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  • Writer's pictureDr Jeff Garofalo

Decrease Back Pain Holistically

Back pain will at some point affect eighty percent of Americans creating loss of work, poor quality of life and cost millions of dollars.

With the exception of trauma causing back pain much of the pain can be relieved and even avoided through proper nutrition. In this week’s article I am going to explain the role of nutrition in helping avoid and decrease the epidemic of back pain.

The Cause of Back Pain

There are two causes of back pain the first being trauma and the second being degeneration.

Today’s article will reflect the degeneration cause of back pain.

The first event to occur is a loss of normal alignment from the vertebrae. This loss of alignment starts to damage what we call the endplate of the bone that connects to the disc. The loss of alignment is found on x-ray and this is one reason we x-ray all of our new patients. The loss of alignment puts pressure on the endplate where it doesn’t belong and that starts to create a small level of inflammation with something called MMP. MMP is made by your body and is designed to cleanup disc material when it becomes damaged by breaking down sick and unhealthy disc cells.

The MMP cells are supposed to come in and breakdown any damaged disc cells and then the TIMMP cells come in and shut off the MMP cells and the area is fixed.

The challenge continues to occur if you don’t realign that vertebrae where it belongs. When the vertebrae stay out of alignment the endplate further damages quietly without you knowing and the MMP cells continue their job in the disc.

The challenge is when the MMP cells go out of control they start to damage more of the disc called the nucleus or center part of the disc that helps disperse the weight of your body through the rest of the disc. The MMP cells damage the nucleus and now the weight of your body starts to cause pressure to be put on the part of the disc that doesn’t want it called the annulus. The annulus now starts to become damaged again calling in the MMP cells to clean up the mess by pulling out damaged disc cells.

This process starts to weaken the disc and now the entire disc is starting to decay and becomes thinner.

Once the disc becomes thinner now the spine starts to shrink and compress down jamming joints in your back together called the facet joints. The facet joints are meant to be separated and hold only a certain portion of the weight of your body. The decaying disc allows the facet joints to hold much more than they are supposed to creating pain and arthritis in the joint. The bones start compressing the disc and the final component of pain is that the disc and facet joints start to pinch the nerves that come out both sides of the spine causing pain and numbness down your arms or legs.

Research shows that in order to decrease back pain and prevent back pain you must do several things proactively:

1. Decrease the amount of sugar, white flour, and bad oils you consume.

Several studies(Cardiovascular risk factors for physicians-diagnosed lumbar disc herniations, Spine J. 2006, The influence of diabetes on lumbar disc herniation, Surgical neurology, 2006, Influence oof diabetes on cervical disc herniations, Clinical neurology neurosurgeon 2008) show that patients with high blood sugar, diabetes, hypertension, high bad fats in blood, and obesity all have higher MMP activity in their bodies than those who don’t have those illnesses showing higher level of inflammation.

Use whole grain breads, pastas and noodles. Use olive oil, avocado oil, and coconut oils to cook with.

Stay away from white pasta, potatoes, and cooking with vegetable oils.

2. Decrease inflammation with supplements

Research shows that using fish oils, curcumin/turmeric, as well as glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate are needed to prevent long term inflammation that activates the MMP cells and lets them get out of control. Research found that taking fish oils, chondroitin and glucosamine sulfate decreased CRP an inflammatory marker related to MMP cells.

3. Chiropractic Adjustments

The entire activation process of MMP cells starts with your body being too inflamed because of the foods you eat from above and the misaligned vertebrae that starts to injury the endplate that calls in the MMP cells. In order to help decrease the inflammatory process and prevent it from occurring you should get your spine adjusted to keep the vertebrae aligned whether you feel pain or not. Adjustments can prevent the injury of the endplate and prevent disc damage and pain.

4. IDD Therapy

Idd therapy used in our office helps restore nutrients to a damaged disc through patented technology that pumps nutrients in and waste out of the disc. It helps heal the nerve by targeting a specific damaged segment and opens it allowing pressure to come off the nerve. It finally restores the proper function to the disc pump allowing the endplate and the disc to function normally providing long term nutrients for the disc.

For more information head to or email me at

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