Back pain normally shouldn’t be something to worry about as it has a tendency to self-limit within a week or two. But there are cases when there are underlying medical condition behind it.
When people develop back pain, the usual suspects of the causes are mostly bad posture and poor sitting habit. Other causes can also be underlying medical conditions, trauma on the back, spinal muscle strain/sprain, awkward bending and so on.
What most people don’t think to look into is maybe their eating habit or diet could be behind this back pain?
In fact, experts have suggested that eating large amounts of inflammatory foods like fast food, processed food, high fibre foods, and so on can cause back pain. So yes it is normal to hear people complain that their back hurts after eating a lot.
Can Poor Diet Cause Back Pain
Can poor diet be responsible for back pain? Yes.
Many studies have shown that certain foods with the ability to increase or reduce inflammation are considered as a known cause of back pain.
Michael Perry, the chief medical director and co-founder of Laser Spine Institute said that inflammation if left unchecked will cause a lot of problems in the body, which includes back pain.
In fact, Dr. Todd Sinnet, a chiropractor, certified trainer, and author of ‘3 Weeks to a Better Back’ said eating a large amount of inflammatory food can cause muscle contraction without relaxing.
He added that if this inflammation persists for a while, it can lead to irritation and back spasms. Several experts have also suggested that eating anti-inflammatory foods can help reduce back pain caused by diet.
Some major dietary causes of back pain include cortisol increasing diets like alcohol, sugar, and caffeine.
Eating large food portions, skipping meals, imbalanced diet can also increase cortisol level. Increase in cortisol levels has been shown to inflame the connective tissue, which then causes pain.
So many people complain about having back pain after eating a lot.
Processed food, saturated fats, and fast foods like rice, snacks, sugary drinks, white bread, and fried foods or diets with partially hydrogenated oil in the ingredients like crackers, chips, and pastries are also food that can cause back pain.
Food That Can Relief Back Pain
Let’s forget about back pain for a minute, healthy eating isn’t a choice, it is a must and it can’t be compromised.
Diet is one of the leading causes of so many medical conditions today. This is why the importance of a balanced and healthy diet shouldn’t be underrated. Poor diet can cause back pain and nobody should sleep on that fact.
It is very rare for people with back pain to think that it might be caused by their diet. This is even with the fact that quite a number of people complain about upper or lower back pain after eating or upper back pain while eating.
Several diets have been known to cause inflammation and cortisol increase which in turn can lead to back pain. This pain has been described to range from mild to very severe.
There are several back pain diet and exercise tips that can be employed to relieve the symptoms of back pain but we’ll be sticking to the dietary part of it.
Dana Greene, a nutritionist in Brookline, Massachusetts said vegetables and deeply coloured fruits are a key part of an anti-inflammatory diet.
She added that some great examples of healing foods for back pain are sweet potatoes, spinach, kale, broccoli, grapes, beets, carrots, berries, cherries, watermelon, red wine, and pomegranate.
Herbs and spices, especially ginger, garlic, basil, curcumin, cinnamon, onions, turmeric, and onions are also rich in anti-inflammatory effects and can be seasoned with foods for back pain relief.
So it is advisable to season your food well. Also, true teas and herb teas can help relieve back pain.
Dr. Perry, of the Laser Spine Institute, also echoed Dana Greene’s sentiment that coloured fruits and vegetables along with green tea, and olive oil all have the capability to reduce inflammation in cartilage in the spinal column, which in turn can help check back pain and stiffness.
Some other good food choices to relief back pain include nuts especially pecans, walnuts, almonds, and Brazil nuts; avocados, lean proteins like turkey, chicken, or beans; and cocoa.
The Calcium Effect
Diets with anti-inflammatory effects are not the only way to relieve the symptoms of back pain or prevent them; another important way is by making sure you’re getting enough of the right nutrients, especially Vitamin D and Calcium.
Dr. Perry suggested that the bone mass becomes harder to maintain with age, and this can cause osteoporosis or osteopenia.
He also added that diseases like this can weaken the vertebrae in the spine. Calcium is a major contributor to bone mass and thus is a very important part of our diet.
However, it is also important to know that consuming too much of calcium increases the risk of developing heart problems and atherosclerosis which forms plaque in the arteries and can also cause bone fractures.
As such, it has been suggested by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) that the daily required consumption of calcium is 2,000 milligrams either by food or supplements.
There are some natural foods that are very rich in calcium like cheese, milk, yoghurt, and leafy green vegetables. It is recommended not to supplement more than 500 mg of calcium a day.
The simple truth is that while your diet may not be the reason for your back pain, it is, however; still important that you follow the right eating habits and stick with a balanced diet.
Dietary Tips To Help Relief Back Pain
The following are some of the recommended diet plans to relieve back pain:
- Eat fibre rich foods. This is because they lower your risk of constipation, and constipation can make pain worse.
- Fruit and vegetables have the best fibre pain-relieving properties.
- Eating potassium foods can reduce swelling as well as boost the muscular and nerve functions.
- The greatest sources of minerals are coconut water, bananas, and avocados.
- Omega-3 fatty acids exhibit natural anti-inflammatory properties and can help relieve back pain. Flaxseed and oily fish are known to be high in omega-3.
- And the most important diet plan is to drink plenty of water. Dehydration has also been shown to be a cause of back pain.