Five Little-Known Foods That Help Fight Back Pain

If you’re among the 65 million Americans who are currently suffering from back pain, then you already know how painful everyday activities can be. Getting out of bed in the morning, taking your kids to the park and even sitting down at work can seem like a chore when you have to worry about your bad back.

Fortunately, studies show that certain foods may actually have the power to either help alleviate back pain or send it packing altogether. Here’s a look at the 5 strongest pain-fighting foods, and why you should start incorporating them into your diet.

1. Fish
Treat yourself to a tasty fish dish a few times a week and you may be able to tackle your back pain, while also receiving a boost to your heart from the omega-3 fatty acids. Trout, sardines, salmon, striped bass, snapper, Atlantic mackerel, tuna or halibut pack the most bang for your buck. And if you’re like me and don’t particularly like the taste of fish, you can receive the same benefits from taking a daily fish oil supplement.

In fact, a study published in Surgical Neurology found that patients who took fish oil supplements reported a vast improvement in their overall health. After only a few short months, 60% said their pain had improved and 88% said they would continue to take fish oil supplements. The omega-3s in fish oil can help ease inflammation, which is one of the main contributors to lower back pain.

2. Berries
Add a few red grapes, cranberries and blueberries on your morning cereal, yogurt or just eat them by the handful. Either way, the benefits are the same. Berries are chock-full of antioxidants, which help protect your body from free radicals and also help reduce inflammation, which can cause back pain.

3. Dark Cherries
Munching on 20 organic cherries a day may reduce the pain in your back. Dark cherries contain a compound called anthocyanins, which has been found to help relieve pain. Amazingly, a study published in Science Daily found that eating a handful of dark cherries a day was as effective at reducing pain as aspirin.

Little-known fact: the anthocyanin is what gives cherries their color, so the darker the cherry, the better it is. (You can check out North American Spine’s coverage on the amazing benefits of dark cherries in their new back pain eBook.)

4. Papaya
Because of a little pain-fighting enzyme called papain, a cup of organic papaya a day could help turn your back pain into a thing of the past. This delicious fruit may be blended into a smoothie, added to a fruit salad or nibbled on for a light snack throughout the day.
5. Green Tea

If you suffer from back pain due to arthritis, then you may want to start drinking more green tea. People who drink 3 cups of green tea a day were found to be less likely to suffer from arthritis than those who don’t, plus the abundance of nutrients and antioxidants found in green tea make it one of the healthiest beverages around. Green tea contains a compound known as Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) which has been found to help provide arthritis relief.

You may have tried other remedies for back pain, and you may have been disappointed with the results. Don’t let that keep you from giving these foods a try. Each of these foods will contribute to a healthy overall diet, and you may also receive the welcomed benefit of less back pain.

While most cases of back pain tend to heal given time and rest, bouts lasting six or more weeks should be seen by a professional. Luckily, complicated surgeries don’t have to be your only option – there are minimally invasive approaches to helping you get your life back on track.

Brad Smith

View posts by Brad Smith
Brad is a freelance health writer who loves learning more about fitness and putting his theories to the test. When not exercising he can be found drumming, reading or perusing the local farmers market.
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