Foods to Eat & Avoid to Relieve Back Pain

iStock_000016314809SmallIntake of Anti-inflammatory Foods

Inflammation is one of the major causes of back pain. Inflammation is completely related to your food intake. If your diet consists of foods which increase inflammation, then your chances of back pain increase as well. However, there are many foods which actually reduce the inflammation and give you relief from the back pain. If you ask an eminent spine surgeon, you will come to know that if this basic cause of back pain is not controlled, inflammation will not only cause lower back pain, it will also create other problems in the body. So a healthy and nutritious diet to fight it off is extremely important.

Here is a list of anti-inflammatory foods that you can include in your daily diet to avoid back pain.

  • Vegetables like carrots, beets and sweet potatoes, onion, broccoli.
  • Fruits like cherries, berries, pomegranate, watermelon, and grapes.
  • Herbs and Spices like oregano, basil, cinnamon, ginger, garlic, cumin, rosemary, oregano and not to forget turmeric which is good for many other problems too.
  • Flax and Chia Seeds
  • Cold water fish like salmon, tuna, herring, sardines, trout, black cod and mackerel which are rich sources of Omega 3.
  • Herbal Teas like Green Tea, Oolong Tea and White Tea are very good for back pain.
  • Olives and Olive oil have healing properties as well.
  • Lean Proteins like turkey, chicken, cocoa and beans should also be a part of your diet.
  • Calcium rich foods like dairy products like milk, low-fat yogurt, low-fat cottage cheese.

By including these veggies, fruits and herbs along with teas and the proteins, you will experience a massive reduction in inflammation in the cartilage in the spinal column. It is effective for relief of stiffness and pain in the back. Intake of green vegetables and other such foods with healing properties is also good for your overall health. Calcium is extremely important for your bones. As you age, the risk of arthritis and osteoporosis also increases. Intake of calcium rich foods prevents you from these painful diseases. Also, remember to use monounsaturated oils like canola or olive oil to cook your meals.

With the consultation of a well known spine surgeon, you can also include avocados and nuts in your ideal diet to relieve back pain. Pecan nuts, almonds, walnuts and Brazil nuts, all are effective for easing the pain.

Foods to Avoid:

There are certain foods that you need to avoid if you want to maintain a healthy back and neck. We tend to be careless in our busy routines and our spine takes all the stress from our carelessness. To avoid extreme measure like surgery, it is better and even easier to maintain a healthier lifestyle.

Here’s a list of foods that you should completely take out of your diet as they are the main culprits causing inflammation:

  • Caffeine and Alcohol
  • Processed Foods, Fast Foods and Saturated Foods. All the pasta, rice, white bread, sugary and fizzy drinks, fried food and snacks should be consumed very rarely.
  • Foods with partially hydrogenated oil in them like peanut, soybean, corn, cotton seeds, sesame seeds, safflower, grapeseed, and sunflower oils.
  • Foods packed with preservatives like chips, crackers, and pastries which cannot go bad for a long time.


Tips After Having Laser Back Surgery

b22Be sure to pay attention to any post-op guidelines that are given to help encourage rest and limit activity to only necessary physical therapy. This way gaining mobility and strength will be easy without suffering any further injury. It can be difficult to control the urge to go out and do all the things one couldn’t before, as they will likely be enjoying less pain almost immediately after the surgery. Easing into exercises is key to prevent spinal injury again, as well as any muscle strain. Keep in mind that the body isn’t used to so much activity so starting slowly and knowing when to take a break are important.

Exerciseto aid recovery

Speaking of exercise, there are many to encourage recovery. Physical Therapy experts have developed stretches and exercises just for those who have received laser spine surgery. These exercises will make sure successful recovery. While recovering, routine checkups will be mandatory to make sure everything is going well and the back is healing the right way. If any of the stretches or exercises are painful or even uncomfortable they can recommend different ones.

Sometimes, the doctor may want the patient to seek physical therapy. Being supervised will ensure that they are being executed the correct way. The exercises will be altered as the patient recovers. Here are some samples of the various levels of exercise and things that will be done at home to feel better, faster.

Common Exercise Levels

The first group of exercises are for patients who have been out of surgery for a couple weeks. The shoulder press is a common exercise to help strengthen the upper back and aid in posture. It can be done at home by lying on the back with knees bent. Legs are about hip width apart and arms on both sides with palms facing up. The patient inhales slowly, and as they exhale they press their shoulders into the floor without arching the back at all.

The second level of exercises involves more advanced moves. They’ll usually be prescribed after doing the first level for a couple weeks. Bridges are a common exercise recommended by spinal surgery doctors and physical therapists. They are completed by lying on the floor on one’s back. Palms are turned down as the patient inhales and raises their pelvis off the floor. They lower on the exhale. This is a great exercise for strengthening the lower back and hips.

Stay Connected

It’s important to stay connected with the surgery doctor even long after the procedure and recovery. They will keep a close watch on the patient and check their back to be sure that everything is working as is expected. A very small percentage of people will need to have surgery again. The number is far less for minimally invasive spine surgery than it is for traditional options.

There are many other benefits, too. These included a lower risk of infection, faster recovery, and the ability to return to work and other beloved activities much sooner. Because of the benefits and the growth in popularity since MIS’ inception, it continues to grow and be the top choice for those who must undergo surgery to correct sciatica, slipped disk and other back issues. Just be sure to do research on the doctors and facilities performing the procedure to ensure that they are very successful before signing up for the surgery.

Choosing the Best Lower Back Brace

unduhan (100)Before choosing a back brace you will need to determine what the purpose of the back brace and what it can do for you. When getting a medical brace for your back the doctor prescribing the brace will have all this information ready when you are being fitted for a brace for your back. If you have persistent back pain you should have a brace that will help to correct your poor posture. If you are participating in activities that will require heavy lifting you will want one that gives you support. Some need a back brace that will help to support your back while you are recovering from an injury.

For bending and heavy lifting consider a lower back brace that has suspenders so when it is not in use it can hang from your shoulders. This will keep it from moving normally when you are not lifting heavy objects. The brace should wrap tightly around your stomach and lower back just above your hip bones. You want to make sure that it has good quality Velcro® as an attachment system so this will allow you to remove it quickly or be able to secure it with little effort. The back of this brace should immobilize your lower back when you are lifting heavy objects, forcing you to lift with your legs and not your back.

The posture back brace will often support your entire back and not just your lower back. You want one that is not too bulky so it will fit underneath your clothing naturally without bulging. Carefully consider what materials were used to construct the brace. While latex is very supportive it does not breathe well. This means that sweat and moisture will become trapped between the latex and your skin creating some discomfort. Choose a Lyrca® one instead because it is a stretchy material that is durable and breathable. Make sure that it fits you properly and can be sufficiently adjustable.

The back brace that is used after an injury is much stiffer and bulkier than the other braces that are used for support. This particular type of brace are used in only the most severe cases as these are usually quite uncomfortable. In any case where you will need a back brace the physician will recommend what brace to use. None of these braces will solve the problem on its own. You will have to use it in combination with other practices that are meant to help strengthen your back in order to prevent an injury again. Some of these other practices include exercises, physical therapy, rest, and more.


5 Strategies to Avoid Negative Effects of Prolonged Sitting at Work

unduhan (99)I started working in an office 5 years ago, and during the past two years I have started to suffer a few consequences of bad habits that can were formed while sitting at a desk for 8 hours a day.

The reality is that a large amount of people work office jobs these days, and a lot of them do not correlate their type of work with their health condition. It is hard to change the way society works and avoid working office jobs altogether, as we often don’t have that choice. However, we do have the choice of making a few adjustment at work that will allow us to prevent illnesses and health issues caused by sitting at your job for long hours each day.

In my case, I exercise very regularity, and always have made a decent effort to eat healthy. However the past two years a few health issues have started to manifest, and it took some digging to find out the root causes. I started to develop a lot of gastrointestinal problems, and inability to breathe properly. I had to make a conscious effort to intake enough oxygen, as I often felt as if I was choking.

I also noticed that I started to hunch over when I walked and even after doing yoga I had a hard time standing straight without effort. My spine started to feel weak, and I experienced a lot of back pain.

When I visited a chiropractor, I discovered that a bad posture when sitting at my desk, plus not breathing properly had compressed some vertebrae in my spine, and had shifted my stomach in a way that impeded proper emptying into the small intestine. A series of chiropractic sessions and dietary adjustment made a lot of improvement, and now I make a conscious effort to breathe deeply throughout the day and to have a correct posture while sitting at my desk, so that the problem does not come back.

A very well researched article by Dr. Mercola discusses part of the controversy about the negative effects of sitting for prolonged hours and whether or not standing at your desk is better that sitting. The article also mentions several studies that point at a variety of negative health effects that can result from sitting more than 7 hours a day.

I won’t discuss the details of those studies, but I will share with you the most important piece of information.

The bottom line as the article suggests is that the overall lack of movement might be the most detrimental issue for health, whether it is from standing or sitting; that said, it is important to mention that when you stand at your desk you are likely to get a lot more movement that when sitting, and I can attest to that because I tried standing at my desk for a while, and I did naturally move a lot more; I took some steps to reach things, I moved from leg to leg, and I changed my posture several times while standing, which increases the amount of overall movement in a day. I also felt more alert and less tired during the day. Standing is also a weight bearing posture which is beneficial for musculature and bone density.

Nevertheless, while standing might have less disadvantages that sitting, I agree with Dr. James Levine author of the book Get Up!: Why Your Chair Is Killing You and What You Can Do About It in that the emphasis should be on increasing movement of the body throughout the day rather than on simply switching from sitting to standing.

That said, if you decide to try standing at your desk I strongly recommend that you position your screen, and keyboard at the right level to avoid developing issues, as a bad standing posture can be as harming as a sitting posture.

As someone who works a full time office job, but who is also committed to improve my health and prevent future health issues, for the past year I have tried several strategies in order to reduce sitting time, and more importantly to increase the amount of movement of my body on any given day at the office, which has also helped me in my weight loss efforts.

Today I want to share with you some of the strategies I have implemented, and that have made a big difference in improving and relieving neck and back pain, indigestion, muscle soreness, and general energy levels.

1. Change positions several times throughout the day. For this, I Set a timer on my phone or computer to go off every 25 minutes, because it is very easy to get carried away with work, and before you know it 2 hours have gone by.

Dr. Mercola recommends to not sit for more than 20 minutes at a time. This might be a big compromise for a lot of people, depending on where you work. If you are lucky and have your own private office like me, this will be feasible if you are determined. I change positions every 25 minutes most of the time, and move for 2 minutes every time.

If you share office space or have a time of job where it is impossible to stand every 20 minutes, don’t worry! The point is to increase movement in general, so you will still benefit from changing positions in longer intervals.

How changing positions looks like? When your alarm goes off, stand up, walk around your own office, walk to the printer, walk to the water dispenser, walk around the hallway, do stretches, squats, walk in place, and roll your wrists, your ankles, do some standing yoga poses, anything that moves your body will benefit you.

If you are not able to stand up and move around, you can practice extending your legs while seated, do the rolling of the wrists, ankles, stretch your neck, etc.

You can also try sitting on an exercise ball and switch between that and your regular chair, like I do.

Trust me, I understand this is challenging in today’s world, but if you are serious about your health and understand that you are your first priority, you will make it happen!

2. Take deep breaths throughout the day. Breathe into your diaphragm, expand your chest, and ribcage to ensure adequate oxygen intake. This can also help you improve your posture, because it is hard to breathe deeply when you are slouching at your chair. Breathing deeply will also force you to keep your back straight.

3. Take a walk during your lunch break and/or coffee breaks. Your breaks are the best opportunity to get more movement in. Make a conscious effort to go out for a walk instead of staying in your office to read news or sitting in the lunch room. This is also extremely beneficial to give your brain a break, sometimes we come back with a much clearer mind and new ideas on how to solve problems.

Even if you walk only 20 minutes a day every day you work, and you work about 20 days a week like most people, you will put in 400 minutes of walking every month! That is 6.6 hours! That your body will thank you for.

Don’t underestimate the power of walking. It is a great weight-bearing exercise that the body was built to do!

4. Mindful Eating

Usually, People who work office jobs, myself included, have much more opportunities to eat throughout the day, than say, constructions workers, and yet us office workers move a lot less and therefore require less energy. You see the problem?

Food is comforting when we are stressed out, and even entertaining when we are bored, but eating under those circumstances can potentially lead us towards making bad eating choices or eating more than needed.

We must be aware of our emotional state before reaching for a snack. It takes awareness of your body to know how you feel and understanding your choices. However, as a rule of thumb it is better not to eat when you are under stress. Take a few minutes to calm down and ask your body: what will really nourish me right now? Sometimes a few deep breaths or a walk are much more relieving in the long term than food.

Recognizing when we are bored is important to avoid eating out of boredom. This happened to me a lot, when work started to be a bit daunting, I used to go to the nearest bakery as a way of having some distraction, and I would buy a pastry even though I wasn’t really craving it. Eventually, I noticed some weight gain after a few trips to the bakery!

Now I recognize when I am bored, or tired and I pay attention to my choices. I try to read an article instead or just go for the walk, pass by the bakery but don’t stop by. Usually after a walk I will have a better idea whether I am hungry or not.

Bottom line: Eat when you are hungry, not when you are bored, stressed or tired.

5. Proper Posture. Whether you sit or stand at your desk, ensuring that you have the correct posture will prevent a lot of pain and discomfort. There are several resources on the internet that you can use as a guide.

Some suggestions to always keep in mind are: Avoid slouching, sitting cross legged, cradling the phone, and shrugging your shoulders.

Remember that when it comes to avoiding health problems from working at a desk, the key is to improve posture, and increase movement throughout the day.