Ever experienced low back pain or neck pain? What you are feeling is probably degenerative disc disease, a set of symptoms that include radiating pain, weakness, numbness that stems from a degenerated disc anywhere in your spinal cord.
Generally speaking, degenerative disc disease isn’t really a disease, but it is a term that is used to describe natural changes in your vertebral discs, such as the natural wear and tear as a result of aging. The vertebral discs in your spine are soft, compressible discs that act as natural shock absorbers for the spine. These discs allow your spine to bend, flex, and twist.
Degenerative Disc Disease can take place anywhere in your spinal column, but it usually occurs in the lumbar region and the cervical regions, namely in your lower back and neck areas respectively.
Degenerative Disc Disease is most often caused by age and the natural wear and tear of our spinal cord as a result of this aging.
The overall health of your body directly mirrors how healthy your corresponding body parts are, and this is especially true of the relationship between your body and your spine. Your spine supports a majority of your body’s weight and acts as a guidepost to keeping your body straight and your posture erect.
Thus it is safe to say that how a healthy diet affects certain functions and parts of your body, it also affects the spine in the same way. This is why having a healthy diet for degenerative disc disease can help ease any pain you may feel from the condition.
A healthy diet should focus mainly on two things: Hydration and Oxygenation.
- Hydration– can be done by improving your hydration habits. This includes sipping water constantly throughout the day and making sure to increase the intake after any sort of physical activity or exercise. There should also be a decrease or an elimination in the intake or consumption of caffeinated drinks such as coffee, black tea, and sodas.
Alcohol consumption should also be minimized. This is because alcohol can cause dehydration and can also act as a downer or a depressant. Although it may be tempting to drink alcohol as a numbing agent for the pain, it can mess up any diet and self-treatment you are imposing on yourself, and can affect a wide range of functions in your body such as the quality of your sleep, the proper healing of your wounds, making unhealthy food choices, and affecting your motivation to exercise, thereby decreasing your overall health.
- Oxygenation– now this is not necessarily part of a diet in that it is not involved with any type of eating. But when you factor in nicotine consumption, whether in the form of candies, patches, gums, or cigarettes, is a big No-no in a healthy diet for degenerative disc disease. Smoking or nicotine of any kind can interfere with the proper healing and nutrition of your spine as it reduces or interrupts the amount of oxygen that flows into your spinal area.
Food Types you should eat
1. Calcium Rich Foods– Calcium-rich foods should be up there in the food you should eat to recover from degenerative disc disease. This is because calcium is one of the most prominent bone minerals out there. Calcium is found in many foods available today in the market such as:
- dairy products such as milk, yogurt, cheese;
- Oily fish such as sardines and salmon;
- Dark green leafy vegetables such as kale, spinach, bok choy and legumes and ;
- a whole lot of other foods that include almonds;
- Soy products such as tofu, soybean paste, and soya milk.
2. Magnesium Rich Food– magnesium is also a key mineral in your bones. Magnesium deficiency is sadly a common occurrence in today’s society and can affect your bone density and can cause back problems. Magnesium is found in foods such as:
- Green leafy vegetables;
- Whole Grains
- Certain fruits such as avocados and bananas, and;
- Dark chocolate.
3. Proteins– also make sure to consume proteins, as they are a common ingredient in your bones that tend to be overlooked because of the focus on minerals. Proteins such as collagen and glucosamine play a key role not only in your bones but in the soft connective tissues that surround them.
- Collagen- can be found in animal bone broth soups
4. There are also vitamins that play a key role in your bone structure and should be included in every diet for degenerative disc disease such as:
- Vitamin D3
- Vitamin K2
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin B12