Do you suffer from spondylosis and find yourself struggling to manage everyday activities because of the pain? This age-related condition affects the spine, restricting a full range of motion of the back or neck. Although not everyone experiences symptoms, many suffer from mild and chronic pain, headaches, and muscle weakness. The pain can sometimes get worse with certain activities or with periods of inactivity.
Aside from age, other risk factors for spondylosis include incorrect posture while walking and sitting, poor lifestyle, neck or back injuries, occupations that cause stress on the back or neck, and genetic factors.
Home Remedies for Spondylosis
The diagnosis of spondylosis is made using x-rays, CT scans or MRIs. While the process of spondylosis cannot be reversed, there are fortunately many treatments for neck pain and back pain. Your doctor may prescribe anti-inflammatory medications, muscle relaxants, and pain medications, but regular use of such pharmaceuticals comes with its own set of risks. For this reason, when it comes to spondylosis relief, nothing beats natural methods.
So, here are some of the most effective natural remedies for spondylosis pain relief.
#1 Sesame Seeds
Yes, they give your food a lovely crunch and a nutty flavor, but they can do so much more. Sesame seeds are natural anti-inflammatories, with a study that appeared in the International Journal of Rheumatic Diseases, showing that sesame seed supplementation can even relieve knee osteoarthritis pain. To reap these benefits, simply consume one tablespoon of roasted white sesame seeds every morning or apply warm sesame oil on the affected area three times a day.
#2 Cayenne Pepper
Capsaicin in cayenne pepper has anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties that can help in reducing inflammation and pain in affected areas. Studies have shown that it also suppresses proinflammatory proteins, prompting recommendations from researchers for its use as a natural painkiller. This means that adding more cayenne pepper to your diet could provide relief from spondylosis symptoms. Aside from including more of the ingredient in your diet, you could also add a teaspoon of cayenne pepper powder to a glass of warm water and consume this twice or thrice a day.
Another effective home remedy for spondylosis is ginger. Although more evidence is needed to support the efficacy of ginger for pain relief, studies so far have been encouraging and Ayurveda has long supported its use as a therapeutic aid. Simply adding ginger to your cooking or consuming two or three cups of ginger tea daily, could help to relieve pain in the back, neck, and surrounding areas. In addition, you could also massage the affected area with ginger oil.
Impact of Diet on Spondylosis
- In the context of spondylosis, nutrients like calcium & vitamin D play a particularly important role. Sources of calcium rich foods include dairy products, fish, broccoli, kale, legumes, tofu etc. Vitamin D is also called the sunshine vitamin, as it is produced by your body naturally in response to sunlight exposure. Naturally, a walk in the morning sun would be one of the best ways to raise those vitamin D levels. Eggs & fish like salmon are notable dietary sources.
- Other nutrients for bone health include zinc, copper, manganese, boron, vitamins A, B, C & K, & potassium. (Sources: Foods like gooseberry, oranges, lemon, guava, kiwi, strawberries, apples, bananas, spinach, kale, broccoli, carrots, sweet potatoes, cabbage, cauliflower, onions, tomatoes, dairy products, chicken, fish, pumpkin seeds, pine nuts, pecan, walnuts, & almonds.)
- A healthy diet not only comprises of a wide range of nutrients, but it also involves eliminating poor quality food choices that can interfere with the assimilation of nutrients. Many can cause the body to excrete a higher quantity of nutrients than normal. Highly processed foods, and those that are high in sugar and fat, may also cause inflammation. Limit foods with added sugars, high sodium content, saturated fats, trans fats (hydrogenated oils), and preservatives.
- Reduce salt consumption as sodium & chloride, as they increase the urinary excretion of calcium. Unprocessed Himalayan salt or sea salt are better options as they have trace minerals that are good for bone health.
- Certain diet choices can aid in the absorption of bone nutrients. These would include foods rich in Omega-3 such as whole grains, nuts, fruits, and vegetables.
Diet for Musculoskeletal Health
- Strengthening the muscles of the spine is important as they affect range of motion and provide support. For strength training and muscle building exercise routines, you need to maintain high biological protein intake.
- Eggs, chicken, lamb, milk, soya, pulses, and legumes are some of the best sources of protein.
Foods to Fight Inflammation
- Foods that naturally fight inflammation which occurs in the connective tissues of ligaments, tendons & vertebral discs of the spine should be included. For eg: Green leafy vegetables, fruits like all the berries, bananas, oranges, nuts, fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, sardines. These foods also help in collagen formation and calming the nerves.
Other Diet Recommendations
In addition to including foods like cayenne pepper, ginger, and turmeric that can help reduce inflammation, it is also important that you eat healthy to maintain healthy weight.
While resveratrol in red wine does offer several health benefits, it is important that you restrict your intake of alcohol, as high alcohol intake has been clearly linked with an increased inflammatory response.
Lifestyle for Spondylosis Management
Walking, cycling, swimming, yoga and other exercises that you enjoy help reduce stiffness of the joints. Exercising will also strengthen the muscles that support the spine, reducing aches and pains. For dealing with cervical spondylosis, consider incorporating neck exercises into your daily routine. When the pain is severe, however, make sure to get enough rest as well.
Reducing stress levels and quitting smoking are essential, as stress increases your body’s inflammatory response, while smoking causes inflammation, restricts vital oxygen supply to muscles and tissues, and impairs circulation. All of these adversely impact spine function.
Wrapping it Up!
Although spondylosis is a chronic health condition that cannot be cured completely, simple lifestyle changes and the application of natural remedies can help you control its symptoms. In most cases, nonsurgical treatments such as pain management and physical therapy are enough to have a pain-free life.
Sadat, B. E., Haghighian, M. K., Alipoor, B., Mahdavi, A. M., Jafarabadi, M. A., & Moghaddam, A. (2013). Effects of sesame seed supplementation on clinical signs and symptoms in patients with knee osteoarthritis [Abstract]. International Journal of Rheumatic Diseases, 16(5), 578-582. doi:10.1111/1756-185x.12133
McCarty, M. F., DiNicolantonio, J. J., & O’Keefe, J. H. (2015). Capsaicin may have important potential for promoting vascular and metabolic health. Open Heart, 2(1), e000262. http://doi.org/10.1136/openhrt-2015-000262
Terry, R., Posadzki, P., Watson, L. K., & Ernst, E. (2011). The Use of Ginger (Zingiber officinale) for the Treatment of Pain: A Systematic Review of Clinical Trials [Abstract]. Pain Medicine, 12(12), 1808-1818. doi:10.1111/j.1526-4637.2011.01261.x
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