Overcoming Emotional Eating to Ease Chronic Back Discomfort

Overcoming Emotional Eating to Ease Chronic Back Discomfort


It is widely known that what we eat affects our health. However, not everyone knows how our emotions can directly impact our dietary choices. This can consequently worsen chronic back pain. In this article, we will investigate this relationship and discuss ways to control emotional eating in order to relieve chronic back discomfort.

Definition of emotional eating

Emotional eating involves consuming food unconsciously. It results from being emotionally overwhelmed and is used to regulate or balance emotions. High calorie, low nutrition food is often eaten. It’s used to calm down or cope with negative emotions such as stress, fear, sadness, loneliness, boredom, or anger.

Consequences of emotional eating differ between people. Weight gain and an increased risk of health problems like hypertension or diabetes may occur. Additionally, research suggests emotional eaters may suffer chronic back pain due to heavier body weight straining the spine and muscles.

It’s important to recognize emotional eating and its effects. Then, steps can be taken to reduce its incidence and lessen its impact on life.

Relationship between emotional eating and chronic back pain

Emotional eating, or comfort eating, is often used to cope with emotions such as stress, anger, sadness and boredom. This can lead to a cycle of binge eating, which then causes chronic back pain.

It is important to understand how your body reacts to stress. Identify triggers that set off unhealthy coping mechanisms. Then, put in place alternative coping techniques, instead of emotional eating. These can be calming music, meditative exercises, etc. This will not only help you control your urges but also aid physical healing from back pain.

Causes of Emotional Eating

Emotional eating is an issue numerous people experience. It’s when you eat to soothe or take your mind off of things when feeling anxious or troubled. If you’re having difficulty with emotional eating, it’s essential to comprehend the root of it.

Let’s take a closer look and examine what can cause emotional eating and its associated results:


Stress can cause emotional eating. Different people cope with it differently; some eat, others exercise. In serious cases, people may eat for comfort. It’s important to recognize what triggers your cravings.

To reduce stress, practice mindful awareness techniques like yoga or meditation. Also, relaxation techniques can help manage moods and cravings. If this doesn’t work, see a mental health professional for guidance on how to deal with stress and the causes of emotional eating. This will help manage back pain due to better control over eating.


Boredom is one cause of emotional eating. People might eat as a way to pass time or to avoid negative emotions. It can also be because they think their life is dull.

People often choose unhealthy snacks like processed food, candy, and fried food when they are bored.

Emotional eating due to boredom can have serious consequences. People can become addicted to food and not know why they eat so much. After eating, they may feel guilty and embarrassed. This type of eating can lead to chronic back pain from extra weight or bad posture when using technology for long periods.

Low self-esteem

Low self-esteem can cause emotional eating. It’s a way of coping with feelings of worthlessness, sadness and unease. Even positive feelings can trigger it. For instance, if someone is having a great time, they may indulge in overeating or binging to reduce the joy.

Negative thoughts, perfectionism and the like can lead to an unhealthy relationship with food. It’s hard to get over with sheer willpower. It needs specialized help, like therapy or counseling, to get free from the emotional ties to food.

Simple strategies can reduce the risk of emotional eating:

  • Track moods and stress levels.
  • Try deep breathing or meditation before meals.
  • Participate in sports or social events for pleasure, not food.
  • Eat healthy snacks between meals to avoid binging.

Strategies to Overcome Emotional Eating

Emotional eating is an issue that many with chronic back pain battle. It’s a result of stress and anxiety regularly used to cope with discomfort and pain. Strategies to help overcome emotional eating and ease chronic back pain exist. Let’s explore them!

Identifying triggers

Unveiling your triggers for emotional eating is the first step for creating a positive, lasting eating plan. A trigger is something that sparks an action or feeling. Begin to find out your triggers by watching your eating habits – when and what emotions cause you to eat. Figure out how you act in certain situations, and you will have a better understanding of why you eat when feeling stressed, bored, or resentful.

Triggers can be different for everyone, but some could be:

  • feeling powerless or out of control;
  • times of change;
  • feeling exhausted;
  • worrying about looks; and
  • relationship difficulties.

After you identify them, try finding other ways to cope, aside from food. Some ideas are:

  • take deep breaths to relax;
  • go for a walk when tempted;
  • call a friend instead of snacking out of loneliness; and
  • write down your thoughts and feelings rather than using food for comfort.

Having healthier responses to uncomfortable emotions – instead of just eating them away – will help you handle them and move forward faster.

Establishing healthy eating habits

Creating a fit relationship with food is vital for coping with physical and emotional parts of chronic back pain. Healthy eating is more than just picking and portioning food – it means handling any underlying problems that could be causing emotional eating.

Understand the contrast between physical and emotional appetite. If you feel anxious or uncomfortable, that may be a signal to tackle the emotion, not fill your stomach with food. Pay attention to how you’re feeling when you eat. If you’re distracted or feel remorseful afterwards, think about decreasing or stopping those activities while having your meal.

Then, fill half your plate with fresh veggies at every meal. Vegetables are generally seen as fillers, but they have some of the most essential nutrients needed for healthy working, such as fiber and antioxidants. These can help control cravings and nourish our bodies over time.

Focus on adding, not taking away, from your daily diet – include foods like nuts, seeds, whole grains, legumes, fruits, lean proteins, etc. as often as possible to up nutrient content rather than only reduce calorie intake.

Finally, make a plan showing what and how much to eat each day, and allocate particular times for meals & snacks to form consistent healthy eating habits in terms of timing.

Practicing mindful eating

Practicing mindful eating can help with emotional eating and reduce chronic back pain. It’s all about using your senses when eating, slowing down, and being mindful of what and how much you eat.

Here are some tips:

  • Set aside enough time for meals.
  • Focus on the tastes, textures, and smells.
  • Savor the experience.
  • Listen to hunger cues.
  • Be aware of how food affects you emotionally and physically.
  • Stay present instead of analyzing.
  • Enjoy tasty foods that are also healthy.
  • End with a feeling of satisfaction instead of being overstuffed or guilty.

Mindful eating is essential for overcoming emotional eating and reducing back discomfort.

Benefits of Overcoming Emotional Eating

Emotional eating is a major cause of chronic back pain. Eating foods our body does not need or desire can lead to low energy, poor sleep, digestion issues, and inflammation.

But, there’s great news! Overcoming emotional eating brings lots of benefits. Let’s talk about the positive changes this can make for people living with chronic back pain!

  • Increased energy levels
  • Improved sleep quality
  • Reduced inflammation
  • Improved digestion
  • Reduced chronic pain symptoms

Improved physical health

Emotional eating can lead to physical health problems, like chronic back pain. It’s an unhealthy habit that traps people in a spiral of feeling overwhelmed and overeating.

When you eat for emotional reasons, your body is thrown out of balance. Stress hormones spike, causing inflammation and aches in the back. Taking control of food cravings and breaking free from negative habits can reduce stress.

This stops cravings, helps with weight gain or loss, boosts energy, improves sleep, strengthens the circulatory system, improves concentration, reduces inflammation, and helps metabolism. This leads to better physical health and less back pain, as well as improved mental wellbeing.

Improved mental health

Changes to eating habits can do wonders for mental health, and this in turn can help reduce physical symptoms of chronic back pain. Emotional eating is when one uses food to try and manage or suppress difficult thoughts or emotions. This type of disordered eating can leave you feeling frustrated and without a solution.

By recognizing and addressing issues causing distress, you can find improved mental health that lessens physical discomfort. Steps like identifying triggers, learning new coping strategies and changing thoughts on food, eating, and yourself can help break the habit of emotional eating. This can make it easier to manage stress without relying on food. Also, by listening to your body’s hunger cues, you can make healthier choices that keep you feeling full after meals – no overeating needed!

Aside from reducing back-pain related discomforts, overcoming emotional eating can also lead to improved self-esteem. You will become more aware of how diet affects physical wellness and develop positive thinking habits around food choices. Taking steps towards long-term strategies for tackling stress is important for managing your weight over time. It can also bring mental clarity due to an increase in mindfulness associated with better dietary habits.

Increased self-confidence

Gaining self-confidence is a great result of overcoming emotional eating. Eating in a more intuitive way helps you figure out what works and what doesn’t for you. This leads to feeling more in control of your decisions and behaviour. You will also have greater trust in your ability to make wise choices about food that are healthy and good for you. Plus, when emotional eating stops, often times chronic back pain reduces too, which contributes to feeling better.

Self-confidence can make physical and mental health better, and also help people build relationships based on trust, rather than using food or dieting as a crutch:

  • It increases self-esteem.
  • It boosts mood and reduces stress.
  • It helps people take risks and try new things.
  • It helps people stay motivated and persist in difficult tasks.
  • It helps people form healthier relationships.


Emotional eating can be a major cause of chronic back pain. We must recognize our emotional signals and triggers when we are stressed or bored. Mindful snacking and meditation, as well as behavioral strategies, can help us break our patterns. Examples of these strategies include:

  • Understanding why we overeat.
  • Limiting food portions.
  • Stocking the kitchen with healthy food.

Cognitive restructuring is an effective treatment to reduce negative feelings related to emotional eating. In addition, complementary therapies such as yoga and biofeedback can bring more balance to our overall wellness. When used in combination with physical therapy, these strategies can provide better relief from chronic pain due to emotional eating.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is emotional eating?

A: Emotional eating refers to the habit of turning to food for comfort or stress relief rather than due to hunger or a nutritional need.

Q: How does emotional eating impact chronic back discomfort?

A: Emotional eating can lead to weight gain and obesity, which can put additional stress on the back and exacerbate chronic discomfort.

Q: What are some strategies for overcoming emotional eating?

A: Strategies for overcoming emotional eating include identifying triggers, finding alternative coping mechanisms, practicing mindfulness, and seeking support from a therapist or support group.

Q: Can changing my diet help alleviate chronic back discomfort?

A: Yes, adopting a healthy, well-balanced diet can help reduce inflammation and provide the nutrients needed to support a healthy back.

Q: How can exercise help with chronic back discomfort?

A: Exercise can help strengthen the muscles in the back and core, providing better support for the spine and reducing discomfort.

Q: Do I need to eliminate all my favorite foods in order to overcome emotional eating?

A: No, by finding alternative coping mechanisms and practicing moderation, it is possible to enjoy your favorite foods in a balanced way while still overcoming emotional eating habits.

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.

Related Articles