These foods, he explained, include excessive alcohol, caffeine and sugar. As much as back pain can be caused by what you eat, it can also be caused by what you don't eat. Sinett said bad eating habits like skipping meals or eating a restrictive diet can also produce more cortisol in your body. Other bad habits include consuming large portions or too much of one thing, like salads.
"[It] causes your digestive tract to go into overdrive very quickly," Sinett told Elle magazine. He added that having that reaction in your digestive tract also triggers your muscular system.
So what is the best diet for your back? Sinett said variation is key. It's easy to fall into certain eating routines, especially for meals like breakfast, but that can cause complications. He also recommended eliminating inflammatory substances like enriched white flour, often found in bread and pasta, as well as alcohol, caffeine and hydrogenated oils.
Instead, be sure to eat plenty of vegetables, such as carrots, beets and sweet potatoes. These foods can reduce inflammation in the cartilage in your spinal column, so you experience less stiffness and pain. According to Dr. John Spallino of the Laser Spine Institute, the greener the vegetable, the better it is for your back. So veggies like kale, spinach and broccoli are great for improving back pain.
Other foods Spallino recommended in an interview with Everyday Health include fish rich in omega-3s, like salmon and tuna, and brightly colored fruits, like cherries, pomegranate and watermelon. Overall, both Spallino and Sinett recommend eating mindfully and listening to your body when it reacts to your dietary habits.
If you're experiencing chronic back pain, you should schedule an appointment with a professional chiropractor today.