Damage to spinal discs, pressure on nerves, misalignment or inflammation of joints, damaged ligaments, or diseased vertebrae can all lead to backache. Other common causes include pregnancy, a bad sitting posture, a bed which does not support your body correctly, a job which involves lifting heavy objects, or suddenly taking up a new sporting activity. A good chiropractor or osteopath should be able to cure most forms of backache, but in the long term a healthy diet may prevent it occurring in the first place.
There are no nutritional ‘cure’ for backache, though the increased strain thatobesity puts on the spine may contribute to the problem and a sensible programme of diet and exercise to lose weight may help to ease the pain.
- By ensuring that your diet contains all the nutrients needed for healthybones and muscles you can also reduce the risks of developing back problems. Protein helps to build up the strong muscle tissue that your back needs, while B vitamins, particularly niacin, strengthen and nourish nerve tissues.
- Liver and oily fish, such as sardines, mackerel and salmon, are good sources of niacin an vitamin D, which aids the body’s absorption of calcium and is important in developing and maintaining healthy bones and nerves. A twice weekly 100g (3½ oz) helping of any oily fish will provide you with the equivalent of the recommended weekly intake of both these vitamins, while the fatty acids that the fish contain can help to suppress inflammation, and so reduce pains in the joints.
- Vitamin K helps to keep the bones strong and healthy and is required for proper utilization of calcium. The best food sources of it include green leafy vegetables such as kale, parsley, spinach and broccoli. Smaller amounts are found in milk and other dairy products, meat, eggs, cereal,fruits and other vegetables.
- Cabbage, guavas, papaya and kiwi fruit are all excellent sources of vitamin C, needed for the development and maintenance of strong bones and a healthy nervous system. the daily recommended intake of vitamin C for an adult is 40mg– this is about as much as you would get from eating two portions of cabbage, a mango, a small papaya or half a guava. However, smokers need twice this amount.
- Vitamin A is an essential component of bone formation. It aids in effective utilization of proteins in the body and is therefore vital for tissue repair and tissue formation. Good food sources include Liver, fish oil, eggs, milk fortified with vitamin A; red, yellow and orange fruits and vegetables, many dark-green, leafy vegetables.
- Joints need to keep moving to stay healthy. So whether you want to relieve back pain now or help to prevent it in the future, one of the best things you can do is to keep active.
Foods to avoid
- Avoid foods that have been fried, are spicy and fatty.
- Sugar condiments, curd sweetmeats, coffee, and tea are to be avoided as well. If you are suffering from backache it is wise to cut down on coffee and tea and any other drink containing caffeine as this relatively mild stimulant narrows the smallest blood vessels at the tip of the arteries. This reduce the flow of blood and nutrients carried in the blood to the spinal tendons, which may slow the healing process.
- Processed foods that contain few nutrients should also be struck from the diet meant to cure or prevent backache.
Certain food remedies have been found beneficial in the treatment of backache.
- The most important of these is the use of garlic. Two or three capsules of this vegetable should be taken daily in the morning. It will give good results. Oil prepared from garlic and rubbed on the back will give great relief. This oil is prepared by frying 10 cloves of garlic in 60 grams of oil in a frying pan. They should be fried slowly till they are brown. After it is cooled, it should be applied vigorously on the back and allowed to remain there for three hours. The patient may thereafter have a warm water bath. This treatment should be continued for at least 15 days.
- Lemon is another useful remedy for backache. The juice of this fruit should be mixed with common salt and taken by the patient. It will give relief.
- The use of chebulic myroblan is also beneficial in the treatment of backache. A piece of this herb should be taken after meals. This will give quick relief.
Persistent backache is a common problem, especially with increasing age. But it is important to consult your doctor for a proper diagnosis, as the pain could be the symptom of a more serious disorder, such as osteoporosis or, in rare cases, cancer.