If you are one of the 75 to 85 percent of Americans who suffer back problems at some point in their lives, it's important to know how what you eat can help relieve or prevent back pain. Whether you suffer back pain related to arthritis, osteoporosis, or soft tissue injuries, chiropractic care – as an alternative treatment method for your back pain – will focus on prevention and your overall wellness as part of your treatment plan. A chiropractor who offers nutritional counseling within the scope of his or her practice can recommend food choices that contain the right nutrients for a healthier back.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A helps fight off illness and keep the immune system strong. This nutrient is important since the early symptoms of many autoimmune diseases include muscle aches and pain. The vitamin also aids in repairing soft tissue damage, including soft tissue injuries to the spine that can lead to back pain.

Dark leafy green vegetables, sweet potatoes, tuna, liver, bell peppers, and mango are some of the foods that are high in vitamin A.

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 helps the body maintain healthy bone marrow and is essential to the health of every bone in the body, including those in your spine. B12 also helps keep nerve cells healthy.

Foods rich in vitamin B12 include clams, turkey, salmon, trout, eggs, red meat, and dairy foods such as skim milk and Swiss cheese.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C plays a key role in the production of collagen. Your body needs collagen for new tissue formation, which is needed for the repair of vertebral discs and soft tissue such as ligaments, tendons, and fascia – fibrous tissue that covers muscles.

If you suffer back pain related to osteoarthritis, vitamin C helps to reduce inflammation. Vitamin C also is one of several nutrients that work to keep bones healthy and strong.

Sources of vitamin C include strawberries, kiwi, broccoli, red peppers, kale, and citrus fruits such as oranges, grapefruit, and lemons.

Calcium and Vitamin D

Your body needs adequate supplies of both calcium and vitamin D for strong bones and to prevent osteoporosis – a condition that weakens bones and causes them to break easily. The bones of the spine are particularly vulnerable to damage caused by osteoporosis.


Surveys show that many adults consume less calcium in their diets as they get older. But exercising regularly and consuming plenty of plant protein, which won't leach calcium from your bones, helps keep calcium in your bones.

Include soybeans, tofu, milk, yogurt, cheese, kale, and spinach – foods high in calcium – in your diet.

Vitamin D

In order for your body to absorb calcium, it needs Vitamin D. But like calcium, vitamin D can become a problem as you age. Your body produces vitamin D when you are outdoors in the sunlight. Unfortunately, your skin doesn't do as good a job at making the vitamin when you get older.

Besides contributing to the health of your body's bones and muscles, vitamin D also may help ease back pain by reducing inflammation.

Food sources of vitamin D include fortified milk, orange juice, and cereals, egg yolk, tofu, pork, and fatty fish such as mackerel and salmon.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are another essential nutrient your body needs for a healthy spine. Since your body can't make the nutrient on its own, you have to get it in the foods you eat. Some studies suggest that omega-3s may help improve the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis by reducing inflammation.

Oily fish high in omega-3 fats include wild salmon, sardines, albacore tuna, trout, and herring. Canola oil, flaxseed, walnuts, spinach, and broccoli are additional food sources of omega-3 fatty acids.

For more information, contact North Pole Chiropractic or a similar location.