Back pain is a big problem and a complicated problem.  Like most things there is not a simple solution to this problem that costs consumers 30 billion dollars in 2007.  For most people curing their back pain involves a number of modalities and lifestyle modifications, one change that is not commonly discussed in the treatment of back pain is the the relationship that food has with this pain.

How can food help low back pain?

The pain that you experience when you have back pain is due to inflammation.  This inflammation can be caused by repetitive stress to the muscles and joints or could be due to a single event.  Inflammation plays an important role in the healing process, but it often continues beyond its helpfulness. Food can aide in decreasing this unhealthy inflammatory response by removing the elements that create the inflammation.  Just as there are food that can aide in fighting inflammation there are also foods that can increase inflammation see the list below for food to eat and foods to stay away from.

Below is a list of foods you should eat more of to prevent and help treat back pain:

  • Cherries. One study showed that drinking 12 ounces of tart cherry juice twice a day for eight days reduced muscle pain and strain. Fresh or canned tart cherries are also helpful.
  • Olive oil
  • Canned salmon, sardines packed in water or olive oil, mackerel, albacore tuna, flaxseed, and walnuts—all good sources of omega-3 fatty acids
  • Vegetable protein (such as soy)
  • Vegetables and fruits of every hue (canned or frozen are fine, as long as they’re not packed in heavy syrup or loaded with salt)
  • Nuts of all kinds
  • Green tea
  • Ginger. Try steeping a bit of grated root in boiling water for tea.

Here is a list of foods to stay away from:

  • Certain vegetable oils such as corn, safflower, sunflower, cottonseed, or “mixed” vegetable oils
  • Margarine and vegetable shortening
  • Processed foods
  • Products containing high-fructose corn syrup
  • Foods high in saturated fat, including meat, tropical oils, and full-fat dairy products
  • Foods made with trans fats