You’ll want to try these five strategies.
Baby got back (pain)? Join the club.
At some point in their lives, as many as 80 percent of people will experience back pain, according to Aixa Goodrich D.C., a chiropractor at South Florida Chiropractic Center. She notes that back pain is one of the most common reasons for missed work in the U.S. About 31 million Americans experience lower-back pain at any given time, according to the American Chiropractic Association. Any given year, 30 percent of people struggle with neck pain, per research from Johns Hopkins.
Sufferers dish up a ton of money a year ($50 billion) trying to relieve back pain and fix the creaks, cracks, and cramps. In fact, more dollars are spent treating neck and back pain than almost any other medical condition, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. That’s because people aren’t making back care part of their everyday wellness routine, says Goodrich.
“To only focus on your back health when [you] are in pain is like only exercising when you gain 10 pounds or only eating healthy when your cholesterol is high, and then going back to your old habits shortly thereafter,” Goodrich says.
Chiropractors, though, take a long-term approach to relieving back pain—and it’s one that works. So we reached out to the pros to find out how they keep their own back pain from being such a, well, pain.
Follow their lead to relieve back pain for good:
FOLLOWING AN ANTI-INFLAMMATORY DIET
Some inflammation is natural, but because we eat such a pro-inflammatory diet most people are, well, too inflamed, explain Elizabeth and Erin Anderson, D.C., of Twin Life Chiropractic. Excess inflammation, among other things, can cause excess pressure and pain in the joints of the back. That’s why these two chiros eat an anti-inflammatory diet full of turmeric, ginger, and boswellia, and encourage their patients to drink turmeric ginger tea. Meanwhile, Karen Erickson, D.C., of Erickson Healing Arts, focuses on a diet rich in vegetables, fruit, and healthy fats to keep inflammation in check. She also keeps meat intake to a minimum, and opts for grass-fed beef whenever possible.
While there is not a single “anti-inflammatory diet,” trans fats, processed foods, and sugar have all been linked to excess inflammation. “Our dietary choices can lead us into inflammatory cycle, so cutting out inflammatory foods can help reduce inflammation all over,” Erin Anderson says.
And it looks like about half of us need to heed that warning, big time: A study published in British Medical Journal found that over 50 percent of Americans subsist on a diet of ultra-processed foods. Yikes. Interested in giving an anti-inflammatory diet a whirl, but don’t don’t where to start? Try incorporating these anti-infammatory foods into your daily eats.