Health and FitnessDegenerative Disc Disease: Foods to Avoid That Increase Inflammation & Back Pain

Degenerative Disc Disease: Foods to Avoid That Increase Inflammation & Back Pain

Pain is an unfortunate fact of life. You can experience pain doing almost anything although it is normally your body telling you that something is not right. It’s common for older people to be more at risk of developing painful conditions, although there are some issues that can occur at any time of your life. 

Degenerative Disc Disease

Despite the name, this condition isn’t actually a disease and can’t be spread between people. The name refers to when one of the discs in your spine becomes damaged. This is an example of an issue that can happen at any time in your life. 

In general, older people experience disc damage due to drying out of the disc while younger people may experience it after undertaking intensive sports sessions. 

If you have degenerative disc disease you’re likely to experience these symptoms:

  • Pain where you’ve damaged the disc
  • Pain which gets worse when sat down
  • Pain eases when walking or running versus sitting or standing
  • Changing position often relieves pain temporarily
  • Feeling numb in your feet
  • Weak legs and possible foot drop

It should be noted that the pain can come and go, potentially lasting a few days or a few months before disappearing. Any back pain that lasts longer than 5-7 days should prompt a visit to a neurosurgeon, this will ensure the issue is properly diagnosed and the right treatment is offered.

It can help to avoid certain foods as they increase inflammation in the body and this creates pressure on the disc and nerves, increasing pain levels. 

  • Processed Foods

Processed foods contain large amounts of sugar which is detrimental to your overall health, can increase the likelihood of many age-related issues, and causes inflammation.

Within the category of processed foods, you need to include processed cooking oils, such as vegetable oil.

  • Crisps

Crisps are potatoes fried or baked and are often eaten as a snack. This leads to obesity and high levels of cholesterol, all things that increase the risk of cardiovascular issues. The fact that these things also cause inflammation is another reason to avoid them.

  • Fried Food

You probably already know fried food isn’t good for your overall health. Oils used to fry food actually contain omega 6 which your body needs. But, the amount of omega 6 needs to be balanced by omega 3 or you’ll cause inflammation.

  • Artificial sweeteners

Anyone trying to control their sugar levels will have tried artificial sweeteners. In some people they are fine. But, in others, they cause your body to react, creating an inflammatory response that increases pressure on nerves and, therefore, elevates pain levels.  

  • Saturated Fats

High consumption of saturated fats has been linked with an increased likelihood of obesity and inflammation. It also boosts the possibility of diabetes. Naturally, the higher levels of inflammation cause your back excessive levels of pain which will increase the pain caused by degenerative disc disease.  


It can be hard to remember what you should be eating and what you shouldn’t. The best approach is to use trial and error regarding what works for you, if you adhere to the principle of ‘everything in moderation you will find the pain of degenerative disc disease decreases. 

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