If you suffer from chronic pain, diet alterations may help

While there is no single food that is a miracle cure for chronic pain, a nutritious diet can help alleviate your discomfort in a variety of ways.

From blood circulation to bone density to your immune system, the foods we eat have a huge impact on the way our bodies deal with pain. Although many people may consider their waistlines before they consider their spines, the bones, joints, muscles and discs of the neck and back need nutrition as much as any other part of the body in order to function properly.

Working with your physician to design a nutritious diet

You should always consult your physician before beginning any new diet. While he or she may suggest specific foods for your chronic pain relief diet, the below list gives some general tips on nutrition:

  • Reducing inflammation — Eat foods high in omega-3 fatty acids, like nuts, fish, olive oil and flaxseed. These foods also help keep cartilage and joints well lubricated. Foods with omega-9 fatty acids, like beef and dairy, may increase inflammation.
  • Fighting free radicals — Green tea, red peppers, blueberries and dark, leafy greens are high in antioxidants, which help fight free radicals and speed the healing process after an injury, illness or surgical procedure.
  • Staying hydrated — One of the main reasons the discs of the spine degenerate as we age is dehydration. Gradual loss of water content makes discs dry, thin and prone to herniation.

Your physician can help you design a nutrition plan that includes these food groups as well as the other groups necessary for your body’s overall health.

Combining diet, exercise and other conservative treatments

While nutrition does play an important role in overall spine health, most people will not be able to relieve or even prevent chronic pain with diet alone. Nutrition often acts as a supporting factor to many conservative treatments, allowing the spine to strengthen with the right nutrients and even relieve some pressure on the spine with any subsequent weight loss.

Your physician may suggest that you also try gentle stretching, low-impact exercise, physical therapy and pain medication along with your nutrition plan.

If weeks or months of these conservative methods do not help reduce your symptoms, you may be recommended for spine surgery. Before rushing into any procedure, contact Laser Spine Institute. Our minimally invasive spine surgery offers patients a shorter recovery time^ than traditional open back surgery.

Contact Laser Spine Institute today for a no-cost MRI review* to find out if you are a candidate for our minimally invasive spine surgery.