Have you ever wondered if you could eat something to get rid of your lower back pain?
There’s no one nutrient that will do it, but a spectrum of foods and supplements have been studied in clinical research to improve back pain and other connective tissue issues.
In this blog, we cover the background of inflammation and back pain, and how to create optimal myofascial (fascia + muscles) health with movement and nutrition. We’ll look deeply at what the science says.
- Can your diet cause lower back pain?
- How can you fix chronic back pain naturally?
- What does the Core Boot do for lower back & spine health?
Does Diet and Lifestyle Cause Lower Back Pain?
The causes of lower back pain can be complex, and I’m sure there’s still more to be discovered. But, it doesn’t take a medical researcher to tell you what triggers your painful symptoms!
Chronic inflammation has a big impact on the health of your connective tissue fascia, and it only takes an additional trigger to painfully expose that inflammation in your back. Sometimes the issue doesn’t have to be where the pain is; focusing too much on the location of the pain can mask issues in the rest of your kinetic chain. Knowing what you’re doing that contributes to your pain helps you decide what you can address first. Here are some of them:
Daily Decisions and Lower Back Pain
Everything that affects the way you move and use your body plays a major role. We evolved to be relatively active, and now we live in a society that promotes ease and convenience ー you can see the biological mismatch.
- Sedentary time and too much sitting
- Poor walking/running form (over striding, improper foot placement), improper posture
- Footwear - stiff soles or high heels
- Increased physical stress - working out or working on your feet mean that you have to pay attention to your daily recovery routine to overcome the constant strain and overload
- Dehydration - your connective tissues hold on to water for lubrication and shock absorbance, but water is not good enough if you don’t focus on different loading patterns during your physical training, it is high possibility your connective tissues are not hydrated
- Smoking - restricts blood flow and nutrient delivery to your tissues, besides all the other issues you already know about
- Carrying around extra weight compounds the pressure you place on your connective tissues, and joints that’s one reason why obesity is linked with lower back pain.
- Unregulated blood sugar, seen with diabetes and pre-diabetes can create nasty advanced glycation end products (AGEs). These permanently stiffen blood vessels and the link connective tissues that are supposed to glide smoothly against each other. Check out my article “Joint Pain And Sweet Tooth: What Can You Do About The Undeniable Link” for more.
What Does Your Superficial Back Line (SBL) Have To Do With Back Pain?
Did you know that your posture, and your gait, are affected by the muscles and fascia (myofascia) across your entire back - the superficial back line (SBL).
This line of muscles and connective tissues links your entire posterior chain, from the bottom of your feet along the back of your legs, through your back extensors up to your eyebrow line. Due to the intrinsic connectedness of your muscles and fascia, a change in one segment of your body can affect other, far-reaching sections of your body.
Correct, any extra tension anywhere on the back of your body, including the sole of your feet, can affect your back strength, mobility and overall health.
And with your fascia being such a sponge for hormonal and sensory signals, when you place excess stress on one part of the system, other parts are going to engage in order to compensate.
Fascia is a thin, web-like, collagenous connective tissue that connects, encloses, and provides communication for different layers of connective tissue. Fascia along the spine and the superficial back line is essential to every step you take and every movement you perform.
Therefore, emotional tension can equally be damaging your back, as fascia is the sensory-rich tissue. Your emotions are literally stored in it. When there is a tension created from a toxic relationship, or when you are in that “fight-flight-freeze” state, it’s a state of reactivity, as opposed to relaxation, which deregulates your vagus nerve and disturbs the function of your visceral organs and entire fascial system.
Tightness like that caused by excited stress hormones can result in a tightened jaw, chest and even pelvic floor. Those muscles, and organs in the pelvic floor and abdominal wall are some of the most emotional ones in the body, and right behind them is your back.
Your gait (how you hold yourself as you walk) speaks volumes of your neuromuscular integration; jerky, off-balance, asymmetrical movement tells me that your brain isn’t effectively communicating through your fascia.
The more efficient your body is from the ground up, the better you are going to feel, move, and perform and use your talents to produce outstanding results. Without a stable foundation, everything you do will face setbacks.
Starting with your mouth and ending with your feet, let’s focus on your base to unleash dimensions of efficiency you didn’t know you had. Take the time to tune into your body from the ground up.
Nutrition, Diet, and Myofascial Inflammation
What Are The Two Types Of Inflammation?
Inflammation is a primary driver of almost all chronic diseases [check out this research review with 17 authors on it]. At the core of most disease is an inflammatory trigger that doesn’t resolve. Inflammation puts your immune system into a hyperactive state, lowers your tolerance to stress, and if that inflammation keeps going for a long period of time, your own tissues get caught in the crossfire of those overactive immune cells.
Inflammation can be chronic or acute, and the distinction makes all the difference. When you tear a muscle the acute inflammation - involving swelling, tenderness, pain, and discomfort - is essential to the healing process. Think about it, if your broken toe didn’t hurt, then you’d never give it a chance to heal!
Chronic inflammation is another story. Chronic inflammation is the result of that positive, adaptive inflammation left to run for too long. It’s meant to protect you in the short term, but those systems aren’t supposed to be active all the time.
With so many inflammatory triggers in modern society - pollution, pesticides, and our modern diet and lifestyle to name a few - it’s clear that the responsibility is on ourselves to take action!
Inflammation And Connective Tissues (Fascia, Joints, and Spine)
Have you ever noticed how much more you are prone to physical injury when recovering from an infection? Or vice versa, how repeatedly taxing your body’s physical capacity puts you at risk for infection and injury?
Clearly, inflammation is all around us, and it can have a direct impact on your connective tissues.
Connective tissues like bones, joints, and others rapidly respond to the nutrients in your blood. They absorb pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory nutrients equally. For fascia ー one of the most sensory-rich tissues ー this is especially important because of its role in translating chemical messages into physical results.
Seeing how your fascia responds to nutrition and seeing how your diet affects your inflammation status, it’s not hard to put it together. We’ve done the heavy lifting for you though, keep reading to learn all the nutrition research we’ve dug up to answer the questions: “can you heal lower back pain with diet, nutrition, and supplements?”
Besides these educational resources available throughout my website, I want to help support your connective tissue health with the right supplements too. “Right” means standardized, quality certified, clinically studied, and effective bottles of nutrients you need. Resync Collagen, Resync Recovery, and Resync Ready To Drink are like no other supplements on the market.
We combine the most recent and relevant science behind plant based nitrates for their oxygenating and nutrient-delivering effects (among others, read more here and here) with the building blocks your body needs to support optimal collagen health and the bioactive polyphenol antioxidants to manage the inflammation that’s holding you back.
Close the gap between tired and ready to go with an effective line of products designed to help you get what you want out of life!
Anti-inflammatory Diet & Lower Back Pain (Connective Tissue Inflammation)
Alongside other treatments, the best way to target inflammation is keeping the scope focused on your diet. One study showed that reducing inflammatory markers, IL-6 and CRP reduced lower back pain. How about supplementing with zinc instead? What about designing a diet that provides the right nutrients? Here’s how!
What Foods Are Bad For Inflammation?
Here’s a quick list of foods that make inflammation worse:
- Sugar and processed foods - “white carbs”, refined grains, fast food, junk food; no matter which way you phrase it, sugar, sugar plus saturated fat, and ultra processed foods drive bad health (eg. obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, etc.). Check out our article 51 Ways to Sugar- Proof Your Health & Home or our list of common processed foods at Cooking Healthy On a Budget to get started!
- Food sensitivities and intolerances - allergic, immune, and other reactions to food are a lurking issue that most people are not aware of. Ten to forty percent (!) of people have some sort of functional digestive issue, so whether your triggers are certain types of carbs (fructose, lactose), proteins (casein, whey, or gluten), or antinutrients (phytates, lectins), testing out how you feel after temporarily eliminating a potential trigger food is an effective way to get at the root of chronic inflammation. One case study involving patients with non-celiac gluten sensitivity showed that removing gluten from their diets was associated with resolving symptoms.
- Nightshades - it is possible that members of the solanine family (tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, potatoes and others) can aggravate inflammatory symptoms, especially when it comes to connective tissue, but they are probably only a rare culprit. Cutting out vegetables from your diet can put you at risk for other problems like nutrient deficiencies, so an elimination diet should be saved for when other methods aren’t working.
All these foods can aggravate other inflammatory connective tissue issues like arthritis, heel spurs, painful arches, and plantar fasciitis. Remember to talk with a supportive healthcare provider before making drastic changes to your diet and lifestyle!
What Foods Are Good For Fighting Inflammation?
This is it, the ultimate list on how you need to eat to address lower back pain! Addressing inflammation is at the core of this strategy, but don’t be surprised if you lose fat, gain muscle, feel better, and perform better than ever before!
Don’t forget the gut-brain axis!
A lot of time stagnant energy from negative emotions is stuck in the belly and organs. You see it with the correlation with anxiety and depression and bowel diseases like IBD and IBS. Lacking the ability to connect to your deep core hurts you twice: first in your impaired physical awareness, and then again when those negative effects trickle over into other parts of your body like your digestive system and connective tissues.
Mitochondria Support for Low Back Pain
Mitochondria function is a key player in keeping inflammation at bay, especially in your connective tissues, and your spine, according to researchers. Here are a couple of the top ingredients that have been researched to support your mitochondrial function (each is in our Resync Recovery Blend):
- Natural, plant-based nitrates to support Nitric Oxide levels
- Anthocyanins and Polyphenols
- And many more!
If you want the complete list of science-based supplements for mitochondria, check it out on our blog here:
Glutathione Support for Chronic Pain
Glutathione is called your master antioxidant for a reason. Thousands of times more powerful than the frontline fighter vitamin C, glutathione is the warship in the fight against inflammation. We’ve dug into the science of boosting glutathione in the past, here are a couple of the most important things to keep in mind:
- Mind-body-mindfulness practices like prayer, meditation, and yoga
- Foods with natural glutathione
- Green leafy vegetables in the cabbage family, as well as garlic and onions
- Supplements like vitamin C, glycine, N-acetyl Cysteine (NAC), Methyl-sulfonyl Methane (MSM), niacin, selenium (in brazil nuts!), and curcumin
Learn (a lot!) more here:
Collagen For Lower Back Pain
Collagen is the most common protein in your body, it makes up the majority of the bones, tendons, ligaments, fascia, and other connective tissues that keep your spine in good health.
Your body can make its own collagen, but that capacity goes down with age, it can be impaired by extreme physical activity, it’s accelerated by inflammation, and collagen degradation is a common feature of some types of back pain. Collagen may provide the fundamental building blocks for repairing damaged tissues.
If that doesn’t compel you, then there’s the fact that collagen has been shown in study after study to help with other connective tissue diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, overuse injuries, skin conditions and many other conditions involving connective tissue. Some studies have even suggested that collagen can help with lower back pain!
Here are some of our readers’ favorite articles on the topic:
- Want to Manage Pain? Improve Mobility? Support Your Collagen!
- How to choose the best collagen supplement
- Buyers guide to the best collagen supplements on the market
- Is Marine Collagen Good for You?
- Get The Best Collagen for Your Skin, Nails, and Joints!
A related supporting ingredient is hyaluronic acid, which has also been shown to relieve pain in inflammatory connective tissue conditions. Check out Resync Premium Collagen for a unique blend of bioactives for complete connective tissue support!
Nitric Oxide For Lower Back Pain
Nitric oxide opens up your blood vessels in a process called “vasodilation”. Opening up blood vessels allows more blood flow, which translates into better oxygen and nutrient delivery. This is crucial for the tissues around your spine.
Your body makes nitric oxide, but levels go down with age and any condition that affects the heart. Supplemental forms from arginine don’t work very well, but supplementing with natural nitrates successfully boosts your nitric oxide levels. Nitric oxide also supports immune function, mitochondrial function, endurance muscle function, can promote exercise tolerance, and lowers blood pressure in some people.
The plant-based nitrates in Resync Premium Collagen, Resync RTD, and Resync Recovery come from red spinach extract, beetroot powder, and aronia berry extract. These are some of the most concentrated sources of safe natural nitrates out there, and we get our ingredients from none but the very best suppliers in the world. Our products are certified for quality and consistency by the leading third-party testing companies in the industry, NSF Certified for Sport and BSCG. In short, we see other supplement companies that you should be wary of, so we strive to compete in a class of our own.
A related nutrient, also included in our Resync Recovery Blend, is mango fruit, which can improve microcirculation in those places that hardly see any blood flow at all, which if you ask me, is where you need it most!
Boswellia Serrata, Turmeric, and Ginger & Lower Back Pain
Turmeric is one of the most studied plant-based anti-inflammatories for connective tissue conditions. Research shows that 1000 mg/day of the active ingredient in turmeric, curcumin, can reduce pain by about 20% in people with arthritis.
When it comes to ginger, 2000mg/day has been studied for physical and psychosomatic pain. It may also enhance turmeric bioavailability as well as blood flow. The research shows that these two may go a long way in reducing your low back pain!
Boswellia is not nearly as well studied as these other two, but there are still some promising effects on connective tissue. Boswellia may inhibit the inflammatory mediators, 5-LOX, TNF-a, IL-1, MAP kinase/NFkB, and MMP3 - each is associated with pain and/or inflammation.
We're not just talking about a slight reduction, though. Think: significant reduction in joint inflammation and major gains in pain-free movement.
The boswellia extract in Resync was shown to reduce 62% of osteoarthritic pain in a clinical study, twice as much as the leading competitor! 100 mg of AprèsFlex per day significantly improved joint function within 5 days, faster than any other supplement out there!
Antioxidant Inflammatory System Support
Your inflammatory system includes antioxidants and anti-inflammatories that are deployed in a tiered assault on external triggers. From frontline antioxidants like vitamins A, C, and E and omega-3 fatty acids in fish and seeds, to anti-inflammatory proteins like glutathione, catalase, and superoxide dismutase, to second-order nutrients that help those seek and destroy proteins work, like selenium, sulfur compounds, and fiber (to help your immune system).
We did a multi-part series on what goes into a healthy anti-inflammatory system here:
But if you want every single detail in an easy-to-apply form, check out my new ebook!
Natural antioxidant polyphenols from plants should be added to any list of best antioxidants for lower back pain. These are a class of antioxidants that can have unique effects on your nervous, immune, inflammatory, and musculoskeletal systems, and we cover the range of effects they can have in my ebook, “Resync Every Layer of Your Body”.
Aronia berry (“Chokeberry”) Polyphenols & Lower Back Pain
Aronia is a marked source of blood-boosting nitrates as well as a rich source of polyphenols, especially anthocyanins. Research studies show Aronia polyphenols may help in the way that they may:
- Reduce exercise-induced delayed onset muscle pain
- Aid nitric oxide synthesis and potentially lower blood pressure, support smooth muscle (like your gut), and increase energy and performance in endurance activities
- Help regulate the neuroinflammatory processes associated with exercise and promising effects on inflammation in athletes
- Regulate the gut microbiome in a positive way - remember the link between the microbiome and immune system function
Elderberry & Lower Back Pain
There’s no direct research on elderberry for lower back pain, but it has been used in traditional medicine for musculoskeletal pain. Some connective tissue and inflammation benefits seen in research include:
- Minimizing soreness and pain after exercise, due to their polyphenol content
- Possibly lowering blood pressure and improving heart health (circulation in your tissues is essential for the healing process)
- Increasing white blood cells and promoting immune function (remember that excessive physical strain can impair your immune system!)
We combine the science behind plant-based nitrates for their oxygenating and nutrient-delivering effects (among others, read more here and here) with the building blocks your body needs to support optimal collagen health and the bioactive polyphenol antioxidants to manage the inflammation that’s holding you back.
Close the gap between tired and ready to go with an effective line of ingredients designed to help you get what you want out of life!
Can Fitness Tools Like Core Boot Help Your Back?
In the U.S. alone, costs of back pain cost more than 50 billion dollars annually, according to World Spine Day!
For some, it’s easier to just say “I don’t know” and offer a quick fix like a tylenol or a cortisone shot or simply would say, “ stop exercising for a while and it will go away.”
After seeing the ignorance to the issue, lack of awareness, and lack of coordinated, full-body strength in so many people, I set out to develop a fitness and rehab tool that can help people tackle their physical balance, strength and flexibility from the ground up: the Core Boot.
I already shared with you, how important the health of your connective tissue on the bottom of your feet is to keep your back healthy. The feet are actually the first step to a healthy spine. And their form will impact the rest of your body.
Healthy Feet = Healthy Back
Core Boot and Myofascial Release First Before Strength.
I am redefining what mobility, stability, and strength training look like with the Core Boot ー essentially two myofascial release balls in the place of the sole of a shoe which can impact your ankle mobility, lower leg strength and therefore lower back health.
Synergizing the functions of your muscles and your fascia at your feet, helps to generate strength throughout your entire body. Doing this while improving ankle mobility and stability, or when balancing on two myofascial release balls means that you’re developing a multidimensional strength from the ground up.
Core Boot was created to support your dynamic stability, adaptable strength, functional length, and improve postural alignment to help you create a structurally balanced spine and rest of your body.
Here are just a few of the reasons why I created this fitness and rehab tool:
- Enhance proprioception (aka. kinesthetic awareness) to bring more awareness to preventing injuries (ankle sprains, lower back pain, heel pain/achilles tendon issues, shin splints, etc.)
- Enhance fascia health to keep the body flexible and strong.
- Restore tissue hydration to increase range of motion.
- Improve dorsiflexion to support hip extension amd gain strong glutes & stable body.
- Increase mobility & stability of the ankle, lower leg, hip, pelvis and spine.
- Enhance plantar flexion & deep core strength.
- Reinforce posture alignment and improve balance to correct your gait, walking and running.
- Support circulation & energy starting with your foundation - feet.
- Gain multidimensional strength from the ground up.
When it comes to the superficial layers of your fascia and muscles, the Core Boot comes to rescue as a training tool to stabilize the body from the front and back.
I am very excited as it is available as of today February 1st 2021.
This is going to help you and others to move, train, and feel better every day. We all deserve less pain, more joy, and more energy in our life. And when we feel grounded and balanced, nothing can throw us off in life. The Core Boot can help you get that stability back.
The Mind-Body, Gut-Brain Connection and Chronic Low Back Pain
I hope this helps you take one more pain-free step forward at the start of every day!
The more efficient your body is, the better you feel, move, and perform and use your talents to produce outstanding results. Without a stable foundation, everything you do will face setbacks.
Now it’s time to recover your health, rebuild your resilience, and Resync your body for 2021!
I want to hear from you!
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Wishing you the best in your health,
The Resync Team
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Written by Barbara Depta and registered dietitian Detrick Snyder, MPH, RDN. Updated on 2/01/2020.
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