Why are we talking about food on a chiropractor website? Not only because what you eat matters to your overall health but because it also matters a great deal when it comes specifically to pain management. Your diet can affect your back. The food you eat can cause back pain. There are certain foods that cause inflammation, which is a huge factor in chiropractic care and something that adjustments seek to lessen because inflammation often causes joint pain. There are also foods that fight inflammation.
“You are what you eat” – it’s a cliche because it’s true. What you put into your body matters a great deal. An unbalanced diet that mostly consists of foods high in fat and sugar and processed foods increases the risk of obesity, which puts an incredible strain on the spine and abdominal muscles. This diet can affect your back and other elements of your health. On the contrary, eating a diet of healthy foods can fight inflammation and reduce pain.
Eating a balanced diet is no easy task, especially in today’s busy world where fast food is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to eat on the go. But that fast food is often so processed that most nutritional value has been removed and all that’s left is nothing but junk. One estimate from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System states that 75% of Americans aren’t getting the recommended intake of fruits and vegetables. If you are feeling like you aren’t eating a balanced diet, you’re not alone.
How a Healthy Diet Affects Your Back
Foods that fight inflammation will have a positive effect on how your back, neck, and shoulders feel. Subluxations (misalignment of the vertebrae) often cause inflammation, pain and swelling around the joint, loss of range of motion, and limited mobility. The muscles of the lower back and abdomen are meant to work together to keep your spine aligned and healthy. When they are strained by extra weight and/or are inflamed, aches and pains develop. This can last for a long time and get worse if not properly addressed.
At Greenville Spine, we work to reduce those subluxations through regular adjustments but patients can also work to reduce the pain they cause through their diets.
Eating unprocessed foods with no added sugar is believed to help reduce inflammation. There are also “anti-inflammation” diets to follow if you want to dive more deeply into this kind of healthy, balanced eating. But the basic rule is to stay away from processed foods and instead eat more of these:
- Fruits like strawberries, oranges, blueberries, and cherries
- Kale, collards, spinach and other green, leafy vegetables
- Whole grains like bran, oats, quinoa, barley
- Olive oil
- Nuts such as walnuts and almonds
- Fish like mackerel, tuna, sardines, and salmon
- Flaxseeds, pumpkin and sesame seeds
Foods That Cause Inflammation
Saving your back doesn’t come from a pharmacy but rather from your fridge. Harming your back comes from a kitchen also – usually a fast food one – and the snack and freezer aisles at the grocery store.
Foods that cause inflammation, increase your risk of obesity, and strain your strain and joints are things like:
- Potatoes – french fries, chips, any kind of baked or fried potatoes
- Soda, fruit drinks, sports drinks
- Sugar-sweetened fruit juices
- Processed meats like bacon, salami, ham, and sausage
- Red meat like pork, lamb, or beef
- White bread, white rice, white pasta
- Fast food
It’s not necessarily bad to eat these once in a while but they are a main part of your diet, they could very well be causing inflammation in pain in your back.
The chiropractic practice is generally one that looks at the whole person and comes to conclusions about how best to treat an individual based on their entire lifestyle and personal challenges. At Greenville Spine, we look at each of our patients individually, what they like to do, how they exercise and enjoy leisure, what their work backgrounds are like, what their normal diet consists of, and what their particular challenges and obstacles are.
Through evaluating patients individually and as a whole person, we are able to manage their treatment to accomplish their goals as individuals. All of our treatments are holistic: we don’t use any drugs and if we do recommend supplements, they are natural.
The same holistic concept can be applied to diets as well. A well-rounded diet that focuses more on foods that reduce inflammation can positively affect all aspects of a patient: their sleep, their pain, their alertness, their endurance. Everything in the body works best when obstacles – like subluxations – are removed and the body can effectively work as it’s supposed to.
Changing any kind of bad habit can be very difficult but in the end, if you’re able to run around with your kids or grandkids, get back to your job, sleep better at night, and wean off expensive medications through utilizing both a healthy eating plan and regular chiropractic care, that is life-changing.
Living a Pain-Free Life
If you need help getting started on living a pain-free life and learning more about how your diet affects back pain, we are more than happy to help! The benefits of working with us at Greenville Spine are extensive due to the holistic and individualized treatment options. If you’ve been experiencing pain and don’t know where to turn, give us a call at Greenville Spine. We would be more than happy to sit down with you and discuss treatment options. Give us a call at (864) 631-1420 and let’s get you started on accomplishing all your health goals.