Does your back hurt?
Would you like to eat your way to less back pain?
By: Dr. Keith Kantor
It is almost inevitable for those who sit at a desk all day that they will have chronic back pain. Back pain is caused by muscular imbalances in the neck, shoulders, hips, hamstrings and back. When muscles become weak and tight one can have severe chronic pain in their back and other areas of the body. Sometimes moving the wrong way or improper exercising can bring on this pain. It can also creep up on us slowly over a long period of time.
Some simple physical solutions to the back pain brought on by sitting at a desk as your occupation include:
- Stand often, every hour you should get up and walk around for a couple of minutes, this allows the hips to stretch out and it improves circulation to all of your muscles surrounding the spine and joints.
- Consider investing in a treadmill desk or standing workstation. Our bodies were not meant to sit all day but most occupations require some screen time sitting being a computer. A treadmill desk or standing workstation will also decrease tightness in the hips and shoulders, while improving postural imbalances in the core back, shoulders, and neck.
- Use a stability ball as an office chair, this forces more core engagement and bouncing lightly on a stability ball will improve lymphatic drainage, which is a natural way to detoxify the body while improving the immune system at the same time.
- Consider hiring a fitness professional or physical therapist that specializes in developing core strength, recognizing muscle imbalances and increasing flexibility. Pilates, yoga and corrective functional training are all excellent options to consider.
Nutrition and its influence on back pain.
Nutrition has a major influence over how our body feels daily, including the health of your back. Dr. Sinett, author of 3 Weeks to a Better Back notes that the science connecting diet and back pain applies to all levels of discomfort, concluding that eating a large amount of inflammatory food will often cause back pain. Inflammatory foods can cause muscles to contract without relaxing. If that persists over a long period of time, it can cause back spasms and irritation. Major dietary causes of back pain, he says, include excessive caffeine, alcohol, and sugar–all things that increase cortisol levels. Possible foods that can cause low-grade inflammation also include dairy, gluten, corn, soy, and even peanuts, these are among the common food intolerances. The quality of food is just as important as the food itself, choosing certified all natural will ensure that your food is free of harmful preservatives, additives, dyes, steroids, antibiotics, etc., which all cause cortisol release and inflammation. When there is excess cortisol in the body, connective tissue can get inflamed, causing chronic pain.
Many patients report that when they remove the inflammatory foods listed above from their diet, their body is able to loosen up more easily, hold chiropractic adjustments for longer periods of time and of course their pain level is lower then it was before.
The most economical and simple way to see if your diet is contributing to your pain is to start an elimination diet. Cut out all inflammatory foods including:
- Trans fat in the form of hydrogenated oils
- Gluten including enriched bleached flours found in bread, cereals, pastries, etc.
- Added sugars
- Additives, preservatives, dyes, steroids and antibiotics
Eliminate all of these foods for 2 weeks and slowly reintroduce each food one at a time, so if you experience pain you will know the food trigger.
Avoid sitting for long periods of time, exercise regularly, and consume a balanced diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods like cold water fish, nuts, seeds, coconut oil, avocados, dark and vibrantly colored fruits and vegetables and of course high quality certified all natural protein in the form of poultry, seafood, beef or pork.