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Can Sugar Cause Back Pain? Find Out if Your Sweet Tooth is Giving You a Sour Back

Published April 11, 2017
Tags:  Nutrition Sugar

Sugar. Who doesn't love it? It's a key ingredient in all of your favorite sweet treats. Although you may love how it tastes going down, you may not love the fact that sugar could be a contributing factor to your chronic back pain. Crazy how something as simple as sugar can actually increase the level of pain in your back and spine. 

First Things First - Where is Sugar Found?

  • Actual sugar cane
  • Coffee sweeteners
  • Bread
  • Pasta
  • Alcohol
  • Sweets
  • Pizza
  • Assorted snacks
  • Frozen dinners
  • Soda
  • Sports drinks
  • Sweetened cold beverages

To name a few - sugar is everywhere - literally everywhere.

Sugar cubes around a can of soda.

Bob Butts, founder, and CEO of Water Cures, a foundation for holistic health care and healing who promotes drinking water as a natural remedy in softening your body's discomfort said, “Sugar induced inflammation can cause back pain. As little as two teaspoons of sugar can offset your body chemistry and unbalance homeostasis. Our bodies have a unique balance needed to be able to repair and maintain life.”

The Asian Spine Journal completed a study in 2014 that discovered an estimated 31 percent of women and 25 percent of men who are chronic back pain sufferers also reported stomach and intestinal pain along with digestive problems after eating foods loaded with carbohydrates that have a high sugar content.

Dr. Christina Lasich, medical director for Community Recovery Resources in Grass Valley, California, said, “In the past ten years, researchers have found a solid link between sugar consumption and inflammation. Spikes in blood sugar levels promote inflammation and inflammation leads to chronic pain.”

Dr. Lasich continued, “A normal, healthy body can naturally control inflammation; but, this regulatory system does not work well when being attacked by the evils of sugar.”

William Suggs, a New York-based licensed personal trainer and expert sports nutritionist further explained, “The link between nutrition and back pain is all about inflammation; foods high in fat and sugar trigger inflammation throughout the body, including the lower back. Aim for 'clean' whole foods instead of processed ones whenever possible. Always have a protein like lean meat or beans, a good whole grain like brown rice, and vegetables.”

Actress Donna Mills, who suffers from a chronic arthritic condition, told Dr. Lasich, "When I'm getting too much sugar, I find that makes the pain worse."

Dr. Lasich advised, “Many doctors who treat chronic diseases like pain, advocate for a 'low-glycemic load' diet. This nutritional style reduces the sugar (glycemic) load on the body and prevents blood sugar spikes. With a low, steady blood sugar level, the body has a fighting chance to be pain-free.”

These are the foods the experts recommend focusing on when deciding what to eat.Photo Caption: Please refer to the above glycemic index, taking special note of the items that have a low-glycemic number.  These are the foods the experts recommend focusing on when deciding what to eat.

Updated: February 20, 2020

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