Nutrition Tips for Patients Dealing with Sciatica

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Many people are not aware of what sciatica is and how it can affect their quality of life. Sciatic nerve pain or irritation usually occurs when a herniated disk in the lower back pushes on the sciatic nerve located in the upper leg. It often radiates down to one's foot and may be accompanied by numbness, tingling, or burning sensations. As you might imagine, this type of injury can have a significant impact on day-to-day activities as well as your livelihood. It is undeniable how people dealing with sciatica live uncomfortable lives. 

Luckily, chiropractic care professionals specialize in treating patients with sciatica through chiropractic adjustments and physical therapy exercises. Nutrition advice for dealing with sciatica should focus on natural remedies such as following a low-fat, high fiber diet. Eating plenty of vegetables and fruits will help as well.

It's important to get adjusted regularly because the adjustments can decrease pain by improving your posture, which reduces stress levels - an essential element in dealing with sciatica. And when you improve your health through proper nutrition and chiropractic care, you'll be able to live life without limitations or restrictions.

Why Does Proper Nutrition Help With Sciatica?

Proper nutrition is essential for people dealing with sciatica because it can help alleviate symptoms and reduce inflammation. One of the vital nutrients for sciatica patients is Omega-three fatty acids, which are found in fish such as mackerel or salmon.

Many people experience sciatica, but what are the different causes for this debilitating pain? It turns out that a crucial factor in reducing flare-ups is changing your diet. But does your diet have a significant effect on my symptoms? 

Eating an anti-inflammatory diet may help to reduce the pain of sciatica. These simple changes can provide you with a greater sense of control over your symptoms while also helping improve mobility, range of motion, and ultimately the quality of life.

Avoid Foods Triggering Inflammation

Many people believe that the key to preventing inflammation is maintaining a healthful diet. Eating foods rich in whole grains, natural food sources like fruits and vegetables, and nuts high in Omega 3s fatty acids, such as salmon, can help reduce chronic inflammation. These foods work by fighting off the formation of pro-inflammatory substances (eicosanoids) throughout your body. 

COX enzymes are responsible for the production of lipids that collectively elicit some critical signs of inflammation. Studies have mainly studied how these react with eicosanoids to cause heat, swelling, redness, and pain during an inflammatory response.

Foods to Avoid:

  • Sugar: Consuming too much sugar and refined carbohydrates can lead to chronic inflammation, insulin resistance, weight gain. Thus, it is crucial to avoid and reduce the intake of foods high in sugar. Instead, resort to eating healthy alternatives, such as fruits as desserts. 
  • Refined Carbohydrates: Refined carbs are empty calories that lead to rapid spikes in blood sugar and insulin levels. These carbohydrates include white flour, pastries, candy bars, sodas, and even breakfast cereals. Refined grains have been systematically removed from the whole grain, which has had its natural nutrients destroyed during processing.
  • Trans fat: Trans fat is not an intuitive choice when it comes to dietary fats. Unlike other types of dietary fat, trans-fatty acids are related to higher levels of "bad" cholesterol and lower levels of "good" cholesterol. This unhealthy combination can lead to various health risks, including heart disease, which claims the lives of millions annually worldwide. Some examples of foods with high trans fat are microwavable popcorn, baked products (e.g., cookies), ready-to-cooked doughs, and shortenings.

Recommended Foods to Alleviate Sciatica Symptoms

Sciatica is a condition that causes pain, numbness and tingling in the leg. The symptoms are usually caused by pressure on the sciatic nerve as it runs through the lower spine. There are various exercises and therapies you can do to help relieve some of these symptoms. However, one of the best ways to reduce your discomfort is by eating certain foods.

Macronutrients

Micronutrients help suppress inflammatory mediators and reduce the overall inflammation in your body—Vitamin E, zinc, selenium act as antioxidants to keep you healthy from a cellular level up. The B group of vitamins also helps improve nerve health and reduces sciatica pain that can stem from many different sources like car accidents or hip problems with arthritis. You may also want to consider taking curcumin supplements if you don't consume them daily, which has been found through recent studies to be more effective than other supplements for reducing cancer risks, among others.

  • Magnesium: Magnesium is a natural mineral found in over 300 different foods such as spinach, legumes, cauliflower, dark chocolate, salmon, almonds, avocados, and cashews. Magnesium has been shown to help fight inflammation by reducing the inflammatory marker CRP. The effects of magnesium on chronic disease are not fully understood yet. Still, it's believed low intake could lead to increased levels of Crohn's Disease or Type 2 Diabetes because they both cause inflammation, increasing the risk for heart attack. Low magnesium intake may predispose people with cardiovascular conditions towards an unfavorable condition called rhabdomyolysis. Muscle tissue breaks down due to a lack of nutrients like glucose from sugar or protein from meat rather than through exercise.
  • Vitamin A: Vitamin A is a great way to keep the immune system from overreacting and causing inflammation. There are two forms of vitamin A: beta-carotene, which converts into vitamin A in your body. You can take it as an antioxidant for protection against free radicals that cause damage to DNA molecules such as cancer cells and cell mutations like Alzheimer's disease. There is just straight-up Vitamin A itself available through food sources rich in this vital nutrient. Carrots, dandelion greens, kale, and collard greens are excellent sources of vitamin A. Leafy vegetables provide an abundance of vitamins, including beta-carotene, which is converted to vitamin A in the body, providing a healthy boost for eye health.
  • Vitamin C: Vitamin C may help keep your immune system healthy and eliminate free radicals that cause inflammation. Research also suggests vitamin C supplements can help lower CRP levels, so it's always best to try to take in as much through diet if possible. Fruits and vegetables are loaded with vitamin C, which can improve health in many ways. These nutrients also help lower the risk for heart disease and cancers.
  • Vitamin D: The Journal of Immunology recently published a report which suggests that vitamin D inhibits inflammation and increases the body's response to infection. It is because it activates specific signaling pathways in our immune cells by modifying certain genes, as well as up-regulating or down-regulating parts of these gene networks. The best food sources for this nutrient are fish, egg yolks, organ meats such as liver or kidney meat from animals fed on grass diets rich with natural micronutrients (vitamin A) - all contain high levels of vitamins, including Vitamin E too.
  • Vitamin K: Vitamin K can reduce markers of inflammation and blood clotting, as well as bone health. Vitamin K is necessary for healthy bones, but most people do not get enough from their diet. There are two types-K1 (found in leafy vegetables) or K2 (in the chicken liver), that must be consumed to make sure your body has the right amount of vitamin kit needs.
  • Vitamin E: Vitamin E is an antioxidant vitamin that can reduce inflammation. A 2015 meta-analysis reported in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition confirms its anti-inflammatory properties, and supplementation to people living with inflammatory conditions is helpful. Vitamin E naturally occurs in nuts, seeds, avocados, and spinach, all necessary for a well-balanced diet while also giving you these benefits.

Live Aligned Family Chiropractic and Nutrition

A healthy diet can support your wellness on the outside and in. Your food intake will affect you physically, mentally, generally speaking--on every level of overall healthiness. Our chiropractors may help by providing a thorough nutritional assessment for you that considers all aspects of what is best for your unique needs. Things like energy levels or immunity to allergies, or disease prevention are included, so it's clear how important this kind of care is.

Proper nutrition is the key to good overall health. Nutrition can be a sensitive topic for many people because they equate it with diets or other food restrictions. However, being mindful of what you eat and how your daily activities rely on these decisions will give you all the motivation needed to make healthy choices about what goes into your body.

Recent studies have shown that a healthy diet is essential for staying fit and active. Good nutrition will contribute to the long-term health of your body and provide you with increased energy levels, a strong immune system, and constantly feeling healthier. The food we eat is important because they give our bodies fuel; if it doesn't get what it needs, then some parts can break down over time, which may lead to poor overall well-being and chronic illnesses such as diabetes or high blood pressure.

The approach of Live Aligned Family Chiropractic offers a unique, holistic treatment plan for sciatica patients. As your local family chiropractic and wellness expert, we want you to feel better quickly so that you can enjoy life again. We use only gentle adjustments with our state-of-the-art table, leaving no marks or bruising on your body. Our comprehensive care includes dietary counseling from one of our registered dieticians who will help identify any nutritional deficiencies that could contribute to your symptoms, consisting of vitamins B6 and D and magnesium. If you're looking for relief from pain caused by sciatica, contact us today. If you are interested, you can proceed by clicking the "Schedule an Appointment'' button. 

References:

https://www.spine-health.com/blog/5-tips-relieve-sciatica-pain

Pahwa R, Jialal I. Chronic Inflammation. [Updated 2019 Jun 4]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2019 Jan-.Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK493173/

Lawrence, T., Willoughby, D. A. & Gilroy, D. W. Anti-inflammatory lipid mediators and insights into the resolution of inflammation. Nat. Rev. Immunol. 2, 787–795 (2002).

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/sugar-and-inflammation#TOC_TITLE_HDR_2

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/why-refined-carbs-are-bad#:~:text=The%20main%20dietary%20sources%20of,all%20sorts%20of%20processed%20foods.

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/10-proven-magnesium-benefits#TOC_TITLE_HDR_11

https://www.verywellhealth.com/the-best-vitamin-for-fighting-inflammation-4176859

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DISCLAIMER: This site does not constitute a doctor patient relationship, and is not to be confused with medical advice. All injuries are unique, and the doctor must examine the patient before recommendations can be made.
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