5 Foods that Can Make Your Back Pain Worse

Back pain is one of the most medical problems worldwide, affecting millions of people every year. Numerous factors, such as bad posture, muscle strains, and injuries, might contribute to it. Scoliosis or arthritis are some underlying medical conditions that can cause back pain. Regardless of the cause, back pain can be debilitating and make it difficult to perform everyday activities. Thus, what we eat affects how much pain we experience.

When you’re in pain, the last thing you want to do is eat something that will make it worse. But with so many different options, it can be hard to know what’s safe to eat and what’s not. That’s why we’ve put together a list of foods to avoid when you have back pain. So if you’re looking for ways to minimize back pain, pay attention to your diet and avoid these kinds of food.

Processed Foods

Processed foods are loaded with sodium and other preservatives, which can lead to water retention and bloating. In addition, processed meats are also high in saturated fat and often full of chemicals that can lead to weight gain and contribute to inflammation.

And while inflammation is a natural part of the healing process, chronic inflammation can worsen back pain. And when your body carries extra weight, it puts more strain on your back and increases the likelihood of pain. If you eat processed foods, it is important to balance them out with plenty of fruits and vegetables. Stick to lean protein sources like grilled chicken and salmon instead.

Avoid processed food when you are dealing with back pain.

Refined Grains

Bread, pasta, cereal… if it’s made with white flour, it probably isn’t doing your back (or overall health) any favors. In addition, flour is lacking in nutrients and fiber that are essential for a healthy body – and a healthy back.

When you eat foods made with white flour, your blood sugar levels spike and crash soon after, leaving you tired and cranky. This roller coaster ride puts unnecessary stress on; your adrenal glands. That’s because refined grains are high on the glycemic index – a measure of how quickly blood sugar levels rise after eating food – which can cause inflammation throughout the body, including the back.

To keep inflammation at bay and reduce your risk for back pain, make sure most of the grains you eat are whole grains like oats, quinoa, and barley.

Avoid refined grains when dealing with back pain


We all know that too much sugar isn’t good for our health. When we eat sugary foods, our bodies release insulin to process the sugar. This can lead to inflammation throughout our bodies, aggravating back pain. In addition, sugar can lead to weight gain and subsequent back problems by throwing off your hormones and increasing your appetite for calorie-dense foods. If you’re dealing with back pain, cut out sugary drinks like soda and fruit juice.

Like alcohol, sugary drinks can lead to dehydration, which isn’t suitable for anyone, especially people with chronic back pain. In fact, slight dehydration can trigger or worsen muscle spasms, a common symptom of back pain. So instead of reaching for that soda or fruit juices, quench your thirst with good old-fashioned H2O instead; Your spine will be happy you did! So if you’re looking for ways to reduce your back pain, cutting back on sugar is an excellent place to start.


While a glass of wine may help you relax after a long day, too much alcohol can actually make back pain worse. That’s because alcohol is a diuretic, which means it dehydrates your body and prevents it from properly flushing out toxins. Alcohol also prevents your body from absorbing important vitamins and minerals – like magnesium – that help reduce inflammation (one of the leading causes of back pain). So, if you want to avoid making your back pain worse, stick to one drink per day or less.


Like alcohol, caffeine is also a diuretic and can therefore lead to dehydration – one of the main causes of muscle sorenes, which often manifests as back pain. Caffeine is also acidic and can irritate the lining of your stomach, which can cause gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). GERD occurs when stomach acid flows backward into the esophagus; the acidic fluid can irritate nerves in the lower spine and contribute to back pain symptoms. So try to limit your intake of caffeinated beverages like coffee, tea, and soda (herbal teas are fine).

Avoid caffeine when dealing with back pain

If you’re dealing with back pain, take a look at your diet – you might be surprised how much what you eat contributes to your discomfort! By avoiding processed foods, refined grains, sugar, alcohol and caffeine, you can help reduce inflammation in your body and lessen the amount of strain on your spine and muscles. Cutting them out of your diet altogether may not realistic or necessary – but limiting them will help reduce symptoms associated with back pain.

As always, be sure to consult with your doctor before making any dietary changes. Stick to fresh, whole foods as much as possible, and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. With time and self-care, back pain will get better, and knowing the right foods to eat will help.

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