From an early age, we’ve all been told to eat our fruits and vegetables and that calcium is good for the bones, and for good reason. Eating foods that are rich in nutrients, lean protein, calcium, and vitamins D and K can help alleviate discomfort due to inflammation and boost your overall immune system. Alleviating inflammation can be especially important for spine and joint health, as the health of your spinal cord directly impacts the functionality of the muscles, nerves, and bones throughout your body. When you experience pain, you are likely feeling the effects of inflammation near and around your bones and joints. However, while there are many healthy food choices, there are also some to avoid or enjoy in moderation.
Below, we list some of the best foods for spine health as well as foods to avoid or limit to relieve and prevent inflammation and discomfort.
Best Foods for Spine Health
If you are experiencing neck or back pain, you most likely have a type of inflammation called neuritis—inflamed peripheral nerves. These nerves are found outside of your brain and spinal cord, and they carry signals to and from your brain. When they are inflamed, they can malfunction and increase your discomfort and pain level. However, if you reduce inflammation, your body is more open to healing. Interestingly, your diet can play a vital role in this healing process and your overall health. Below, we list certain foods for spine health that help minimize inflammation and improve your overall bone, nerve, and muscular strength.
- Plant-based proteins (like lentils and beans)
- Green leafy vegetables (like spinach, kale, and collard greens)
- Fatty fish (lean protein like salmon, tuna, and sardines)
- Dairy products, which are high in calcium—the higher, the better
- Fruits (like strawberries, blueberries, and oranges)
- Tomatoes and nuts (like almonds and walnuts)
- Vitamin K2 supplements, which help strengthen bones in the spine and throughout the body
- Vitamin D3 supplements help the body absorb calcium, which is crucial for the development of strong bones and the healing of injured ones
- Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids (like mackerel fish, flaxseed, and soybeans)
Whether you are vegetarian, vegan, or a meat-lover, your diet directly impacts bone health and bone growth. Creating a diet that is rich in calcium, high in omega-3 fatty acids, and incorporates a healthy balance of lean and fatty proteins is key to a solid body foundation. Ensuring that the above foods for spine health are a regular part of your meal plan will not only reduce inflammation but strengthen the muscles and nerves supporting your spine—the core of your body’s structure.
Foods to Avoid for Optimal Spine Health
Just as there are recommended foods for spine health, there are also foods that can be detrimental and can add to inflammatory issues. Below are just a few to either avoid or consume in moderation:
- Processed carbohydrates (like breakfast cereal, chips, and white bread)
- Fruit juices (especially those high in sugar)
- Fried foods (like chicken, french fries, etc.)
- High-grain foods (like pasta and popcorn)
- Red meat (like burgers and steaks)
- Processed meats (like hot dogs and sausage)
- Foods cooked with refined vegetable oils, such as soybean oil, vegetable oil, and corn oil, as they contain a high level of omega-6 fatty acids, which can contribute to inflammation
Consuming the above foods regularly can contribute to weight gain and increased inflammation throughout the body. In addition, any spinal misalignments you may have can make digesting these fatty and sugary foods and drinks more difficult.
Chiropractic BioPhysics® and a Healthy Diet: A Winning Combination
Spines depend on many things to stay healthy. While a diet consisting of protein and calcium-rich foods for spine health is important, so is making sure your spine is in alignment, as a misaligned spine can cause joint pain and inflammation that only exacerbates underlying issues. Inflammation attacks the joints in your spine and can eventually lead to pain in other areas of the body as well. If not addressed, inflammation can trigger you
When your spine is misaligned, your entire nervous system and your body’s bone structure are negatively impacted. Whether you are suffering from a subluxation, which is a misalignment or an incomplete dislocation, or a global misalignment that affects your body’s natural curvature, treatment is necessary to prevent permanent damage to your body’s core foundation. But how do you know if you simply have a sore back or are suffering from a misaligned spine? Look for specific misaligned spine symptoms and seek help from a chiropractor specializing in spinal alignment.
Common Causes of a Misaligned Spine
The most common cause of a misaligned spine is the vertebral subluxation—the irregular fixation of the vertebrae—which can generate a wide range of adverse symptoms and conditions that can be prevented but also treated by a general chiropractor. The following are some of the causes of vertebral subluxations:
- Emotional stress: When you’re stressed, the muscles in your neck and upper back become tight, causing poor posture. This tension can cause a subluxation, and these emotional stressors can also lead to the release of too much cortisol in your body, causing a chemical imbalance and generating even more muscle tension.
- Improper sleep position: Sleeping in the wrong position can stress the spine and ultimately cause a vertebral subluxation.
- Poor diet: Certain foods can help keep your spine healthy, while others can lead to weight gain, putting additional stress and pressure on your back and joints.
- Repetitive movements: Repetitively performing the same motions can result in an overuse syndrome, leading the body to guard the vertebrae and joints through muscle spasms and pain. This is especially straining and detrimental if you are improperly conducting that repetitive movement (not bending at the waist, lifting with your back and not your legs, etc.).
While all of the above negatively impact your back’s health, there are more serious causes for spinal misalignment that deal with your spine’s natural curvature. The causes can range from poor posture to injuries sustained from a car collision and can best be treated by a chiropractor specializing in spinal alignment.
The following are some causes of global spinal misalignments:
- Spinal curvature disorders: Scoliosis, kyphosis, and lordosis are three common types of spinal curvature disorders. A chiropractor with experience in spinal alignment will be able to determine the severity of the case.
- Accidents: Whether it’s from a slip and fall or a car accident, the jolt can cause whiplash or the dislocation of vertebrae, and the pain can present itself in other areas.
- Poor posture: The longer you continue to hold poor posture, the higher your chances are to do irreversible damage to your spine. Practicing good posture and posture exercises while receiving treatments from a corrective care chiropractor helps realign your spine, maintain its natural curvature, and increase longevity.
Misaligned Spine Symptoms
As with any ailment or condition, it’s important to pay attention to your symptoms. If you are experiencing any of the below, be sure to get checked out:
- Sore/stiff neck or back.
- Low energy, tiredness, or fatigue.
- Muscle spasms in the back.
- Joint pain.
- Numbness, tingling, or shooting pain in extremities.
- Pain when walking/exercising.
- Uneven wear on your shoes.
- Poor posture.
Adjustments from a general chiropractor can help minimize your symptoms and improve your range of motion. In addition, you may be advised of certain exercises and stretches you can do to strengthen your core between your visits.
Chiropractic Treatments for a Misaligned Spine
There are a variety of chiropractic techniques that can alleviate misaligned spine symptoms; however, many don’t address the actual misalignment. Be sure to ask your chiropractor questions about which one would be most beneficial to you. Below are some of the techniques a general chiropractor may offer:
- Myofascial Release: A manual therapy technique that focuses on pain in the myofascial tissues, the tough membranes that wrap, connect, and support your muscles.
- Cox ® Technique: A non-surgical, hands-on process to administer flexion-distraction and decompression adjustments with the patient lying on a special table.
- Gonstead Method: The Gonstead method is a classic chiropractic technique and a hands-on approach in which a chiropractor manually adjusts segmental subluxations.
- Atlas Orthogonal: A gentle upper cervical manipulation that uses an advanced scientific instrument to adjust the top bone of the neck without popping and cracking the neck.
- Toggle Recoil: A traditional chiropractic technique that addresses upper cervical problems for individuals. This type of adjustment helps remove subluxations in the upper neck.
- National Upper Cervical Chiropractic Association (NUCCA) Adjustment: A safe and painless technique that provides a precise, low-force upper cervical adjustment.
- Activator: A type of manual manipulation treatment using the Activator adjusting instrument to treat various types of back and neck pain.
- Thompson (Drop Table): Involves the use of a drop table, which allows chiropractors to apply pressure to affected areas and help restore movement in stiff or fixated joints.
- Impulse Adjusting: A new, non-invasive technique that provides controlled treatments to specific problem areas. It is a high-tech treatment, which does help those experiencing pain and discomfort in the back and neck.
While getting rid of your pain and discomfort may be your top priority, many chiropractic treatments help ease the pain temporarily but do not resolve the root cause. If left untreated, your misaligned spine symptoms can lead to irreversible poor posture, decreased mobility, Adult Spinal Deformities (ASD) like scoliosis and hyperkyphosis, reduced lung capacity leading to respiratory problems, chronic pain, and a reduced quality of life.
If you are experiencing misaligned spine symptoms, a corrective care chiropractor specializing in Chiropractic BioPhysics® will work with you to get your spine back to its natural curvature and help you see long-term improvement of pain symptoms and increased quality of life.
Addressing Misaligned Spine Symptoms With Chiropractic BioPhysics® Treatment
At PostureWorks, we use evidence-based Chiropractic BioPhysics® techniques and go beyond the capabilities of a chiropractic adjustment to restore your alignment to its natural state. Our spinal and postural care plans are completely individual and are based on a personal analysis that includes biometric readings. With a combination of postural exercises, neuro-muscular reeducation, and spinal alignment traction, we will help you safely see long-term improvements in your spinal health.
Chiropractic BioPhysics®, or CBP, is a deeply researched and results-oriented corrective care technique. CBP-trained chiropractors aim to realign the spine back to health and optimal function while eliminating the source of pain and circulatory and nervous dysfunction. As with all chiropractic care, CBP is conservative, painless, and non-invasive. Contact us today to schedule your appointment or to learn more about misaligned spine symptoms.