Dietary Sabotage: Foods to Steer Clear of for Back Pain Relief

Dietary Sabotage: Foods to Steer Clear of for Back Pain Relief


Back pain is a growing issue. But, expensive treatments don’t often provide relief. Diet is one way to reduce back pain. Certain foods cause inflammation, allergies, and circulation issues.

We will provide 10 food groups to avoid when dealing with chronic back pain. Pictures and descriptions will explain why:


Carbs are a primary cause of back pain. Some carbs can cause inflammation, making back pain worse. It’s best to avoid certain types of carbs to get relief. Here are common sources of carbs to avoid for back ache relief:

Refined carbohydrates

Refined carbohydrates are ultra-processed foods. They lack beneficial nutrients and fiber. Examples include white wheat flour, pasta, breakfast cereals, pastries, and processed foods. These foods have a high glycemic index, which can cause spikes in blood sugar after ingestion. This triggers an excessive release of insulin and disrupts the balance between neurotransmitters, leading to more back pain.

White rice, white bread, biscuits, cakes, cookies, candies, and “low fat” items are other sources of refined carbohydrates. They are often packed with refined carbs and added sugars. Be careful of the ingredients list on pre-packaged food – it may hide carb-dense items.

Simple sugars

Simple sugars are like carbs. They quickly breakdown in the gut and release energy and blood sugar levels increase. They are found in fruits, veggies, milk, honey, syrup, and molasses. People may sabotage their weight loss progress if they eat too much simple sugar. The AHA suggests no more than 6 teaspoons (25 grams) for women and 9 teaspoons (38 grams) for men. Too much sugar can lead to more fat and higher risk of heart disease and diabetes. It can also make back pain worse.

Active people should eat snacks with carbs and protein like peanut butter and whole grain toast. This will help with back pain and good health.


Fats are important for energy, insulation, and hormones. But too much fat can cause back pain. Let’s look at the types of fat to avoid if you want to ease your pain:

Trans fats

Trans fats, otherwise known as trans fatty acids, are most likely the least healthy type of fat. To make these fats more solid, hydrogen is added to liquid vegetable oils in an industrial process. This makes them suitable for baking, frying, or spreading on food. Eating too much trans fat can raise “badLDL cholesterol levels and lower “goodHDL cholesterol. This raises the risk of heart disease and stroke.

Trans fats are found in many foods – such as fried foods like French fries, doughnuts and pies; margarines; packaged snacks like cookies and crackers; chips and microwave popcorn; frozen pizza; and other processed foods containing partially hydrogenated vegetable oils. When it comes to back pain relief, it’s essential to avoid consuming too much trans fat. This could worsen back pain due to the inflammation caused by trans fat intake.

Saturated fats

Saturated fats are fatty acids that are solid at room temp. They come from animal sources like butter, lard, ghee and beef, pork, and chicken. These fats are hard for the body to break down and can raise cholesterol levels, increasing risk of heart disease.

To reduce saturated fats in your diet, focus on lean proteins like fish, beans, nuts, and low-fat dairy. Use skim or low-fat milk instead of whole. Choose lean cuts of beef or pork, limit processed meats, and opt for skinless white meat poultry instead. Avoid frying in palm or coconut oil. Also, watch for added sugars. They add calories and saturated fat to desserts. Avoiding these foods helps maintain a healthy weight and ensures a balanced diet with plenty of vitamins and minerals.


Salt is a substance you can have too much of. It’s often concealed in processed and packaged meals. Too much salt intake boosts fluid holding, resulting in inflammation and making back pain worse.

It may be hard to identify the amount of salt in foods. But knowing which ones may contain hidden salt, helps you restrict your intake.

Processed foods

Processed foods can be a major source of salt. Such as frozen pizzas, microwave meals, canned vegetables and breakfast cereals. Plus, soups, crackers and snack foods. All of these items often contain high levels of sodium preservatives. Even if they don’t taste particularly salty.

It’s important to read the nutrition facts labels on all processed food items. To avoid dietary sabotage from excess sodium.

Canned foods

Canned foods have high salt levels which make your body retain water and cause inflammation. This can put pressure on your lower back joints. Low-salt options are available, but cooking from scratch is still the best way to stay healthy and reduce back pain. When buying pre-made meals, read the nutrition labels to check salt and other nutrients like vitamin C, fiber, and magnesium. If salt is one of the first ingredients, avoid it for relief from back pain.

Soy sauce and other condiments can cause too much sodium in your diet. Canned soups and veggies are usually high in sodium. Some brands are higher than others – be careful when making your choices to not worsen your health.


Alcohol and back pain – they may be connected! Dehydration, caused by drinking alcohol, can mean stiffness in your muscles and joints. This stops you from walking properly and having good posture. What’s more, beer and other alcoholic beverages can increase inflammation in your back and spine. This can worsen back pain.

Let’s take a closer look at how alcohol is linked to back pain relief:


Beer is a fermented alcohol with 4–7% alcohol, made from malted grain, water, and hops. It comes in different types like lager and ale. A 12 oz bottle contains 209 calories.

Consuming beer can cause back pain because it has yeast-fermented carbohydrates that trigger inflammation. It increases the risk of breast cancer in women. Also, it reduces serotonin levels.

Beer has a high alcohol concentration compared to wine or cider. It impacts mental health as it is an intoxicant and a depressant. It can slow down vital functions and make you feel lazy, thus worsening back issues.

Reducing or avoiding beer is one way to reduce your symptoms. You should also:

  • Exercise regularly
  • Maintain proper posture

to stay healthy.

Hard liquor

Consume alcohol in moderation; hard liquors like whiskey, brandy, rum, scotch, gin and tequila should be avoided. Excessive consumption of these beverages can cause inflammation or aggravate existing inflammation of the spine and other musculoskeletal structures.

It also makes it hard for the brain to sense and interpret signals from the spine and muscles, which can result in further damage and discomfort.

Caffeinated beverages

Many folks reach for coffee, espresso, or tea to keep up with their busy lifestyles and perk up when feeling drained. But caffeine is an irritant to backache. It can stop the body from balancing the muscles and ligaments in the back, causing inflammation and pain. An occasional cup of java may not be a problem, yet too much caffeine can lead to muscle tension, headaches, and irritability – not a good combo for back health.

To help avoid these issues, it’s important to be aware of how much caffeine you’re consuming each day. Try to have no more than two 8 oz. cups daily. Food items that may contain suspicious amounts of caffeine include: energy drinks with added caffeine, energy bars, dark chocolate bars (70 percent cocoa or more contains small amounts), instant coffee mixes & lattes, cold brew coffees (store bought brews can have double-digits mgrs per serving size).

Caffeine sensitivity differs from person to person depending on overall health, genetics, and lifestyle habits. So pay attention to your body’s signs and symptoms if consuming high levels of caffeinated foods/beverages. If your back pain gets worse after consuming caffeinated drinks or other food products, decrease your consumption or replace with decaffeinated alternatives gradually till the correct tolerance level is determined for you.


Eating healthy is a must if you want to stay pain-free, especially for those suffering from chronic back pain. Sadly, unhealthy dietary choices can worsen existing back pain. All back issues are special, but steering clear of certain foods is key.

Processed and packaged snacks have additives like artificial sweeteners, preservatives, and trans fats, which can harm your body. Avoid unhealthy fats like saturated or hydrogenated oils too, as they give you empty calories without any vitamins or minerals. High sugar food can cause fatigue and inflammation and caffeine can increase stress.

So, limit processed/packaged snacks and high sugar food as much as you can. Include lots of fresh vegetables – get a variety of colors daily. Also, get healthy proteins like fish and eggs; whole grains; nuts; seeds; legumes; unsaturated fats like olive oil; and lots of water throughout the day. Eating a more balanced diet could help reduce chronic lower back pain symptoms and improve overall health!

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What foods should I avoid if I have back pain?

Avoid processed foods, fried foods, sugary treats, and foods high in saturated and trans fats. These foods can contribute to inflammation and worsen back pain symptoms.

2. Can certain beverages worsen my back pain?

Yes, beverages high in caffeine and alcohol can dehydrate the body and contribute to inflammation, leading to increased back pain. Additionally, sugary drinks can spike blood sugar levels and cause inflammation.

3. Should I avoid dairy products if I have back pain?

In some cases, dairy products can contribute to inflammation and worsen back pain. However, low-fat dairy products such as yogurt and milk can be beneficial for maintaining bone health and reducing the risk of osteoporosis, which can cause back pain.

4. Is it okay to eat spicy foods if I have back pain?

Spicy foods have not been found to directly worsen back pain, but they can contribute to inflammation in some people. If you notice that spicy foods make your back pain worse, it’s best to avoid them.

5. Should I avoid all grains if I have back pain?

No, whole grains such as brown rice, quinoa, and whole wheat bread can be beneficial for reducing inflammation and supporting overall health. However, refined grains such as white bread and pasta can contribute to inflammation and worsen back pain symptoms.

6. Are there any specific foods that can help with back pain relief?

Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon and walnuts, have anti-inflammatory properties and can help reduce back pain. Additionally, incorporating plenty of fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins into your diet can support overall health and potentially reduce back pain symptoms.

the back recovery program by alex larsson
Jane Smith is a natural health enthusiast on a mission to uncover effective methods for achieving pain-free living. Through her personal journey with chronic back pain, she has become well-versed in holistic approaches such as yoga, Pilates, and essential oils.

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