Farewell, Back Pain: Food Choices to Boost Your Recovery

Farewell, Back Pain: Food Choices to Boost Your Recovery


Back pain can be awful. It makes it hard to work or do everyday things. If you suffer from this, don’t worry- there’s help! Stretching and exercise can help, but diet can too. Eating the right food and being mindful of your food choices can make a huge difference to muscle aches and inflammation.

In this guide, we discuss how what you eat affects back pain. We also include tips on how to reduce the pain. With the right diet, you can kiss those agonizing backaches goodbye!

Causes of Back Pain

Eight out of ten Americans suffer from back pain at some time in their lives. What can cause it? Structural problems, like muscle imbalances and herniated discs. But lifestyle factors are also a factor. Poor posture and nutrition can be culprits.

In this article, we’ll explore the causes of back pain and how food can help you heal.

Poor Posture

Poor posture such as slouching and hunching can lead to weakened muscles from lack of use. This can cause back pain due to the strain on your spine and muscle groups. Uneven weight on your spine for long periods can also result in pain.

Be aware of your posture when standing or sitting. Here are some tips to help improve poor posture:

  • Feet flat on the floor when sitting
  • Sit up straight with relaxed shoulders, chin level and not tucked down
  • Use a lumbar support if possible when sitting in a chair
  • Take regular breaks while sitting
  • Monitor at eye level while working on a computer

Reducing stress levels can help improve posture. Stress causes people to adopt bad postural habits like slumping their shoulders and tensing up their muscles. This tension can lead to chronic back pain.

Lack of Exercise

A lack of exercise and physical activity can cause back pain. Weak core muscles, e.g. abdominal muscles, can cause bad posture when standing, sitting or walking. This bad posture increases stress on the vertebrae, which leads to pain.

To fix this, do regular exercise! Strengthen your core muscles and maintain good form when moving. Aim for a healthy lifestyle with a balanced diet, plus 30 minutes of physical activity each day. Aerobic exercises such as brisk walking, running, or swimming, and strength training can help. This builds endurance in your muscles, so they don’t strain over time.


Back pain has many different causes. Stress is one of them. It’s caused by external factors, like work or environment. High cortisol (the ‘stress hormone’) can cause inflammation and tightness in the neck and back muscles. Resulting in pain and discomfort.

Stress relief strategies, like yoga or mindfulness activities, can help. Personal counseling is also important. Eating a healthy diet with anti-inflammatory foods is also key. Fresh fruits and veggies are great. Avoid processed stuff or too much sugar and carbs. And limit red meat and dairy.

Leafy greens, avocado, salmon, walnuts, blueberries or cherries are all anti-inflammatory. Try adding them to your diet:

  • Leafy greens
  • Avocado
  • Salmon
  • Walnuts
  • Blueberries
  • Cherries

Foods to Avoid

Back pain? Eek! It can really put a damper on living life to the fullest. Sadly, there’s no “easy fix” for a healthy back. However, what we eat can make a serious difference. So, let’s find out which foods should be avoided if you’re dealing with back pain:

Processed Foods

Processed foods are bad news. They contain too much fat, sugar, and sodium – all of which can cause inflammation in the body and increase back pain. Plus, they often have preservatives, artificial flavors, or chemicals that interfere with the healing process. Unprocessed foods are much better, as they offer more nutrients – especially important when dealing with back pain or injury.

Stay away from fast food, frozen dinners, chips and pretzels, canned soups, French fries, microwave popcorn, ketchup or sauces with added sugar, frozen pizza, and convenience meals like macaroni and cheese. Eating too much of these processed foods can cause elevated blood sugar levels, which can decrease your immune system performance and slow down your body’s ability to heal.

High-Fat Foods

High-fat foods, like fried and processed meats, can cause pain-causing health problems. They are high in calories, which can lead to extra body weight. Plus, their high saturated fat content might lead to high blood pressure and raised cholesterol levels. These diet issues can cause back pain. They block circulation and reduce oxygen for muscles, and weaken muscle tone over time.

Foods to avoid:

  • Fried meats
  • Processed meats (hot dogs, bacon and salami)
  • Creams and creamy sauces
  • Cheese
  • Butter
  • Spreads with palm oil, coconut oil or other tropical oils

To be healthier, pick low fat cheese and plant based fats, like avocado and nuts. Don’t eat animal sourced fats.

High-Sugar Foods

High-sugar foods can harm your spinal health. They give you no nutrients and cause inflammation. This may lead to pain and further health issues. A high sugar diet can also overload your nervous system, causing stress, fatigue, headaches or migraines. It can also cause hormonal changes that contribute to back pain.

Limit sugary snacks and drinks. Instead, eat fresh fruits and homemade muffins with ground flaxseed or coconut flour. Reduce intake of white processed carbs. Avoid white breads, cereals, potatoes, crackers and pasta. Opt for whole-grain options for meals or snacks for better nutrition for recovery.

Nutrients to Support Back Pain Recovery

Eating the right foods can help recovery from back pain. Increasing certain nutrients can reduce inflammation and help healing. Let’s look at which nutrients are best for back pain relief, and where to find them.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fats are key for back pain relief. They are polyunsaturated, anti-inflammatory and can reduce inflammation caused by chronic conditions like back pain. Omega-3s may even help other kinds of arthritis and nerve damage.

Where to find them?

  • Fatty fish
  • Flaxseeds
  • Walnuts
  • Chia
  • Hemp
  • Canola oil

Not all omega-3s are equal – EPA and DHA are the most helpful for reducing back pain inflammation. So, get your omega-3s for an anti-inflammatory boost and improved recovery from back pain.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble serum that helps with the absorption of calcium and phosphorus. It has been linked to a lower risk of back pain. This vitamin is produced by the body when exposed to direct sunlight. You can get it from dietary sources, such as fish, mushrooms, and beef liver. Plus, it’s found in fortified foods like orange juice, yogurt, and cereals.

A deficiency in this vitamin can increase inflammatory mediators. This can worsen cases of back pain. For those who suffer, it’s important to ensure optimal Vitamin D levels. Do this by regularly exposing yourself to direct sunlight for about 10 minutes without sun protection. Also, consume adequate amounts of fortified foods. Supplement daily with 5 to 10 micrograms of Vitamin D to meet the RDI for adults aged 19-70 years old.


Magnesium is essential for nerves and muscles. It helps absorb calcium and vitamin D into your bones. A deficiency can cause bad coordination, weak muscles, insomnia, low energy, and depression. Not enough of it can make your back muscles tight, leading to pain.

To ease back pain, make sure you get enough magnesium. It reduces inflammation, relaxes tight muscles, and soothes the nervous system.

Foods with magnesium are:

  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Swiss chard
  • Squash
  • Kale
  • Cashews
  • Almonds
  • Sesame seeds
  • Brazil nuts
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Avocados

If you need more, take a supplement.

Foods to Support Back Pain Recovery

Eatin’ certain foods can help with back pain relief. These yummy grub can give natural anti-inflammatory benefits. Plus, they can provide vitamins, minerals and proteins that help your body to heal.

In this article, we’ll show the greatest dietary picks for helping with back pain recovery:

Leafy Greens

Leafy greens are packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Vitamin K helps keep bones strong and reduces inflammation. Cruciferous veggies like kale and broccoli have glucosinolates which protect against cancer. Fiber-rich greens like spinach, arugula, cabbage, bok choy, Brussels sprouts and collard greens keep your digestive system healthy and reduce pressure on your lower spine.

Eat leafy greens multiple times a week for best results. Get creative with salads, grain bowls or smoothies – they taste great and are good for you!


Fish are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids. These are important for healthy cell membranes and reduce inflammation. Salmon is especially rich in omega-3, protein, B12, vitamin D and selenium. These nutrients help keep us in good health and are great for back pain.

Mackerel, anchovies and sardines also help with back pain due to their omega-3 content.

Nuts and Seeds

Nuts and seeds are a great source of healthy fats. This makes them good for reducing inflammation and relieving back pain. Eating 2-3 servings of them each day can also help lower the risk of metabolic syndrome, which is linked to obesity, diabetes, and other chronic issues.

Go for walnuts, almonds, pecans, sunflower seeds, flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds, and chia seeds. These are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids that will help reduce inflammation. Choose organic and non-GMO varieties to get the most health benefits.

Nut and seed dishes can be creative! Make “Nut Milk” smoothies. Sprinkle them in salads instead of croutons. Put them in baked goods or oatmeal dishes. Use them as a topping on breakfast items. Nosh on nut snacks instead of unhealthy chips. Crush up walnuts over steamed broccoli. Or turn your favorite snack into nut butter by blending it with cashews or peanuts. Have some fun and get creative!

Whole Grains

Whole grains are packed with fibre, vitamins, minerals and fatty acids. Studies show that eating more of them can reduce the body’s inflammation, thus improving the management of back pain.

Magnesium and B-complex vitamins are among the nutrients found in grain. Magnesium helps muscles to function properly and may even reduce spasticity. B-complex vitamins are essential for the nervous system.

Oatmeal, barley, brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, farro and spelt are some examples of whole grains. A diet made up of these foods has been linked to a lower risk of chronic low back pain over time.

In order to reduce back pain associated with inflammation, aim for about 3-4 servings of whole grain products a day, adding up to 48g in total.


Eating right can revolutionize your life if you have chronic back pain. We’ve discussed what to eat and what to avoid. A balanced diet of whole grains, proteins, veggies, fruits and healthy fats will support your joints and reduce back pain.

Get help from a nutritionist or doctor to create an individual plan. Many foods cause and reduce inflammation, so understand the effect on you before trying. No single food is always effective – it’s about finding what works. Track what you eat and any effects for managing back pain without drugs or surgery.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can food choices really help with back pain?

A: Yes, certain foods can reduce inflammation, promote healing, and support overall health, all of which can contribute to alleviating back pain.

Q: What foods should I avoid if I have back pain?

A: You should avoid processed foods, sugary drinks, and foods high in saturated fats, as they can exacerbate inflammation and contribute to weight gain, which can put added pressure on the spine.

Q: What are some good anti-inflammatory foods to incorporate in my diet?

A: Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon and chia seeds, as well as colorful fruits and vegetables like blueberries, tomatoes, and spinach, are all great choices to help reduce inflammation and support healing.

Q: Can certain vitamins and minerals help with back pain?

A: Yes, vitamins and minerals like vitamin D, magnesium, and calcium can all support bone health and help reduce back pain. Foods like broccoli, almonds, and fortified cereals are all good sources of these nutrients.

Q: What role does hydration play in back pain?

A: Staying hydrated is important for overall health, but especially for spinal health. Drinking enough water can help promote spinal disc hydration and prevent dehydration-related back pain.

Q: Should I consider a specific diet or weight loss plan to help with my back pain?

A: While there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, maintaining a healthy weight and following a balanced diet can certainly contribute to alleviating back pain. Consult with a healthcare professional to determine the best course of action for your individual needs.

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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