Maintaining a healthy weight is one way to avoid back pain. Another way to prevent an aching back is to watch what we eat, not just how much we eat.
Balance Television guests Dr. Stephen Reed and Penny Kendall-Reed, co-authors of The Complete Doctor's Healthy Back Bible, say our food choices can prevent or ease lower back pain.
When it comes to prevention, weight is certainly one of the most important factors, Kendall-Reed said. Excess weight puts a lot of strain on the lower back.
"So we want to use foods that promote an ideal body weight," she said. "That's the lean protein sources, staying away from the white, refined foods or sugary foods, and incorporating those foods that are very nutritious, high in vitamin and mineral content, the fruits, the vegetables, the salads, etc."
Once you are suffering from acute back pain, Reed says he believes there are some nutritional steps that can be taken to make things better.
"Increasing lean protein intake will not only help with the weight control but will also help with rebuilding, especially if these people are involved in a rehabilitation program to improve muscle strength," he said.
Foods to watch out for
These foods can actually increase some of the chemicals responsible for inflammation, and Reed says getting these out of the diet can help 30-40 per cent of patients substantially decrease their levels of inflammation and pain.
Foods that can help ease nerve pain
The dark green leafy vegetables contain a high vitamin B content and a lot of the nerve problems show a deficiency in B vitamins, Kendall-Reed said. B vitamins are required to transfer a proper message along the nerve segment. Therefore, these foods can help ease nerve pain. They also help increase the production of serotonin - our "happy" hormone - so that in itself can ease the ill side effects of the back pain.
Pineapple is a fantastic food because it contains natural enzymes that help break down the fibrin capsule that forms around an acute injury area. By breaking down that barrier, it allows nutrient into the area. Papayas and kiwi are also fantastic, Kendall-Reed said.
Carrots are high in vitamins E and C. These antioxidants help protect healthy tissue around the area of inflammation.
Ginger is a natural anti-inflammatory that decreases inflammation in four different ways. You can slice it into hot water with lemon and make tea. Or you can make a glaze and put it over salmon which is a great source of protein that also decreases inflammation.