Arthritis of the spine can develop when the cartilage that cushions the spine’s facet joints wears away, leaving the vertebrae to rub against one another. This can lead to localized pain, inflammation and joint stiffness, as well as the development of a bone spur in the joint. When a bone spur appears, additional symptoms such as radiating pain, numbness, muscle spasms and tingling become possible.
The impact of diet on spinal osteoarthritis
Losing excess weight is an important part of the arthritis of the spine treatment process, as it can help reduce the pressure being placed on the affected area of the spine. Additionally, certain types of foods can actually increase inflammation and slow the healing process. Therefore, your diet will likely be an important part of the conversation when your doctor provides a recommended treatment regimen.
Here are some food types you should avoid if you are experiencing painful spinal osteoarthritis symptoms:
- Processed sugars. Processed foods that are high in sugar can hurt your body’s natural response to inflammation and may be counterproductive during your treatment process.
- Foods high in sodium. Too much salt can increase swelling and lead to an inflammatory reaction in your joints.
- Fried foods. In addition to their high calorie counts, fried foods can also increase inflammation in the body and add to osteoarthritis pain.
- Dairy. Dairy can actually increase inflammation for some individuals. Healthier sources of fats, such as almond milk, are a good substitute.
- White flour. Refined white flour is believed to cause arthritis flare-ups, so try whole grains instead.
To replace these types of foods in your diet, you can also try to focus more on antioxidant- and vitamin-rich foods like citrus fruits, cruciferous vegetables, tropical fruits and seafood options including wild-caught salmon, cod and shrimp.
When symptoms persist
If you’ve cleaned up your diet and followed your doctor’s other suggestions for several weeks or months and your symptoms are still interfering with your enjoyment of day-to-day life, you may want to consider spine surgery. While many doctors recommend traditional open neck or back surgery, USA Spine Care treats arthritis of the spine through minimally invasive spine surgery, which is often clinically appropriate and provides many advantages versus open spine surgery.^