Thirsty for Trouble: 10 Beverages to Avoid for Back Pain Relief

Thirsty for Trouble: 10 Beverages to Avoid for Back Pain Relief

Carbonated Drinks

Back pain may be linked to carbonated drinks. Lactic acid, a byproduct of these beverages, can cause stiffness and pain. The gas in them may be tough for the body to digest, placing extra strain on the spine. What’s more, their high sugar content may lead to greater inflammation and pain.


When we think of soda, we imagine sugary soft drinks. These are light on nutrition and don’t provide many health benefits. They are high in calories and unhealthy sugars, and can also put strain on your back. Soda does not give the body better bones or improved flexibility. Drinking soda increases cortisol, which increases inflammation, which makes lower back pain worse.

Diet sodas may have fewer sugars, yet they still cause inflammation, so they should be avoided.

If you want something sweet and fizzy, try seltzer or sparkling water. Add fresh fruit like raspberries or strawberries for natural sweetness without all the calories. If you must have regular soda, mix it with 50% plain seltzer for a low-calorie alternative that tastes like regular soda.

Energy Drinks

Energy drinks, like Monster Energy and Red Bull, are trendy and contain high levels of caffeine. Too many of these beverages can have a hidden effect on your back health compared to other drinks. While they are said to give you energy, they actually disrupt your body’s sleep cycle, making it hard for you to get the rest you need – causing back pain.

Besides caffeine, some energy drinks also have taurine. This is an amino acid that prevents tiredness, but can cause heart palpitations if taken in large amounts. Remember that energy drinks are not regulated by the FDA like other foods and drinks. So, it can be hard to tell how much caffeine or taurine is in any energy drink. Be sure to read the label before consuming any carbonated drink.


Alcohol is a beverage to stay away from, if you want to relieve back pain. It is a powerful depressant – meaning it can slow down parts of your brain and body. This can affect your posture and back alignment. Plus, alcohol can bring on dehydration, which makes your back pain worse. So it’s best to leave alcohol be, when tackling chronic back pain.


Alcohol can cause back pain due to dehydration and decreasing muscle strength. Beer is especially bad, as alcohol levels are higher and hops and other ingredients can cause tight muscles and stomach irritation. Also, people who drink beer tend to overeat, leading to weight gain, which makes back pain worse.

To prevent back pain, try not to drink beer at all, or only have a little on special occasions.


When it comes to wine, there are some factors to think about for therapeutic purposes. People with acute and chronic back pain should keep their alcohol content low, around 5-7%. Red and dry wines have higher alcohol than lighter and sparkling wines, while sweet wines have lower levels. Avoid any wines with added sugar or sulfites, as these can make symptoms worse.

Wine has antioxidants which can reduce inflammation, increase circulation and improve overall health. Some say sipping red wine with dinner can relax muscles, but this should be done in moderation. Too much can make symptoms worse due to dehydration or medication interactions.

Before drinking wine, speak to your healthcare provider about any medications you take, to make sure there won’t be interactions. Also, make sure it’s safe for you to drink alcohol without worsening any existing conditions like digestive problems, smoking or hypertension.

Sugary Drinks

No sugar for those in pain! Sugary drinks are a big no-no. They can cause inflammation and make back pain worse. Plus, long-term health problems like obesity and diabetes can lead to even more back pain. So, it’s best to stay away from sugary drinks altogether.

Fruit Juices

Fruit juices are easily accessible and a great part of a balanced diet. But, beware! The high concentration of fructose (a form of natural sugar) can put your back at risk. Fructose takes longer to digest than other sugars. This affects the stomach more slowly and can increase acid production, leading to back pain.

To avoid this risk, look for 100% fruit juice with no added sugar. Observe portion control too, as many juices contain significant amounts of fructose. As an alternative, consider low-sugar options like

  • half-juice blends
  • diluted natural fruit juice mixed with a carbonated beverage


Sweetened Teas

Millions enjoy sweetened teas, yet those with back pain should select an unsweetened version. Sweet tea is not a good option, as it generally contains sugar and artificial sweeteners.

Opt for herbal tea instead – peppermint or chamomile. These herbs aid digestion and relax spasms. They also have fewer toxins than sodas, juices, or sugary teas. To sweeten without extra calories, use honey or stevia.

Caffeinated Beverages

Caffeine is a stimulant that has a negative effect on your back pain. It can make you more alert and energized, but can also cause your muscles to be tense and irritated. It can offer a short-term energy boost, yet contribute to long-term back pain and inflammation.

Here we will look at 10 caffeinated drinks that could cause or worsen your back pain:


Coffee is a globally popular drink. It’s made from roasted and ground beans of a coffee plant, and brewed using hot water. It has natural antioxidants, enzymes, and caffeine, which can cause back pain.

Caffeine is an organic stimulant that can help with energy levels and alertness. But too much coffee can lead to dehydration and increased inflammation. So, it’s best to limit your coffee intake to two cups a day.

It’s good to know that decaf coffee still holds small amounts of caffeine – around 5g per cup. This could still cause a reaction or disrupt your sleep. Thus, be mindful when having coffee or other caffeinated drinks like teas, fizzy drinks and energy drinks.


Tea has been around for centuries. People enjoy it either hot or cold. It comes in many flavors, and can have caffeine. Green, black, oolong and white tea are all from the Camellia sinensis plant. Depending on brewing time and type, it can give 25 to 90 milligrams of caffeine in an 8 ounce cup.

Herbal teas, like ginger, peppermint, and hibiscus, are not real tea. Some herbal teas may have caffeine from ingredients like guarana or yerba mate. When dealing with back pain relief, moderation is key for any caffeinated beverage.

Dairy-Based Drinks

Dairy-based drinks are popular, but they can be a major problem for those with back pain. Smoothies, whole milk, and chocolate milk can often have lots of sugar. This can lead to lactose intolerance. To aid in back pain relief, it’s best to avoid dairy-based drinks.


Milk is consumed around the world. It has protein, calcium and vitamin D. But, it also has lactose sugar which can worsen inflammation for those with conditions like rheumatoid arthritis who are lactose intolerant.

Cow’s milk can be low-fat or fat-free. Plant-based and nut-based milks, such as almond or coconut milk, can have added vitamins and minerals and usually have lower calories.

Yogurt is a calcium-rich dairy option. Unflavored yogurt is best since pre-flavored ones may have added sugar. Add fruit like blueberries, strawberries or bananas to ordinary low fat yogurt at home to make it more nutritious and sweeten its flavor.

Yogurt Drinks

Yogurt drinks are popular. They’re a tasty treat, snack or nutrient boost. Known as yogurts, these drinks are made from milk and can have fruit, flavoring and sweetener. They provide protein, calcium and B vitamins.

But, if you have back pain, some ingredients can make it worse. Sugars and artificial sweeteners can cause inflammation. Preservatives and colorings can irritate your digestive system. Caffeine or other stimulants can worsen muscle tension.

For back pain relief, get plain yogurt with no sugar. Natural flavors like fruit are better than artificial sweeteners. Try skim milk, almond milk or lactose-free yogurt. Decaffeinated options can help reduce muscle tension.

Artificial Sweeteners

Beverages and back pain go together like oil and water. Artificial sweeteners? Absolutely not! They are often found in sugary drinks and energy drinks, which have too many calories and not enough nutritients. Plus, they can cause dehydration, which only makes existing back pain worse. So, be aware of what you drink.

Here are 10 beverages to avoid for back pain relief:

Diet Sodas

Diet sodas are often thought of as a healthier alternative to full-sugar drinks, but they still contain artificial sweeteners. Aspartame and saccharin are two of the most common sweeteners used and they can decrease bone formation – which isn’t ideal for those with osteoarthritis.

Studies have also shown that drinking diet soft drinks raises waist circumference and blood pressure – both of which can lead to back pain. Other research has revealed higher risks for cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome – both of which can cause back pain.

Plus, artificial sweeteners such as aspartame and saccharin are linked to an increased risk for certain types of cancer. It’s important to be mindful of potential health risks when it comes to beverages like diet soda.

Low-Calorie Drinks

Low-calorie drinks, such as diet sodas, flavored water, and lemonades, seem like a healthier option than their full-calorie counterparts. But, these drinks often contain artificial sweeteners. While some artificial sweeteners are deemed safe by bodies like the FDA, there is no proof that they can help with back pain relief.

Sweeteners like sucralose, Ace K, saccharin, and aspartame, are all chemicals. So, they can cause gastrointestinal discomfort and other issues, especially for people with chronic pain. Agave nectar is natural, but it has high levels of fructose. So, it’s important to keep an eye on blood sugar levels when using Agave nectar.

A better alternative is stevia leaf extract. It’s zero-calorie, natural and it has been studied a lot for its effects on blood sugar levels. No adverse reactions have been reported in the literature. So, if you want to stay safe and enjoy low-calorie drinks, use natural sweeteners like stevia. This way, you won’t trigger a flare-up of back pain and other symptoms that can damage your quality of life.

Acidic Beverages

Steer clear of acidic beverages like soda and energy drinks if you have back pain. They raise the acidity of the stomach, triggering inflammation and irritation. Dehydration can also be a result of these drinks, leading to increased pain.

Let’s look at some of the most acidic beverages to avoid for back pain relief:

Citrus Juices

Citrus juices are acidic and can irritate your sensitive nerves. Their sour taste comes from citric acid which can be bad for pain. Plus, these juices are classified as sweet. Resulting in tooth decay and cavity issues!

Furthermore, they have a high concentration of fructose. This can be difficult for some bodies to process. Many store-bought juices contain added sugar or preservatives. These worsen inflammation and disrupt balance.

If you experience back pain and want citrus, go for freshly squeezed versions. Look for labels that guarantee lower sugar content.

Sports Drinks

Sports drinks, like Gatorade, are consumed after a workout to replace fluids and electrolytes. But, they can be acidic and add to stomach acidity, creating trouble for back pain sufferers. Sports drinks contain artificial sweeteners, colorings, and preservatives derived from synthetic materials.

These ingredients interact with the already present acid in the stomach and intestines, resulting in inflammation throughout the body. This raises the markers linked to chronic pain conditions. Studies have indicated that drinking diet sodas containing citric or phosphoric acid increases the risk of low back pain.

Sports drinks’ acidic nature is increased further by by-products created in their manufacture. For example, sodium benzoate, a preservative, worsens artery health, and propylene glycol, an anti-caking agent, can damage organs when exposed.

Therefore, if you have back pain, it’s best to avoid sports drinks. Instead, drink neutral pH water or alkaline teas such as green tea or chamomile tea.

Herbal Teas

Herbal teas are old-fashioned treatments for numerous issues. They can relax and soothe the body. But, when aiming to ease back pain, certain herbs should be avoided – they can in fact aggravate the pain. Let’s look at which teas should not be consumed for back pain relief.

Chamomile Tea

Chamomile tea is a popular choice for those looking to relax and reduce stress. It has been used for ages to calm anxiety, improve digestion, soothe sore throats and even ease muscle tension. It can also help alleviate back pain symptoms due to its anti-inflammatory properties that shrink swelling and loosen muscles. For the best results, make sure to drink it daily over several weeks.

To get the most benefits out of chamomile tea, it needs to be properly prepared:

  • Boil water and steep the dried leaves or flowers for at least five minutes in hot water.
  • Before serving, check the temperature as too much heat can damage beneficial properties of certain herbs.
  • Additionally, limit honey or sugar intake to avoid extra empty calories that can lead to weight gain when consumed in large amounts.

Peppermint Tea

Peppermint‘s popular for digestive troubles like indigestion and cramping. But, research suggests it may help back pain too! Experiments with peppermint oil on those with chronic lower back pain found it relaxes muscles, reduces inflammation, and boosts blood circulation.

For the best tea to help with your back pain, buy loose leaf teas or make your own. Put 2-3 teaspoons of fresh or dried peppermint leaves in boiling water for 10 minutes. Honey’s great for flavor and sweetness. Avoid stevia or excess sugar, as that may worsen digestive issues.

Hot Beverages

Don’t reach for tea or coffee to stay energized if you have back pain. Heat and caffeine will only make it worse! Avoid these hot beverages. Here are the main ones to watch out for:

  • Tea
  • Coffee

Hot Chocolate

Hot chocolate is tasty, especially in winter. But it has sugar and caffeine which can cause back pain if you have too much. Also, if it’s too hot it can burn your mouth and throat and that can lead to lower back muscle inflammation.

So, to reduce any risk of back pain, use mixes with less sugar or cocoa powder. Have it lukewarm. If you do have it, make sure you drink lots of water afterwards as caffeine can make you dehydrated.

Hot Coffee

Hot coffee has antioxidants, yet when your back is hurting, it’s best to lay off. Caffeine can be bad for your back as it constricts blood vessels and causes more inflammation. If you want a hot drink to perk you up, go for decaf. Decaf has some caffeine, but much less than the regular kind, so it won’t make your back pain worse.

High-Fat Drinks

Do you love milkshakes, smoothies, and frappuccinos? They sure are tasty, but they can cause back pain!

High-fat drinks can disrupt your natural balance. This means that your back health can become worse. To relieve back pain and avoid trouble, the right nutrition is essential. And it’s best to avoid high-fat drinks.


Milkshakes are high-fat drinks with a lot of calories. For example, a 12-ounce McDonald’s vanilla milkshake contains 420 calories, 20 grams of fat and 45 grams of sugar. But if the milkshake is made with full-fat ingredients, it will have more calories.

Soft serve ice cream is usually the main source of unhealthy fats in milkshakes. This type of ice cream has palm oil or hydrogenated vegetable oil and saturated fat. Eating this often can raise cholesterol and increase the risk of heart attack or stroke.

If you want to enjoy a milkshake without worsening back pain, look for options with lower fat dairy products like skim milk or non-fat yogurt. Avoid adding sugary toppings like chocolate sauce or whipped cream as they add empty calories. Remember to keep these treats as occasional indulgences, not a daily staple.


Smoothies are popular, because they usually have fresh, healthy ingredients. However, some fat is added in the form of avocado or yogurt, which can be too much. Some smoothie places also add nuts, granola, honey, and chocolate syrup. Many don’t know that these drinks contain lots of calories, fat, and sugar. To ensure your diet isn’t ruined, try these low-fat smoothie recipes:

  • Apricot-Ginger
  • Blueberry Banana
  • Minty Green Apple
  • Tropical Carrot
  • Dutch Carrot Pineapple
  • Berry Cherry Beetroot.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why should I avoid certain beverages for back pain relief?

A: Certain beverages, such as those high in caffeine, sugar, or alcohol, can actually exacerbate inflammation and lead to increased back pain.

Q: What are some specific beverages to avoid?

A: Some of the top offenders include soda, energy drinks, coffee, beer, wine, and sugary cocktails.

Q: What can I drink instead?

A: Water is always a safe bet for hydration, but non-sugary herbal teas, coconut water, and low-sugar sports drinks are also good options.

Q: How long will it take to see results from avoiding these beverages?

A: Results may vary, but many people report feeling relief from back pain within a few days to a week of cutting out these problematic beverages.

Q: Can I have these beverages in moderation?

A: It’s always best to avoid them altogether if possible, but if you must have them in moderation, try to limit your intake to once a week or less.

Q: How can I manage my back pain while making these changes?

A: In addition to avoiding certain beverages, try incorporating low-impact exercises, stretching, and relaxation techniques like yoga or meditation into your routine. Consulting with a chiropractor or physical therapist may also be helpful.

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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