Are you suffering from back pain? The cause could be your love of spicy foods. There is much debate regarding whether spicy foods are helpful or harmful, and the consensus is that it’s a bit of both. Many of my patients are shocked to hear that their back pain could be from spicy food. As you may know from my previous post, Is Your Diet Causing Your Back Pain, there is a direct link between digestive function and back pain. I even wrote an entire book on the subject called The Back Pain Relief Diet.
In one study published by the Asian Spine Journal in 2014, 31% of women and 24.6% of men suffering from back pain also suffered from gastrointestinal complaints such as abdominal pain or food intolerance. Anything that can upset the digestive system can and will affect the muscular system, i.e., your back. For people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), spicy foods can trigger symptoms.
A study showed that “those consuming spicy foods greater than or equal to 10 times per week were 92 percent more likely to have IBS compared with those who never consumed spicy foods.” When the researchers tried to analyze this finding based on gender, they found that spicy foods were not associated with irritable bowel symptoms in men. Another study specifically highlighted that frequent consumption of spicy foods could trigger upper gastrointestinal symptoms in some people with dyspepsia (or indigestion). This indigestion causes back pain.
So if you’re a back pain sufferer and love spicy foods, try avoiding spicy foods for two weeks and see how you feel! My full digestive back pain assessment can be found in 3 Weeks to A Better Back, or you can find your score by taking the assessment on my website.