If a patient is suffering from back or neck pain, a chiropractor or doctor may recommend dietary changes to help the patient maintain a healthy weight. Dietary changes also might help the patient to learn how to consume the right amount of protein, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that promote a strong body and mind.
Nutrition counseling can be a helpful way for individuals to assess their daily food intake and determine whether changes need to be made – often for the purpose of losing weight while staying healthy. Nutrition counseling usually begins with a careful examination of the individual’s typical caloric intake and an assessment of his or her body mass index and overall health. In addition to helping a person consume a healthier diet, these sessions also can be helpful to individuals who suffer from food allergies or are trying to avoid food-drug interactions. One of the main benefits of nutrition counseling is that it is a one-on-one session that is specifically tailored to the individual’s exact circumstances.
The first step in a nutrition counseling session is to carefully assess the individual’s daily eating habits. Usually, the client will record their eating habits over a 24 hour period (or longer) to give the dietitian a clear pattern on what the client eats, when they have their meals, and how much they eat during each sitting. Next, the dietitian will assess the client’s overall health, weight, and body mass index to help determine specific goals for the counseling. With this information, the specialist works closely with the client to develop a long-term nutrition and exercise plan. Any dieting plan should be considered an investment in the future, so nutrition counseling is usually focused on implementing gradual changes with specific goals in mind. Nutrition counseling also provides much-needed support to the patient as they begin their new diet, which can be especially beneficial in the early days of the new system.
Nutrition and diet counseling are extremely important for overweight individuals because obesity can lead to:
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Difficulty breathing
What’s more, being overweight frequently leads to back and neck pain because the excess body weight puts additional stress on the spine. This can lead to muscle strain and injury in the short-term, and over time, will accelerate normal spinal deterioration, potentially leading to herniated discs, foraminal stenosis, facet disease, and other degenerative spine conditions.