That Cookie Really Hurt My Back!

Backbone intervertebral disc anatomy lateral view

Thankfully these days there is more of an acknowledgement that certain food can cause contribute to health concerns.  On the tails of last week’s post, I wanted to write a follow up regarding the food we eat and how it impacts joint and muscle pain.

It’s easy to associate a traumatic event (ie. a fall, car accident, sports injury, etc.) to a musculoskeletal issue.  However, what we eat can also contribute to sore muscles or joints.  Also, it is a major influencer of chronic pain in cases of arthritis, fibromyalgia, lyme disease and other illnesses that include the symptom of muscle or joint pain.

Naturopathic nutrition is not locked into a certain construct.  We  look at food as a way to:

1) Fuel our body

2) Balance physiology and support our health

3) Prevent illness

4) Feel great

This is how we can use food as medicine.  There are two important questions I ask when reviewing the impact of nutrition on an individuals musculoskeletal issue:

1) Do the foods increase or decrease inflammation?

2) Do the foods increase or decrease acidity?

Inflammation is at the root of all pain.  Furthermore, too much acidity fuels inflammation.  In cases of joint or muscle pain, when these two elements are minimized, people feel so much better.  They have more pain free days, or resolve their pain all together!  This can be achieved through diet and without medication.

Pro Inflammatory Foods include: Wheat (and gluten containing grains), dairy (milk, yogurt, cheese), sugar, red meat, potato (white and sweet), peanuts, tomato products (sauce, V8, canned tomato), processed food, hydrogenated oils (margarine, oils in packaged food), alcohol, coffee.

Anti Inflammatory Foods include: Vegetables, fruit, lean protein (chicken, turkey, fish), gluten free grains (brown rice, quinoa, millet, buckwheat), healthy oils (flax, fish), raw nuts and seeds, water, herbal tea, green tea.

Many people feel they eat mainly from the anti-inflammatory list but still struggle with pain.  In these cases I go further with them and evaluate their acidity levels and if they have a good balance of the different families of anti-inflammatory foods.  For example, eating the same thing all the time, even if it is an anti-inflammatory food, could create an issue.  We need to factor in variety, balance and quantity of each family of food.

If you are looking for individualized and therapeutic nutrition guidance, or if you have any questions about the information in today’s post, feel free to contact me anytime at


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