I’ve had pretty constant lower back pain for the last 3 weeks; I thought it was just because I had slept on a bad mattress when we went away for the weekend. After 2 weeks I realized it wasn’t going away, and that I needed to get some help. I set up my first appointment with a local chiropractor that my mom goes to and loves, thinking I’d get a few adjustments and be back to normal in no time.
The appointment itself was really great. They knew it was my first time and were very thorough in explaining each step of the evaluation and how each tool works – if you’ve never been to a Chiro before, there are a LOT of noises! They did x-rays and it turns out that my pain is coming from a bulging disc and the early stages of degenerative arthritis. To say I was surprised is putting it mildly. We have a plan to correct the disc and work on preventing the arthritis from worsening, but corrective action with my chiropractor is just part of my plan.
That appointment was the wake up call that I needed. I had an instant fear that I’d be dealing with pain for the rest of my life, and 30 is just too young for that! I know a lot about nutrition and how foods can have an impact on our health, both positively and negatively, but I always found myself going back to old habits and didn’t make my own health a priority. I made the choice in that office to do what I can do on my part to ensure that these issues are temporary.
How does nutrition help support my healing?
The two main ways I can improve my health are by losing weight and avoiding foods that cause inflammation, and fortunately these go hand in hand. Common inflammatory foods are sugar, gluten/grains, rancid oils, and highly processed foods. I’ve already written about inflammation, so you can read more about which foods I’m avoiding and why here. I’ve waffled on some of these things before (I avoided all sugar for a few months this summer) but knowing that this is necessary to support my healing is like a switch flipped in my brain. There is a real, tangible goal to this and consequences of not committing to my health.
The other part of this is losing weight. I know that my current weight is a contributing factor to my bulging disc, and that losing weight will help alleviate the pain and support healing. Fortunately, eliminating inflammatory foods will have the bonus effect of losing weight. I’m specifically choosing to not follow any type of calorie counting or restriction because that is when things go wrong for me (hello, eating disorder). For now I’m going to focus on the quality of my foods, and practice intuitive eating to see how far that gets me. When I stall on my weight loss, I’ll re evaluate and go from there.
I’ll go into more detail about intuitive eating and what that means to me in another post, but the very basic concept is that you learn to listen to your body and it’s needs. There are varying opinions on how this is interpreted, but I’ll be focusing on nourishing and healing foods, and listening to my hunger queues (eating when I’m hungry and stopping when I’m not).
So, I’ll let you know how things go and share any tips I come across along the way! Let me know in the comments if you’re on a similar journey right now.