How a healthy diet can promote a healthy spine

Patients diagnosed with a spine condition such as a herniated disc or arthritis as the source of neck or back pain are often recommended by their doctor to make certain lifestyle changes. One of the most common recommendations is to eat a healthier and more balanced diet. There are multiple reasons for this. First, a more nutrient-rich diet with the right foods can potentially help with spine conditions by reducing inflammation and delivering nutrients that can aid with healing and regeneration in the spine. A healthy low-calorie diet is also critical to a weight management plan, which is necessary if obesity is believed to be a contributor to chronic pain.

As you work with your doctor to develop a diet plan that is right for you, being educated about nutritional guidelines can help you be more involved with this process. Take some time to review the following nutritional information to help you make the best lifestyle choices for the health of your spine.

Guidelines for a balanced diet

For nutritional counseling and weight-loss plans, doctors typically recommend a combination of exercise and a diet consisting of nutrient-rich whole foods. This combination should promote a proper balance between caloric intake and energy output. This balance differs from person to person and you should consult with your doctor or a licensed nutritionist to find out the right caloric intake for you.

Doctors also strongly encourage a diet with balanced selections from the various food groups. This includes:

  • Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fat-free or low-fat milk or milk products
  • Sources of protein such as lean meat, poultry, fish, beans, eggs and nuts
  • Decreasing saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, sodium and added sugars

Not only can a balanced diet help you feel more energetic, but proper nutrition can also help you maintain a healthy weight and possibly avoid a host of degenerative spinal conditions, such as bulging discs, sciatica and osteoarthritis.

Making diet a part of your treatment plan

A healthy diet is usually just one part of an effective treatment plan for symptoms related to a degenerative spine condition. While losing weight and getting regular exercise can help take pressure off the spine while strengthening supporting muscles, many patients will also still require relief in the form of medication, physical therapy, therapeutic massage and hot/cold compression therapy. A large number of patients are able to find lasting relief with the right combination of conservative treatments and lifestyle changes, but they don’t work for everyone.

If your doctor is asking you to consider surgery as a treatment option after exhausting conservative methods like diet, exercise and medication, contact Laser Spine Institute. We are the leaders in minimally invasive spine surgery and have helped more than 75,000 patients find relief since 2005.

To find out if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures, our dedicated team can help you receive a no-cost review of your CT scan or MRI.*