Back pain is one of the commonest problems to affect people today.
It occurs due to a problem at any of the three core levels of the body. These are:
1. The vertebrae
2. Soft tissues and muscles supporting the spine
3. The nerves
To eliminate back pain, it is important to strengthen and support each of these levels.
Guard your bones
Nourish your bones so that there is no weakness within the vertebrae. Eat foods rich in calcium and ensure that your body has adequate stocks of vitamin D. Foods rich in calcium include ragi, sesame seeds, milk, nuts, dairy products and fish.
In the absence of a well-balanced diet, take calcium supplements. Calcium is absorbed in the body through the intestine. For its proper absorption, your intestine should be healthy. Also, for calcium to be used by the body, your system needs vitamin D, which is made naturally by sunlight.
It is important to wake up early and step out for a jog or brisk walk to improve circulation and microcirculation of calcium in every part of the body. In the absence of this, vitamin D supplements are needed.
The bones of the spinal cord also need flexibility to ensure the right curvature of the spine. For this, it is important to maintain a correct posture at all times.
Use an ergonomically designed chair and include exercises in your lifestyle to improve flexibility. Yoga and tai chi have several exercises which help the back to build flexibility and strength.
The next core component to be strengthened are the back and abdominal muscles. These support the spine and are most vital for back health. You must work out regularly to strengthen these muscles.
For the proper nutrition of these muscles, eat the right kinds of protein in the correct quantities. This should be combined with iron and vitamin C for the best absorption and an active metabolism. Vegetarians should eat mung sprouts with a dash of lemon juice, boiled black chana, amla, tofu and cottage cheese.
Non vegetarians can eat eggs, fish, chicken and the lean portion of meats. For correct absorption of nutrients, an acid-alkali balance has to be maintained in the body. This can be attained by eating salads and green vegetables.
Nerves of steel
This is the third component to pay attention to, to prevent back pain.
Nerves are nourished by a correct balance of multivitamins and natural oils. These include the B complex family (from B1 to B12). A lot of people suffer from vitamin B12 deficiency. This can be corrected by eating yoghurt and eggs.
You can also take B12 supplements in case of acute deficiencies. Natural oils essential to keep the nerves healthy are also found in flaxseeds, walnuts, almonds, sunflower seeds and olives.
From HT Brunch, April 21
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