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Foods that Help Back Pain

Last Updated: January 27th, 2023 at 08:59 pm
Read Time: 9 Minutes

While your first thought to ease back pain might be to resort to pain medications and other over-the-counter solutions, back pain relief might be easier to find than you think. At ChiroCare of Florida, our doctors are always talking about the close relationship between our diets and our health, and that includes our spine’s health. As it turns out, certain foods can help ease back pain.

As you start working on your health by adding chiropractic visits to your calendar, consider incorporating these healthy foods into your diet to help with back pain relief as well.

How Diet Affects Back Pain

The research is not all in, but there’s significant evidence that points to the anti-inflammatory properties of certain foods and their link to reducing back pain. As we know, following a healthy diet is closely related to healthy bones and organs, and ultimately a healthy body. If you’ve been experiencing back pain, add healthy foods into your diet such as berries, sardines, spinach, tomatoes, broccoli, and the list can go on and on. This will squash inflammation and can help you find back pain relief.


Ginger has a historical presence in natural medicine. It can relieve inflammation-based back pain due to the root’s chemical properties. You can also take ginger for back pain from joint stiffness and arthritis.

Double-blind studies have shown that 250 milligrams of ginger is just as effective as anti-inflammatory drugs and ibuprofen for relieving pain. Shogaols in ginger have the most potent anti-inflammatory properties, but gingerol also has a powerful anti-inflammatory effect.

In addition to being one of the top anti-inflammatory foods, ginger is also an antioxidant, antinausea, and anticancer agent. Studies have also linked ginger with improving brain function since it decreases chronic inflammation, which accelerates age-related degeneration.


Curcumin and other natural chemicals in turmeric decrease inflammation and the pain associated. Evidence suggests that it is more powerful than ginger at combating back pain, degenerative disc disease pain, sciatica, and other inflammatory musculoskeletal-based health concerns.

Studies showed that root spice reduces incidents of inflammatory flare-ups when ingested regularly. It does this by inhibiting proinflammatories like chemokines cyclooxygenase and lipoxygenase.

While research continues to demonstrate the benefits of turmeric, it also slows blood clotting. You will need to be careful about incorporating spice into your diet if you take anticoagulant medication, such as ibuprofen.


Nuts high in alpha-linoleic acid (ALA), magnesium, and vitamin E help keep inflammation under control. One serving of nuts a day can increase anti-inflammatory proteins while lowering inflammation-causing molecules.

Walnuts are high in ALA and lower C-reactive protein, which is a marker of inflammation. Flaxseed is another source high in ALA that also lowers bad cholesterol and the risk of heart disease and diabetes. Chia seeds are also great for ALA and high fiber.

Peanuts are technically a legume, but out of all the anti-inflammatory foods, they are the most inexpensive and easily enjoyed. Nuts also help keep you full, which can help you lose weight.


In addition to anti-inflammatory foods, there are anti-inflammatory drinks. The caffeine, polyphenols, and other anti-inflammatory components in coffee can help you reduce back pain and wake up in the morning.

Studies show that regular coffee drinkers have lower inflammatory markers than non-drinkers. Additionally, coffee drinkers who stopped having their morning beverage experienced a 6 percent increase in their inflammatory levels.

Coffee is rich in antioxidants and can lower your risk of other conditions like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and certain types of cancer. While research has not tested decaffeinated coffee, it is believed that it can have similar effects.

Red Grapes

Grapes also contain anthocyanins that reduce inflammation as well as the risk of heart disease, obesity, eye disorders, and diabetes. A study of participants with heart disease experienced a decrease of inflammatory markers, such as NF-kB, from consuming grape extract daily.

Grapes are one of the best anti-inflammatory foods because of the antioxidants. Antioxidants reduce cellular damage by protecting cell membranes. Eating a cup or two of grapes daily can limit the chemicals that cause inflammation in your body.

You can also drink grapes in the form of wine to reap the benefits. Although you should drink in moderation, the fermentation process does not negate the resveratrol and other anti-inflammatory chemicals of grapes.

Olive Oil

Antioxidants in extra-virgin olive oil reduce inflammation. Both ibuprofen and olive oil lower inflammation levels using the same molecules and inhibit cyclooxygenase enzymes. About three to four tablespoons a day equals the recommended ibuprofen dosage, 200 milligrams, which doctors prescribe for people with back pain.

The compound in olive oil, oleocanthal, prevents the production of COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes, which are pro-inflammatory. However, olive oil has a lot of calories and can contribute to weight gain.

You can cook anti-inflammatory foods with olive oil to magnify the effects. However, be aware that you will ruin the beneficial properties when you heat the oil over 410 degrees. Keep cooking temperatures at 340 degrees or less. You can also add olive oil to your salad, pasta, and as dip for bread.


Time and time again, several studies have shown the benefits of thyme. It suppresses inflammation by reducing COX-2. The main component that does this is carvacrol.

Thyme is one of six ingredients studies have identified to reduce COX-2. The other widely available anti-inflammatory foods include clove, rose, eucalyptus, fennel, and bergamot. But thyme is the most effective by actively reducing inflammatory levels by 75 percent.


Edamame is a fancy name for green soybeans. They reduce the inflammation marker C-reactive protein due to the anti-inflammatory phytonutrient, soy. Soy caused a significant drop in inflammatory markers in one study by the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

In addition to fighting inflammation, edamame can help prevent bone loss, which can cause back pain when it affects your spine.

Half a cup a day can boost your fiber, protein, and vitamin content. You can also get the benefits of soy from other products, such as soy milk. A study showed that drinking 36 ounces of soy milk daily for four months proved to have an anti-inflammatory effect.


Your body needs omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids to function, and omega-3 fatty acids in fish specifically fight inflammation. Unfortunately, our bodies do not produce these naturally, and we can only get them from our diet.

Salmon contains two types of omega-3 fatty acids, DHA and EPA. Both lower inflammation and ease pain in joints. Having two servings a week of salmon or other fatty fish high in omega-3 can help reduce inflammation.


Cherries help prevent cell damage and suppress inflammatory proteins. The antioxidants in cherry juice also reduce back pain and other pain from osteoarthritis. A 12-person study showed that people with osteoarthritis had less inflammation after drinking cherry juice twice a day for 21 days.

Of all anti-inflammatory foods, cherries have the highest anti-inflammatory content.

You can consume cherries as is, as a juice, or dried and still reap the benefits of the fruit. When selecting juice, make sure it is 100 percent cherry juice and not a cocktail juice full of sugar.

Vitamins Good for Inflammation

Untreated inflammation can lead to bigger issues. Many vitamins also have anti-inflammatory properties. Consider eating more foods that contain the following vitamins:

  • Vitamin A
  • B Vitamins
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin K

Foods to Avoid that Cause Inflammation and Bloating

As some foods help ease back pain, other foods can exacerbate your back pain symptoms. As you want to eat more anti-inflammatory foods, you want to stay away from foods that cause bloating, inflammation, and thus pain.

To avoid aggravating your back pain symptoms, avoid these foods:

  • Vegetable oils – sunflower, mixed vegetable oils, and corn
  • Vegetable and margarine shortening
  • All processed foods
  • High-fructose corn syrup
  • Foods high in saturated fats
  • Full-fat dairy products
  • Foods with trans-fats

Where to Eat Foods that Help Back Pain? (by City)

While you want to make sure anti-inflammatory foods are part of your daily diet, you might also want to spend a little less time in the kitchen and more time out and about. In this case, you want to make sure you visit restaurants and food chains that offer food options to ease back pain. We know these might not be marketed as such, but spotting healthy restaurants near you can help you adhere to your anti-inflammatory diet even when you’re eating out.

In Aventura

The Aventura lifestyle is active, healthy, and fast-paced. Looking for healthy restaurants in the Aventura area is not difficult - a quick stroll by Biscayne Boulevard and you’ll spot plenty of healthy restaurants to stop by and indulge in an anti-inflammatory meal.

Here are some spots to eat foods that help back pain in Aventura:

  • Raw Republic – for a quick smoothie whenever you’re on the go.
  • Juice and Java – from organic pasta options to specialty juices and more.
  • Miami Squeeze – for a quick bite with tons of nutrients.

In Fort Lauderdale

Being beachside, the Fort Lauderdale area has plenty of fresh and healthy options to choose from. If you visit any of these spots, browse through the menu to find dishes with the anti-inflammatory foods we mentioned earlier.

These are some of the top healthy foods spots in Fort Lauderdale:

  • Fresh First – organic and gluten-free options for those looking for a small plate packed with nutrients.
  • Green Bar & Kitchen – sustainable health-focused meal for those looking for delicious comfort foods.
  • Myapapaya Juicery + Kitchen – stop by for a refreshing house-pressed juice and don’t forget to add those anti-inflammatory extras.

In Plantation

With its active lifestyle and plenty of parks for outdoor activities, Plantation is a mecca for healthy food spots. From breakfast to dinner and everything in between, there’s a healthy restaurant near you to enjoy foods that help back pain.

Explore some of the healthy food restaurants in Plantation:

  • Greenwave Café – not only can you find fresh produce here, but you can also learn how to cook it or enjoy a quick bite of their healthy raw food.
  • Fitlife Foods Plantation – meal prep done for you, Fitlife can help you make sure you incorporate foods that fight back pain into your diet.
  • Aroa Craft Yogurt & Café – enjoy comfort food with a healthy side.

In Pompano Beach

Being so close to other major cities, Pompano Beach's healthy food options are endless. From juice bars to healthy spots for lunch, and other fit-friendly options available for you, there’s no excuse to spurn a healthy diet in Pompano Beach.

Visit some of the top healthy restaurants in Pompano Beach:

  • Juice 2U – grab a juice to go with all the nutrients you’ll need for the day.
  • Nikki’s Orange Kitchen – a block away from the beach, this healthy restaurant is the perfect weekend spot.
  • Shishka Grill – Lebanese food not only packs tons of nutrients, but its delicious dishes also make it perfect to incorporate healthy ingredients into your diet.

Now that you know the type of foods that can help ease back pain, you can start incorporating these into your diet. At ChiroCare of Florida, we believe in a comprehensive approach to wellness, which is why our chiropractors can provide nutritional advice to help with your back pain. Contact ChiroCare of Florida today to schedule your full-body chiropractic adjustment.

About the Author:
Dr. Michael Levine
Dr. Michael Levine has been helping patients live pain free for over 20 years. His family-oriented practice focuses on getting every member of your family well. He is passionate about helping his patients maintain a state of wellness. Dr. Levine also educates families on what it takes to be healthier, and provides workshops in and out of the office to keep you up to date on the latest medical news.
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