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Your spine contains several bones, or vertebrae, connected by spinal discs made of cartilage. Both the vertebrae and spinal discs surround and protect the spinal cord, a part of the nervous system that allows communication between your brain and the rest of your body. Spinal disc injuries can lead to pain and discomfort, and might potentially lead to permanent spinal cord nerve damage if left untreated. While nutrition alone might not prove sufficient to heal an injured spinal disc, nutrients in the foods you eat might contribute to spinal disc healing.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
One nutrient important for healing spinal discs is vitamin C. The tissues that make up your spinal discs -- cartilage and other connective tissues -- all contain the protein collagen. As a result, your body must make new collagen as part of the process of healing your spinal disc tissue. To synthesize collagen, your cells require vitamin C, according to the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University 1. Many fruits provide a source of this nutrient, so consuming a balanced diet rich in fruits might help promote spinal disc healing.
- One nutrient important for healing spinal discs is vitamin C. The tissues that make up your spinal discs -- cartilage and other connective tissues -- all contain the protein collagen.
A Diet for Spinal Stenosis
Vitamin A -- an essential vitamin -- might also help promote spinal disc healing. After a spinal disc injury, your body must generate new cartilage cells -- called chondrocytes -- for healthy cartilage tissue. Vitamin A helps promote proper cartilage cell development by promoting the development of mature chondrocytes, according to the New York University Langone Medical Center. Consume pumpkin, spinach, kelp and potatoes to increase your vitamin A intake and help promote spinal disc healing.
- Vitamin A -- an essential vitamin -- might also help promote spinal disc healing.
- After a spinal disc injury, your body must generate new cartilage cells -- called chondrocytes -- for healthy cartilage tissue.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Another nutrient that might help ease the discomfort of spinal disc injuries is omega-3 fatty acids. Often, disc injuries such as herniated discs lead to discomfort due to increased inflammation around the injury site. The displaced spinal disc tissues irritate the surrounding tissue, leading to the release of inflammatory factors, as well as swelling and pain. Omega-3 fatty acids help control the levels of inflammation in the body, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center, and might therefore help ease some discomfort associated with a herniated disc 3. If you suffer from spinal inflammation, consult your doctor about the potential benefits of taking omega-3 fatty acid supplements, or include fish and flaxseed in your diet.
- Another nutrient that might help ease the discomfort of spinal disc injuries is omega-3 fatty acids.
- Omega-3 fatty acids help control the levels of inflammation in the body, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center, and might therefore help ease some discomfort associated with a herniated disc 3.
Weight Loss After Lumbar Fusion
Eating healthy and consuming a range of nutrients can have a beneficial effect on spinal healing. Compounds naturally found in healthy foods can help your body in recovering from a spinal disc injury, but a healthy diet alone might not prove effective in treating a spinal injury. Any health condition affecting your spinal discs requires the attention of a medical professional, who might suggest a number of treatments, including prescription medication. If you're interested in nutritional supplements to help heal an injured spinal disc, consult your doctor regarding the safety of the supplements, and their potential benefit in helping to heal your injury.
- Eating healthy and consuming a range of nutrients can have a beneficial effect on spinal healing.
- Compounds naturally found in healthy foods can help your body in recovering from a spinal disc injury, but a healthy diet alone might not prove effective in treating a spinal injury.
A Diet for Spinal Stenosis
Weight Loss After Lumbar Fusion
Supplements for Herniated Disc Repair
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Foods That Help Heal Scars
Cervical Traction Contraindications
Symptoms of Herpes of the Spine
Treatment & Exercise for a Spinal Compression Fracture
Herbs for Spinal Stenosis
Can Too Many Carbs and Not Enough Protein Cause Joint Pain?
- Linus Pauling Institute; "Vitamin C"; Dr. J Higdon et al; 2006
- NYU Langone Medical Center; "The Role of Annexins in Chondrocyte Differentiation Events During Development and Pathology"; Dr. T Kirsch
- University of Maryland Medical Center; "Omega-3 Fatty Acids"; Dr. S. Ehrlich; 2009
- Colby, S., Ortman, J. The Baby Boom Cohort in the United States: 2012 to 2060. May 2014.
- Yue JJ. The Comprehensive Treatment of the Aging Spine: Minimally Invasive and Advanced Techniques. Philadelphia, Pa: Elsevier/Saunders; 2011.
- Mcgirt M, Wong. Vertebral compression fractures: a review of current management and multimodal therapy. Journal of Multidisciplinary Healthcare. 2013:205. doi:10.2147/jmdh.s31659
- Santiago FR. Comparative review of vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty. World Journal of Radiology. 2014;6(6):329. doi:10.4329/wjr.v6.i6.329
- Roghani T, Zavieh MK, Manshadi FD, King N, Katzman W. Age-related hyperkyphosis: update of its potential causes and clinical impacts—narrative review. Aging Clinical and Experimental Research. 2016;29(4):567-577. doi:10.1007/s40520-016-0617-3
- Teraguchi M, Yoshimura N, Hashizume H. Prevalence and distribution of intervertebral disc degeneration over the entire spine in a population-based cohort: the Wakayama Spine Study. Osteoarthritis and Cartilage. 2014;22(1):104-110. doi:10.1016/j.joca.2013.10.019
- Arthritis Foundation. Degenerative Disc Disease. Arthritis Foundation.
- Fujii K, Yamazaki M, Kang JD. Discogenic Back Pain: Literature Review of Definition, Diagnosis, and Treatment. JBMR Plus. 2019;3(5). doi:10.1002/jbm4.10180
- Serhan H. Advancements in the treatment of degenerative disc disease. Hamdan Medical Journal. 2018;11(4):175. doi:10.4103/hmj.hmj_85_18
- Lee SY, Kim T-H, Oh JK, Lee SJ, Park MS. Lumbar Stenosis: A Recent Update by Review of Literature. Asian Spine Journal. 2015;9(5):818. doi:10.4184/asj.2015.9.5.818
- Tomé-Bermejo F, Piñera AR, Alvarez L. Osteoporosis and the Management of Spinal Degenerative Disease (II). Arch Bone Jt Surg. 2017;5(6):363–374.
- American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. Osteoporosis and Spinal Fractures-OrthoInfo Web Page.
- Kanter, A. M.D., Asthagiri, A. M.D., Shaffrey, C. M.D Aging Spine: Challenges and Emerging Techniques. The Contress of Neurological Surgeons website. 2007.
Sylvie Tremblay holds a Master of Science in molecular and cellular biology and has years of experience as a cancer researcher and neuroscientist.