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The Frightening Foods You Choose May Be Causing Back Pain

Authored by Dr. Colin Haines, MD. October 30, 2019

With Halloween being the start of the holiday season, we know healthy eating habits tend to take a hit with all of the candy, snacking during football games, and the copious amount of food during larger family meals. While your waistline might grow an inch or two, your neck and/or back pain could take a big hit from what you choose to eat.

Does Nutrition Affect Neck and Back Pain?

Absolutely! It simply makes sense that what we eat affects how we feel. Research is showing more and more that a processed, high-inflammatory diet makes people lethargic, promotes diabetes and heart problems, and also affects how they feel.

The more inflamed your diet, the harder it is for you to get rid of that nagging back pain! One of the major causes of pain is inflammation. If you herniate a disc in your back, not only does the injury itself causes pain, but the body responds by causing further inflammation. It’s the body’s response to an injury, the inflammation itself, which dramatically worsens the pain. So if you’re adding more inflammation to the body with the foods you eat, it’s harder to recover from your injury.

How Can We Decrease Inflammation in Our Body?

These are the types of foods and drinks we should stay away from:

  • Refined carbohydrates, such as white bread, pasta, pastries, and chips. Supplementing whole wheat bread and pasta is an easy alternative.
  • Fried foods like French fries and chicken wings.
  • Soda.
  • Don’t eat too much red meat
  • Sweets! High sugar foods like candy, ice cream, donuts, and cookies.

Whereas, these are the foods we should be eating:

  • Healthy oils, especially olive oil
  • Green leafy vegetables, including spinach and kale
  • Fish
  • Fruits. Blueberries and strawberries are especially low in inflammation

What Other Factors Can Help Decrease Inflammation?

In addition to diet, a healthy lifestyle can help to decrease your body’s inflammation and eliminate that pesky back pain. A full night’s sleep and working out also help to rid your body of inflammation. While these tips don’t always completely restore your spine, they can help you get back to the life you love!

Dr. Colin Haines is a board certified spine surgeon and the Director of Research at Virginia Spine Institute. Dr. Haines performed the world’s first combined endoscopic and robot-guided spine surgery. His patient success has earned him a national feature on The Today Show and WebMD, and Top Doctor recognition in consecutive years. Learn more about Dr. Haines.

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About The Author

Dr. Colin Haines, MD

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