Think Before You Drink: Beverages That Can Aggravate Back Pain

Think Before You Drink: Beverages That Can Aggravate Back Pain


Struggling with back pain? Pay close attention to what you’re drinking. People usually don’t think twice about their choice of beverage. But, it can cause harm! Certain drinks can make existing lower back pain worse. This article will explore the drinks that can aggravate back pain. That way, you can make an educated decision about what you put in your body.

Overview of Back Pain

Back pain is very common, with about 85% of adults having experienced it at least once. It can range from mild to disabling and can be caused by lifestyle habits, underlying medical conditions, and structure issues. Treatment usually focuses on medications and physical therapy. But, identifying dietary triggers can help a lot.

Common causes for back pain are muscle strain/sprain, ligament sprains, joint problems, disc herniations, or nerve compression. Muscle spasms or imbalances can also be a factor. Excessive physical activity, not enough rest after exercise, and poor nutrition can worsen the pain.

To help with back pain, practitioners suggest eating a healthy diet and keeping a healthy weight. Also, avoiding foods and drinks that cause inflammation can help avoid flare-ups.

How Beverages Can Affect Back Pain

Many people with chronic lower back pain think there’s nothing they can do to ease their discomfort. However, reducing certain drinks can help. These drinks may temporarily reduce pain, however, in the long-term, it worsens existing back issues. It’s important to understand why certain drinks can be detrimental before making changes.

Sweetened beverages like sodas, processed juices and energy drinks increase acidity in the gut, creating an environment for bone and muscle problems like spinal stenosis or sciatica. It’s believed these drinks can cause inflammation of nerves connected to the spine, making pain worse. Energy drinks contain a lot of sugar, which reduces muscular energy, increasing fatigue and tension. All of this leads to more pronounced or frequent backache.

It’s usually best to avoid these drinks if you have lower back issues. Caffeine and carbonated sodas cause dehydration, which can lead to complications, prolonging severe chronic backache and often misery!

Caffeinated Beverages

Coffee and energy drinks are popular choices if you want a quick energy boost. But they can make your back pain worse! It’s wise to consider this before you decide to drink these caffeinated beverages. So, let’s talk about how they affect back pain.


Caffeine levels in coffee vary based on how it’s brewed and the type of bean. A regular cup of coffee has 95-200 mg of caffeine, while an espresso has 47 mg per shot. Instant coffee has 63 mg, while decaffeinated roast or instant versions have 85 mg.

Caffeine can bring a boost in energy and alertness, yet it can make back pain worse. Caffeine is a diuretic which increases urination, leading to dehydration and fewer endorphins. Also, regular consumption of caffeine can raise heart rate and blood pressure, worsening existing backaches.

So, if you have back pain, be mindful when choosing caffeinated beverages. Too much caffeine can aggravate symptoms over time. Make sure to:

  • Drink plenty of water
  • Avoid excessive caffeine

if you have chronic back pain.


Tea is consumed globally. It comes in many forms – black, green, white, and herbal teas. Tea might help chronic pain. But, caffeine-filled beverages can worsen back pain.

  • Green Tea: It has antioxidants. Its caffeine content is 25-45mg/8oz.
  • Black Tea: It has a stronger flavor, and caffeine content is up to 90mg/8oz. People with chronic pain should limit their daily intake to one cup.
  • White Tea: Caffeine content is 1-8mg/8oz, so it’s a great choice for those avoiding caffeine.
  • Chamomile Tea: This herb is believed to relax and reduce inflammation. It contains 15mg/8oz of caffeine. Perfect for a sore back!

Energy Drinks

Energy drinks are becoming more popular, especially with athletes and young people. They contain stimulants like caffeine, guarana, and other herbal extracts. The FDA says they’re safe, though they may have side effects if used too often. Possible effects are: anxiety, insomnia, headaches, stomach problems, and fatigue.

You should limit energy drinks to two a day. People with kidney or heart issues should be careful as too many caffeinated drinks can make their symptoms worse. Caffeine-related pain can also be caused by too much coffee or soda. Low sugar or sugar free drinks may help ease discomfort from too much caffeine. Different drinks have different effects on back pain. Some may cool muscles but others may irritate itchy areas due to their carbonation or acidity. Experiment to see what works best for your needs.

Carbonated Beverages

Carbonated drinks, like cola, are a big cause of back pain. The carbonation increases pressure on the spine and squashes the discs in the lower back, which leads to pain and swelling. Plus, the sugar and caffeine can make the pain even worse.

So, why should we stay away from carbonated drinks when we’re dealing with back pain?


Sodas, also known as soft drinks or carbonated beverages, can add a lot of sugar and calories. They usually contain high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) from corn starch. This can increase acid in your diet and irritate your intestinal bacteria, causing stomach pain and other digestion troubles. These can affect your back health.

Sodas are high in caffeine, which causes dehydration if too much is drunk. Dehydration can lead to more stiffness and back pain due to joint inflammation. To prevent these side effects, try sparkling water. Or, go for an unsweetened tea or infused water.

Sparkling Water

Sparkling water has the same calories as regular bottled water, but has added carbonation. No evidence exists that it aggravates back pain. It can provide a refreshing taste, often with artificial sweeteners or flavors, making it a better alternative to regular sodas.

It is essential for those on medication for back pain to consult their doctor about its safety before drinking it. On the other hand, for those not on medication, it’s usually safe to consume. Before buying any type of carbonated beverage, read ingredients on the label to make an informed decision.

Alcoholic Beverages

Alcohol and back pain don’t mix. Booze can cause dehydration, which can tighten up muscles and make pain worse. Plus, alcohol can do damage to bones and muscles.

Let’s explore the different kinds of alcoholic drinks and how they influence back pain:


Beer is popular, with many options. But, beer has high alcohol content. Different types have different ABV. Regular beer is 4-7%, light beer 2-3%, and malt liquor 7-9%. Some beers have other ingredients, like caffeine or herbs, which can aggravate back pain.

To drink beer, go for the lightest option and only have a little. Drink water too. Alcohol affects coordination and judgment – don’t do anything you can’t do safely after drinking beer!


When you’re choosing an alcoholic drink, remember that alcohol can make existing back pain worse. Red wine has been linked to inflammation, and this can worsen your back pain.

At the store, different types of red wine usually have similar alcohol levels (13%). But, make sure you choose the one with the lowest sulfite levels. Too much sulfite can also lead to pain.

Here’s a list of common red wines and their sulfite levels:

  • Cabernet Sauvignon (17 – 20 mg/L)
  • Merlot (20 – 40 mg/L)
  • Shiraz or Syrah (25 – 40 mg/L)
  • Pinot Noir (10 – 15 mg/L)
  • Zinfandel (30 – 40 mg/L)

Hard Liquor

Hard liquors, like vodka, rum, tequila, gin, and whiskey, are the strongest alcoholic beverages, with a higher concentration of ethyl alcohol (35-50%). These drinks are usually consumed in shots or mixed with non-alcoholic beverages.

However, drinking hard liquors can be detrimental for those with chronic back pain. The alcohol is absorbed more quickly into the body, leading to intoxication, impaired judgment, weakened muscles, coordination issues, and difficulty maintaining balance. All of these can worsen back pain or cause a new injury.

Thus, it’s best for those who suffer from back pain to limit their consumption of hard liquors, or avoid them altogether.

Other Beverages to Avoid

Tempting though it may be, if you suffer with back pain sipping sugary drinks such as soft drinks or cappuccinos is not a good idea. Coffee, tea and energy drinks should also be avoided.

What other beverages should you steer clear of? Read on to find out!

Fruit Juices

Fruit juices may seem healthy, but they can cause harm. Most store-bought ones have added sugar or syrups, which spike blood sugar levels. This can lead to inflammation and back pain. For those with chronic back pain, sugary drinks should be avoided.

Fruit juices are acidic and when consumed as juice, their acidity can be amplified. This can cause gastric reflux and further chest or shoulder blade pain. Some juices also have preservatives and extra vitamins, which cause side effects like nausea, cramping, bloating, and more.

Smoothies made with non-acidic ingredients such as cucumbers can help reduce burning sensations. Smoothies made with nuts, seeds, and herbs like green tea can provide anti-inflammatory benefits and relief from chronic back pain. These polyphenol rich tonics have been used for centuries and offer many antioxidant properties.

Sports Drinks

Sports drinks contain electrolytes and are often confused for being healthier than sodas and other sugary drinks. But, if you have chronic back pain, it is best to stay away from them. Too much sugar can cause inflammation and make the pain worse. Sports drinks also have a high citrate content. This can lead to calcium buildup that forms around joints.

Athletes who do strenuous activity for long periods of time may benefit from sports drinks. But, if you have chronic back pain, it is best to avoid them. Stick to water or herbal tea instead. They won’t increase soreness or stiffness caused by back pain.

Sugary Drinks

Products with excess sugar can harm your health. If you suffer from back pain, sugary drinks should be avoided. This includes energy drinks, sodas, and even juices with added sugars. Natural juices like orange and apple juice can have lots of sugar too.

Instead, have natural teas or herbal teas. They have low caffeine and can give relief when chilled over ice. Different teas have different benefits. Chamomile and ginger tea have anti-inflammatory properties. Find a good brand of tea that has few chemicals. Read labels or search online to avoid sweeteners and flavorings that could make inflammation worse.


To sum up, hydration aids in decreasing and relieving back pain. But, think twice before you drink. Too much of some drinks can increase back pain. Stay away from caffeinated drinks e.g. coffee, tea, energy drinks; sugary drinks like soda and juice; and alcoholic beverages like beer and liquor. Choose healthier options like water or boiled herbal teas (hot or cold) instead.

Before making changes to your diet, always seek advice from a doctor.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can drinking alcohol worsen back pain?

A: Yes, excessive alcohol consumption can lead to dehydration and inflammation, both of which may worsen back pain.

Q: Are there specific types of alcohol that are worse for back pain?

A: Red wine and beer, which contain histamines and tannins respectively, may aggravate back pain in some individuals.

Q: How does caffeine affect back pain?

A: Caffeine can cause dehydration, which may worsen back pain. It can also interfere with sleep, which is essential for back pain recovery.

Q: Is soda bad for back pain?

A: Regular consumption of soda, especially fizzy drinks, may lead to inflammation and aggravate back pain.

Q: Can energy drinks contribute to back pain?

A: Energy drinks often contain high amounts of caffeine and sugar, both of which can increase inflammation and worsen back pain in some individuals.

Q: Is it necessary to give up all beverages that can aggravate back pain?

A: Not necessarily. It’s important to limit or avoid certain beverages, but moderation is key. Staying hydrated with water is always beneficial for back pain and overall health.

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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