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Nutrition for Managing Back Pain

An anti-inflammatory diet can be a powerful tool in reducing inflammation that may contribute to back pain. In this lesson, you'll learn why it's effective and explore a list of anti-inflammatory foods.


Inflammation can play a significant role in back pain, contributing to both acute and chronic discomfort. Here's how inflammation affects back pain:

  • When you injure your back, whether from sudden trauma or overuse, your body's natural response is acute inflammation. This process involves the release of inflammatory chemicals to repair damaged tissue and initiate the healing process. While acute inflammation is necessary for healing, it can also cause pain, swelling, and stiffness in the affected area.

  • If acute inflammation persists or becomes chronic, it can contribute to ongoing back pain. Chronic inflammation is often triggered by factors like repetitive stress, poor posture, obesity, or underlying health conditions like arthritis or autoimmune disorders. Over time, chronic inflammation can lead to tissue damage, nerve irritation, and degenerative changes in the spine, all of which contribute to persistent back pain.

  • Certain inflammatory conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis or inflammatory bowel disease can directly affect the spine and cause chronic back pain. These conditions involve an abnormal immune response that leads to inflammation in the joints, ligaments, or surrounding tissues of the spine, resulting in pain, stiffness, and reduced mobility.

  • Inflammation can sensitize nerves in the back, making them more sensitive to pain signals. This heightened sensitivity, known as peripheral sensitization, can amplify the perception of pain, even in the absence of ongoing tissue damage.

  • In addition to causing pain directly, inflammation can release substances that sensitize nerve endings and contribute to pain transmission. These inflammatory mediators can further perpetuate the cycle of pain and inflammation in the back, creating a self-perpetuating loop.

Addressing inflammation is an essential aspect of managing back pain effectively and one way to do that is with an anti-inflammatory diet.

How an Anti-Inflammatory Diet Helps

Reduces Inflammatory Markers: Certain foods can trigger the body's inflammatory response. An anti-inflammatory diet focuses on foods that help lower inflammatory markers in the body, thereby reducing overall inflammation.

Tissue Repair: Nutrient-dense foods provide the body with essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants for tissue repair and maintenance.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, like salmon and flaxseeds, have anti-inflammatory properties and can help alleviate inflammation throughout the body.

Balanced Blood Sugar: This diet often includes foods with a low glycemic index, which helps stabilize blood sugar levels and reduces inflammation associated with insulin spikes.

🍽 Anti-Inflammatory Foods

Below is a list of foods that will help minimize the body's inflammatory response:


Berries (blueberries, strawberries), cherries, oranges, and apples are rich in antioxidants and vitamins that combat inflammation.


Leafy greens (kale, spinach), broccoli, cauliflower, and colorful veggies like peppers and sweet potatoes are excellent choices.

Fatty Fish

Salmon, mackerel, and sardines are high in omega-3 fatty acids.

Nuts and Seeds

Almonds, walnuts, flaxseeds, and chia seeds provide healthy fats and anti-inflammatory properties.

Herbs and Spices

Turmeric, ginger, garlic, and cinnamon have potent anti-inflammatory effects.

Whole Grains

Choose whole grains like quinoa, brown rice, and oats over refined grains.


Beans, lentils, and chickpeas are rich in fiber and plant-based protein.

Olive Oil

Extra virgin olive oil contains monounsaturated fats and antioxidants.

Green Tea

Contains polyphenols with anti-inflammatory properties.

Dark Chocolate

In moderation, dark chocolate with a high cocoa content (70% or more) has antioxidants that can reduce inflammation.

💡Pro Tip: Consider keeping a food journal to track your intake and any changes in pain levels. This can help identify trigger foods.

Keep in mind that an anti-inflammatory diet is not a quick fix but a long-term approach to managing inflammation and potentially reducing back pain. Make gradual, sustainable changes to your eating habits for lasting benefits.

You've got this!


Check out this resource to support your anti-inflammatory food choices 👇🏽

📥 Downloadable Guide

To help you create balanced meals that incorporate the foods listed above, we’ve compiled a few of the resources used with the women in our THRIVE coaching program to help them make healthier nutrition choices, and determine the best foods for their body, goals, and taste buds.

Take the guesswork out of what and how to eat with these easy-to-use nutrition handouts.

In this free download, you'll learn how to:

  • make better choices without branding anything off-limits

  • proportion your food intake based on your goals

  • make adjustments as your goals and tastes shift over time.


Get off the dieting & exercise rollercoaster for good! Learn how to transform your inconsistent health and fitness patterns into the healthy lifestyle you've always wanted.



Hey there! My name is Marissa Rivera-Davis, and I'm a certified health fitness professional and founder of Her365 Fitness, a 24-hour studio gym & wellness community for women. I help women find the time and energy to move more and eat better so they can finally achieve the health & fitness goals that matter to them. My mission is to empower women with the skills and support they need to break free from a mindset of limitation & restriction to embrace joy on their path to improved well-being. Learn more here.


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Hi there, I am sorry to miss your class tonight. I am so so tired . Still at work. Do not know when I will be able to take off and then I have to drive from San Ramon to Pinole. Have a good one.

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Sorry to miss you tonight. Get home safely (when you can) and rest well. 🖤


1573 Tara Hills Dr | Pinole, CA 94564

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