Have you ever wondered if the coffee you grab in the morning or something you have eaten is contributing to your back pain?
We all know there are certain foods that you can eat that either hurt or help inflammation in your body, which may contribute to back pain. Foods like junk food, fast food, red meats, fried foods, pastries, and cakes are of course not good for you. They say that it’s the trans fat, saturated fats, and high glycemic index that can irritate inflammation and make your back pain worse.
On the other end of the spectrum there are foods like walnuts, blueberries, salmon, cod, and other fruits which are extremely good for your health. These foods are filled with Omega 3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and vitamin D. All of these foods are great for you for a lot of different reasons, but when it comes to your back, these all help to reduce inflammation which takes pressure off of your spinal nerves and relieves back pain.
There are some coffees which are extremely sugary, high-calorie coffees that you can get at coffee shop chains. These types of coffees have high glycemic indices and many of them contain a high amount of saturated fats in them and are definitely not good for your inflammation and your back pain.
But what about straight black coffee without all the sugar. Well, apparently black coffee is a lot better for you and it doesn’t really have the “not good for you” ingredients. But it also doesn’t have any of the good ingredients either.
Coffee has caffeine in it, and caffeine can actually elevate levels of anxiety that you experience. This is why people that get the jitters from too much coffee seem a little jumpier than normal. The coffee is putting them on edge and sending their bodies into the fight or flight condition and when you are in fight or flight, your muscles are a bit more tense than normal, mostly to prepare you for a quick escape.
Consequently, if you have back pain, this isn’t good news. Even a little bit of muscle tension can cause your piriformis or psoas muscle to irritate your sciatic nerve and cause back pain.
So, although there probably isn’t much real danger in drinking a cup of coffee in the morning, it can contribute to back pain issues.
According to Elle, Nutrition is one part of a three-pronged approach that Dr. Todd Sinett, chiropractor, certified trainer, and author of the recent book 3 Weeks to a Better Back, uses to tackle back pain. His method also examines these ailments structurally (muscle and bones) and emotionally (everyday stress), but diet is definitely the piece of the puzzle that barely anyone considers.
Dr. Sinett says you can’t pinpoint what back pain caused by diet feels like, exactly–it could range from severe lower back pain to a chronic aching neck. He notes that the science connecting diet and back pain applies to all levels of discomfort, concluding that eating a large amount of inflammatory food (more on that below) can cause muscles to contract without relaxing. If that persists over a long period of time, it can cause back spasms and irritation. Major dietary causes of back pain, he says, include excessive caffeine, alcohol, and sugar–all things that increase cortisol levels. When there’s excess cortisol in the body, connective tissue can get inflamed, causing pain.
Other stress-causing, cortisol-promoting eating habits include skipping meals, eating large portions, or limiting yourself to a restrictive diet over a long period. You’re not off the hook if all you eat are salads every day, either, since that “roughage,” as Sinett calls it, “causes your digestive tract to go into overdrive very quickly” and triggers the muscular system, too. One way to fix that is by varying the kinds of food you eat day to day and breaking away from routine. Sinett himself used to eat high-fiber oatmeal every morning before developing bloating, stomach pain, and eventually a stiff neck.