How Sugar Can Affect Your Spine Health
Category: Spine | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: January 20, 2020
Eating a healthy diet is important for your total body wellness, but sometimes it’s really hard to stay on track when there are donuts in the breakroom or a pint of ice cream in the freezer at home. These goodies are packed with sugar, and while they taste great, they can also cause or exacerbate spine pain. Below, we take a closer look at the impact sugar can have on your body and how to prevent it from causing spine problems.
Sugar And Back Pain
It seems like sugar is in almost everything we eat, as it’s packed into cereals, breads, processed foods, juices, sauces and dairy products. In fact, the average person consumes roughly 66 pounds of added sugar every year, more than three times the recommended amount! Because of all this excess sugar that can work its way into our diets if we’re not careful, sugar can actually be a contributing factor to your spine pain.
The sugar itself isn’t a direct cause of pain, but it’s what it can do to our bodies that oftentimes leads to back pain and discomfort. If we eat too much sugar or junk food, our bodies release insulin and hormones that in turn trigger the body’s natural inflammation process. This localized inflammation can lead to the compression of key nerves or soft tissues in the spine, triggering pain sensations. Excess sugar can also increase your risk of diabetes, which can also mess with spinal nerves and cause pain.
A more common way for sugar to lead to an increase in spine pain is in the form of weight gain. Excess sugar and extra calories can contribute to weight gain, and as you begin to gain weight, it’s your spine that is tasked with helping to displace this added stress. Oftentimes this stress is felt in your spinal discs, which can wear down faster if they’re forced to handle more weight with each step you take. You might not feel it in your 30s or 40s, but this spinal disc degeneration will become more noticeable as you get older, and there’s no way to reverse this degeneration when it’s occurred. We can remove the damaged discs and insert artificial discs, but you can’t restore what’s lost, so it’s important to care for your spine now to prevent issues later on in life.
Preventing Sugar From Causing Back Pain
The most obvious way of preventing excess sugar from causing problems now or later in life for your spine is to monitor your daily sugar intake. Read nutrition labels and meal plan so you know how much sugar you’re getting on a daily basis. You can indulge here or there, but don’t make a habit of choosing sugary options.
It’s also important to know that limiting your sugar intake is only part of the equation. To really stay ahead of your back pain, you also need to exercise regularly and maintain a healthy weight. It’s not enough to monitor your diet, you also need to challenge your body with physical activity if you want to have the best chance of avoiding back pain down the road.
If you need any help with your back issue, or you want some assistance developing a dietary plan to reduce your sugar intake, reach out to Dr. Sinicropi and his team today.