Foods That Fight Back Pain
As reported by the University of Maryland Medical Center, back pain is the second leading cause for doctor visits, with up to 80% of adults in the United States suffering from this type of pain. Inflammation is a common cause for back pain. While inflammation is a natural response to disease or injury in the body, making small changes to your daily diet can help reduce this inflammatory response.. There are many different types of foods that help fight inflammation and reduce back pain. Dietary changes can be used alone or in conjunction with other treatments as recommended by your physician.
Fatty fish, such as salmon, sardines, and mackerel, contain omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids reduce both inflammation and pain in the body, and can be especially effective for non-surgical back pain according to research at the University of Pittsburgh. However, there is a risk of bleeding with certain forms of omega-3 fatty acids that may be increased if you take blood-thinning medications so check with your doctor.
Red grapes contain a compound called resveratrol. Resveratrol has been shown to help prevent deterioration of tissue and damage to cartilage in the back. Other foods that contain this beneficial compound include blueberries, cranberries, and red wine (but not too much!).
Tart cherries contain antioxidants called anthocyanins, which have been shown to be effective in reducing inflammation, joint pain, and muscle pain.
Berries contain high amounts of antioxidants, helping to reduce inflammation. Certain berries also contain anthocyanins and ellagitannins, which can fight inflammation and pain. Blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, cranberries, acai, and pomegranate all have pain-fighting components.
Pineapple is well-known for helping to relieve pain due to the enzyme, bromelain. Bromelain helps suppress the inflammatory response, can reduce swelling, and ease pain. However, bromelain can increase bleeding, affect ulcers, and interact with medications, including certain antibiotics.
Broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables contain a compound called sulforaphane that can reduce inflammation before it starts and block certain damaging enzymes to help prevent destruction of joint tissue.
Spices and Herbs
How you season your food can help fight pain as well. Use herbs and spices such as ginger, turmeric, boswellia, white willow bark, and devil’s claw. Some herbs may interact with medications, so check with your doctor before you start taking any new supplements.
Foods that Create Inflammation
Just as there are foods that can fight inflammation and pain, there are also foods that can potentially trigger an inflammatory response from the body, increasing inflammation and pain. The Cleveland Clinic recommends avoiding gluten, tobacco, and foods from the nightshade family, including the following:
Because all individuals react differently to different foods, try avoiding these foods for a couple of weeks to see if the pain improves. This can help you to identify your dietary inflammatory triggers.
Health and Wellness Associates