If you have experienced sciatica symptoms, you will be all too aware of how painful it can be. You may be looking around for ideas on how to manage it, in the hope of avoiding future flare-ups. An important part of treatment which is often overlooked is what you eat. So, can your diet affect your sciatica? What you consume may have an effect on your symptoms, and a few small changes could bring big benefits.
A healthy, balanced diet with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables is something we should all be aiming for. But what is good for sciatica in particular? When sciatica strikes there will be higher than normal levels of inflammation around the sciatic nerve so it makes sense to adjust your diet accordingly to reduce the levels of excessive inflammation in your body. Saturated fats are known to increase inflammation, so avoid fried food, high-fat dairy products, fatty red meats and any processed foods.
This is not to say that all fats are bad – in fact, you need healthy fats in your diet. It’s good news if you enjoy seafood, as trout, salmon and mackerel are all sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which will help your body in the healing process by promoting healthy inflammation. If fish isn’t for you, you can also get these fats from sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, walnuts and flaxseeds.
B vitamins are important for nerve health, and if your diet is deficient in them you may struggle to heal nerve damage, so if someone experiences sciatica it makes sense to increase the amount in your diet. You can get your B vitamins from a wide range of food including salmon, eggs and mushrooms. Magnesium is vital for good muscle function. Many people that experience cramp are often deficient in magnesium. Some people that experience sciatica complain of muscle spasms and cramps alongside the pain. This is usually due to the oversensitive sciatic nerve. Eating foods rich in magnesium can help to ensure you are not deficient in magnesium and may help in controlling muscle spasms and can improve the symptoms of sciatica. Dark green leafy vegetables, nuts and seeds. You will pleased to know good quality dark chocolate is rich in magnesium. A diet that is low in potassium is not favourable for sciatic symptoms, so eat dark leafy greens such as spinach, or try apricots and bananas.
Vitamin supplements can help if you are very low on one of the vitamins or minerals mentioned above. Before taking supplements you should do your research and take advice if you feel you need it. The priority should be making some of these small changes to your diet that will bring long lasting benefits, not just for your sciatic pain, but in all aspects of your life.