When asked about the pillars of any degenerative disc disease treatment plan, many people cite exercise and medication. Equally important — and often overlooked — is proper nutrition, which is vital for promoting good health in general, and good spinal health in particular.
While no specific diet is recommended for treating degenerative disc disease, weight maintenance through good nutrition and regular exercise can effectively reduce the stress on the spine. Consider that this hardworking structure is tasked with supporting much of the body’s weight. Therefore, even just a few extra pounds can significantly increase the burden on damaged spinal discs.
Additionally, healthy eating is essential for tissue growth and repair. As such, it can promote healing and may alleviate the symptoms of many spinal conditions, including degenerative disc disease, which is an example of connective tissue damage that can be directly affected by nutrition.
How to incorporate nutrition into degenerative disc disease treatment
Eating a balanced diet with the right amount and variety of vitamins and nutrients can help prevent and improve many spinal conditions. Here are some ways to ensure optimal nutrition:
- Maintain caloric balance. In order to maintain the body’s weight, the calories consumed from foods must be balanced by the calories used through normal bodily functions, daily activities and exercise. The specific number of calories on each side of the equation can vary based on a number of factors, including age, gender, activity level and body size. A physician can determine the individual caloric requirements for managing degenerative disc disease.
- Consume nutrient-rich foods. Caloric requirements should be met with a variety of nutrient-rich foods from all food groups. This means that a healthy diet should incorporate fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products and lean sources of protein, such as poultry, seafood and beans.
- Get enough fiber. Eating a diet that includes a variety of whole grains, raw fruits and vegetables can increase fiber intake, which is particularly important for people who take medications to manage degenerative disc disease symptoms. That’s because constipation is a common side effect of some pain medications, and fiber can help alleviate it.
In general, a healthy diet plan should include three meals a day to help keep energy levels up, appetite under control and constipation at bay.
If further relief is needed
For severe pain that doesn’t respond to healthy eating and other conservative degenerative disc disease treatmentapproaches, surgery may become an option. At USA Spine Care, our surgeons perform minimally invasive spine surgery, which is often the clinically appropriate first choice and provides many advantages over open neck or back surgery.^
To learn more, contact USA Spine Care today.
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