Uh-oh! There it goes again! Your nagging back pain is back. “What did I do this time?,” you ask yourself. Ice packs, heat, massage, nothing seems to get rid of it.
Guess what? Maybe it came from what you ate! In my years as a Corrective Exercise Specialist and Neuromuscular Therapist, I have found that poor eating habits can contribute heavily to the backaches and pains that many of my clients experience. Here are the top 5 errors.
1. Not eating for your individual metabolism. Just as you are a unique person in comparison to others, your body has a unique biochemistry and processes nutrients such as carbohydrates, proteins, and fats differently. Generally speaking, there are three major categories that people will fall into. They include: Protein Type, Carbo Type, or Mixed Type. If you are a Protein Type (your body performs best on a diet based primarily on proteins and fats), and you are currently eating like a Carbo Type (a diet focused on high carbohydrates and low fat), your body will be stressed due to hormonal imbalance. There are many symptoms you may experience from eating the wrong fuel mix, and back pain can be one of them. Eating the right fuel mix for your body will decrease gut stress, which has been shown to reflex pain to the lower back.
2. Eating foods that you are allergic or intolerant to. Exercise expert Paul Chek says “When pain impulses come from the small intestine, bowel or any organ of digestion, there may be some level of inhibition (weakness) and possibly pain in the corresponding region of the abdominal wall. It is important to remember food allergies and intolerance commonly causes inflammation of the gut.” The higher the level of inflammation you have the less likely that you have abdominal muscles that work. Since the abdominal muscles stabilize your lower back, it is very important to keep them working. There are two ways to take action against food allergies and intolerance. Blood tests can be helpful at detecting allergies. The second way is to follow a rotation diet. This means that you don’t eat foods from the same genetic family more than once every four days. For example, if you eat chicken on Monday, then you would not eat it again until Friday.
3. Not drinking enough water. The main function of water is to maintain a stable environment in cells throughout the body. It also aids in the removal of waste products in cells. Drinking enough water is important to hydrate the discs in your spine and keep them healthy. I recommend drinking half of your bodyweight in ounces of water each day.
4. Not enough omega-3 fats in your day. Your body needs omega-3 (linolenic acid) and omega-6 (linoleic acid), two essential fatty acids. They are called “essential” because your body cannot make them. They must be supplied by the foods you eat. Most people find it easier to get omega-6 than omega-3 in their diet. In fact, some people eat as much as 25 times more omega-6 than omega-3. But with that 25-to-1 ratio, you are just asking for pain. That is because omega-6 promotes inflammation and pain, while omega-3 does just the opposite. For people suffering from inflammation, the amount of essential fatty acids in the diet may not be as important as the ratio of the two. If you are fighting inflammation, a 2-to-1 to 4-to-1 ratio may best. The best source of omega-3 fatty acids are found in fish, however most fish today are highly toxic with chemicals and heavy metals such as mercury. I suggest using a high quality cod liver oil or fish oil supplement instead.
5. Eating processed foods. It is not uncommon to look at food labels today and not be able to pronounce even half of the ingredients! The majority of these words listed on the label are the various substances used to color, flavor, stabilize, bleach, texture, preserve, or sweeten the food. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) lists about 2,800 international food additives and 3,000 chemicals that are added to your food supply every year! Many of these food additives and chemicals are known to be mucous membrane irritants, central nervous system depressants, and cause major stress in your gut. This can all lead to inflammation in the body and make your back pain worse! Avoid packaged or processed foods. Spend your time shopping around the perimeter of your local store and pick fresh foods.
There you have it! If you avoid these 5 common nutritional mistakes you will find yourself with less back pain and you will feel significantly better. Less stress to your body in general will allow it to heal any areas that may be causing you pain. If you give your body the right environment to thrive in, it can and will heal itself!
Sam Visnic is a C.H.E.K. Practitioner, Nutrition Coach, and certified NLP Practitioner who specializes in providing safe and effective corrective exercise solutions for back pain sufferers. For his free special reports, articles, and newsletter, visit http://www.EndMyBackPain.com