Diet & Pain: Anti-inflammatory Foods To Beat Back Pain

How you eat could help beat chronic back pain. That’s right – before you sit down for your next meal, learn how anti-inflammatory foods can help you feel better and regain mobility.


Back pain is an all-too-familiar problem that affects millions of people worldwide. It can be caused by various factors, including injury, illness, poor posture and inflammation. While many people turn to medication to manage their back pain, an anti-inflammatory diet is becoming an increasingly popular option as a natural way to reduce inflammation and relieve pain. When combined with medically guided therapies, medication, and treatment plans, this form of pain management can be especially effective at controlling stubborn pain.


At our Jacksonville, Florida, pain care center, we understand that a holistic approach to managing pain is always the best way to treat chronic pain. To help our patients, we’ve created a guide to anti-inflammatory foods and their link to pain. Keep reading to learn how the foods you eat can help beat chronic back pain and regain mobility.


What is an anti-inflammatory diet?

An anti-inflammatory diet is a way of eating that emphasizes whole, nutrient-dense foods and avoids processed items, refined sugars, and unhealthy fats. This type of diet is based on the idea that chronic inflammation in the body can lead to many health problems, including pain, and that certain foods can help reduce inflammation. Adhering to an anti-inflammatory diet means eating foods rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other nutrients that help reduce inflammation and promote healing.


Foods to include in an anti-inflammatory diet

Anti-inflammatory foods vary widely, making them easy to incorporate into the cornerstone of your diet – regardless of personal taste and preferences. Foods such as fatty fish like salmon, tuna, and mackerel; fruits and vegetables like blueberries, spinach, and kale; and nuts, seeds, and olive oil are all anti-inflammatory. These foods are high in antioxidants, which can help to reduce inflammation by fighting off free radicals that cause damage to cells and tissues. Studies have shown that eating a diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods can also help reduce the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes.


  • Fruits and Vegetables: These foods are rich in antioxidants and other nutrients that can help reduce inflammation. Some of the best anti-inflammatory fruits and vegetables include leafy greens, berries, cherries, oranges, and tomatoes.
  • Whole Grains: Whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, and whole-wheat bread are high in fiber and other nutrients that can help reduce inflammation.
  • Lean Proteins: Fish, chicken, and lean cuts of beef are all good sources of protein, which can help build and repair tissues. Some fish, like salmon and mackerel, are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which have anti-inflammatory properties. A study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that omega-3 supplementation reduced back pain and improved physical function in older adults.
  • Healthy Fats: Foods like avocado, nuts, and olive oil are high in healthy fats that can help reduce inflammation.


To learn more about the benefits of anti-inflammatory diet, examples of these kinds of foods and how they can help combat pain, click here!


Foods that can exacerbate pain, making it worse

On the other hand, processed foods, refined sugars, and unhealthy fats can trigger inflammation and should be avoided. Processed foods are often high in refined sugars, unhealthy fats, and other additives that can increase inflammation. Sugary drinks, candy, and other sweets can also trigger inflammation in the body. Saturated and trans fats, which are found in foods like fried foods and baked goods, can also increase inflammation.


In addition to processed sugars and fats, inflammatory foods can include processed meats, alcohol, soda and sugary drinks. While these food types can be alluring, it’s best to focus on eating a balanced diet of whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins and healthy fats, especially if under stress from chronic pain.


Can Diet Correct Back Pain?

Inflammation is a natural response of the body to injury or infection and is essential for fighting off foreign invaders and promoting healing. However, chronic inflammation can be harmful and contribute to a range of health issues, including back pain.

Within our bodies, cells communicate with each other by sending chemical messengers called cytokines into the bloodstream. Our unique body chemistries and certain lifestyle choices, like diet, determine the types of cytokines and their prevalence. Certain cytokines promote an inflammatory response, while others turn it off – pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory proteins. Pro-inflammatory cytokines trigger pain and swelling in the muscles and joints.


Because harmful cytokines are exacerbated by unhealthy foods, an anti-inflammatory diet can be an effective way to reduce their activity in the body, inflammation and, as result, pain in some cases. One study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that people who followed an anti-inflammatory diet experienced a significant reduction in back pain compared to those who did not. When combined with other lifestyle changes such as exercise, stress reduction, and good sleep habits, an anti-inflammatory diet can be a powerful tool for managing pain.


If you suffer from back pain, consider adopting an anti-inflammatory diet as part of your treatment plan. Incorporating whole, nutrient-dense foods and reducing processed and sugary foods can help reduce inflammation and improve overall health. It is recommended that you speak to a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian to develop a diet plan tailored to your needs and health status. With the right approach, an anti-inflammatory diet can be an effective and natural way to manage back pain and improve your quality of life.


Your Health Guru for Reducing Pain

At Omega Health & Wellness, we partner with our patients to help them reach their health goals and feel better. Our health and wellness team is currently accepting new patients and is standing by to assist you with medically-proven therapeutic treatment programs to help you reach your wellness goals. Best of all, when walking through our doors, you can expect friendly, knowledgeable and compassionate care, plus dependable access to your doctor. Request an appointment today or call us at 904-724-5767. 


Individuals should speak with their primary care physician before making significant dietary changes.

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