Some evidence suggests that the Mediterranean diet and other dietary plans can help reduce inflammation. As such, these diets may help some people with managing back pain.

The Mediterranean diet is an eating pattern that takes inspiration from countries near the Mediterranean Sea. The diet involves consuming vegetables, fruits, olive oil, whole grains, lean proteins, low fat dairy, and nuts. It also emphasizes reducing red meat, sugary drinks, salt, and processed foods.

Research highlights many health benefits relating to this dietary pattern. A health expert may recommend the Mediterranean diet to help prevent disease and keep people healthy for longer. A potential benefit of this diet is its anti-inflammatory properties. This eating pattern may help relieve back pain by reducing inflammation.

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Research suggests that following a Mediterranean dietary plan may help reduce pain, such as back pain. A common treatment for back pain involves the use of anti-inflammatory medications. A 2021 study notes that following the Mediterranean diet related to an improvement in pain characteristics in older adults.

Inflammatory conditions are a possible cause of back pain. Inflammation from these conditions can cause stiffness and joint pain in the spine. Evidence notes that the Mediterranean diet can help reduce inflammation and pain in those living with rheumatic conditions.

Similarly, the Arthritis Foundation notes that the Mediterranean diet, due to its anti-inflammatory properties, may help with arthritis-related pain.

Research notes that oxidative stress and inflammation play a role in chronic pain. Certain dietary interventions, such as the Mediterranean diet, show promise for reducing pain and inflammation.

This is because the Mediterranean diet emphasizes anti-inflammatory foods, such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, olive oil, and fatty fish. The Mediterranean also involves reducing pro-inflammatory foods, such as red meat, sugary drinks, and processed food.

Another benefit of the Mediterranean diet is that it supports weight loss and maintaining a suitable weight. Maintaining a moderate weight can reduce the mechanical strain on the spine, which may help reduce back pain.

Additionally, the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) highlights the importance of a healthy, balanced diet for supporting overall health. Following a dietary pattern such as the Mediterranean diet can provide the body with sufficient nutrition, which may help nourish the bones, muscles, and other structures of the spine to help reduce back pain.

The Mediterranean diet is one of the most studied dietary patterns, and researchers note its wide range of health benefits, such as increasing lifespan and healthy aging. Following a Mediterranean dietary plan may also help reduce the risk of:

Learn more about the Mediterranean diet.

Evidence notes a relationship between dietary patterns and inflammation and how this can influence pain. As such, in addition to the Mediterranean diet, other eating patterns that help reduce inflammation may provide pain relief.

This can include the dietary approaches to stop hypertension, or DASH diet. This eating plan aims to reduce high blood pressure. It focuses on consuming fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and low fat dairy. It also involves reducing red meat, fat, sugar, and salt.

Learn more about anti-inflammatory diets.

According to NIAMS, healthcare professionals can offer various treatments for back pain. Options will vary depending on the underlying cause but may involve medications, surgery, and alternative options. These can include:

Learn more about home remedies for back pain relief.

Back pain may sometimes be temporary or treatable with home remedies. However, it is advisable for a person to contact a doctor if they are experiencing chronic or severe back pain or if the pain is interfering with daily life. Examples of when to seek medical advice include:

  • back pain that does not improve after treating it at home for a few weeks
  • the pain is stopping someone from doing their day-to-day activities
  • the pain is severe or worsens over time
  • a person is worried about the pain or is finding it difficult to cope

A healthcare professional will be able to diagnose the underlying cause of pain and suggest treatments for pain relief.

Before considering dietary changes, a person may want to discuss options with a doctor or a dietitian.

The Mediterranean diet is an eating plan that emphasizes natural foods, such as vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats, while reducing the intake of processed foods. Health experts suggest it may provide a variety of health benefits.

Among these possible benefits include anti-inflammatory properties. Reducing inflammation may provide pain relief. As such, this eating plan may help relieve back pain.

However, while the Mediterranean diet may help reduce back pain and provide other health benefits, it does not replace medical intervention. If a person is experiencing back pain, it is advisable to seek medical assistance.