Your kids or grandkids are calling from the swingset, begging you to give them a push, but you’re struggling to even get up because of the fiery ache in your back. Or maybe you’re having difficulty at your desk job because of constant neck pain. No matter how you got to this point, your chronic neck and back pain is interfering with your daily life, but what can you do to improve your symptoms?
The secret to feeling better may be tucked away in your pantry. Food has a powerful influence on the way your body feels and functions. Good nutrition supports your health while decreasing your back and neck inflammation symptoms. Which food is good for neck pain or back relief?
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A diet focused on anti-inflammatory foods can ease chronic inflammation and improve your symptoms of joint, back, and neck pain and more. You’ll generally want to prioritize whole foods since processed foods tend to be highly inflammatory. Whole grains, lean meats, healthy fats, and plenty of fruits and vegetables should be your plan the majority of the time.
You can improve your symptoms even further by including these pain-fighting superfoods:
- Fatty fish
- Leafy greens
- Nuts and seeds
- Green tea or matcha
- Extra virgin olive oil
While whole foods can provide your body with the necessary nutrients, only certain ones are known to fight a frequent cause of neck and back pain — inflammation. Thus, you may wonder which food is good for neck pain and back problems.
Most dieticians and doctors agree an anti-inflammatory diet may be a key part of your pain management plan. While changing what you eat can be helpful, ensure you seek treatment if you start to experience symptoms such as numbness, tingling, or weakness.
Finding delicious recipes that fit into an anti-inflammatory diet and include multiple anti-inflammatory powerhouses can be quite the treasure hunt. This list offers a bit of something for everyone, from breakfast to supper to dessert.
Berry Ginger Smoothie Bowl
You don’t have to get rid of your beloved smoothie bowl to follow an anti-inflammatory diet. In fact, it may be one of the easiest ways to get in multiple anti-inflammatory superfoods. This one from The Nutritious Kitchen has berries, cinnamon, ginger, apple cider vinegar, almond butter and spinach — all of which help fight inflammation. You could also top this with fresh berries, chia seeds, flax or walnuts to improve its pain-fighting power.
One-Bowl Golden Glow Turmeric Flourless Muffins
Gluten and cow dairy can be incredibly inflammatory for some people, so these Real Food Whole Life muffins are a perfect dairy-free, gluten-free option. They also rely on natural sweeteners rather than refined sugars. On top of that, you’ll get a healthy dose of turmeric, cinnamon, and ginger — all anti-inflammatory foods.
10-Minute Chia Seed Jam
Jam is a sweet way to jazz up your whole-grain toast at breakfast, but store-bought options are generally full of sugar and heavily processed. Why waste your money on those when you can make your own that’s just as tasty and far more healthy for you? This jam from Gimme Some Oven takes only 10 minutes of your time and can use any fruit you have on hand — a berry or cherry version would be an anti-inflammatory powerhouse.
Spinach-Quinoa Bowls With Chicken and Berries
Need a great option to pack for lunch? The spinach-quinoa bowls from CookingLight are just the ticket. You’ll get an astonishing amount of anti-inflammatory action from this meal and the fiber will help keep you full and energized until supper or your next snack. Blueberries, feta cheese, almonds, spinach, and quinoa are just a handful of the star ingredients. You’ll be saying sayonara to your back and neck inflammation symptoms before you know it.
Sheet Pan Turmeric Salmon With Cherry Sauce
Salmon, cherries, and turmeric are fantastic inflammation fighters and this meal from Running to the Kitchen contains all three. You’ll also find cinnamon, garlic, leafy greens, and extra virgin olive oil in the recipe. Sheet pan dinners are the perfect go-to for busy nights or those times when you just don’t feel like doing a sink full of dishes after dinner.
Roasted Butternut Squash Apple Soup
This soup is the perfect option for that chilly fall or winter nights. Pair it with hearty homemade whole-grain bread to really satisfy those cozy needs. In addition, the combination of several anti-inflammatory ingredients like apple, butternut squash, cinnamon, ginger, and extra virgin olive oil make this recipe from Family Food on the Table one you can turn to again and again.
Tropical Turmeric Popsicles
This list wouldn’t be complete without a tasty treat. While the last item was perfect for the cold months, this one will make your summer more enjoyable. Tropical turmeric popsicles from Abra’s Kitchen only use five ingredients and are far healthier than anything you can get from the freezer aisle. Make them for yourself to help with chronic neck or back pain or share them with the whole family as a delicious summer treat.
Talk to your doctor about the benefits of including dietary changes in your plan to improve back or neck inflammation symptoms. Food is a natural way to help your body function better. It’s well worth a try before moving to more invasive or extreme measures to fight your back and neck pain. As a bonus, eating anti-inflammatory foods can improve many other aspects of your health as well.
I am Dr. Yenny Angela, a medical graduate from Hannover Medical School. I have expertise in emergency medicine and care for patients with multiple injuries. Also, I am a researcher always on the lookout for new scientific findings. I also have a publication on Researchgate.com.