Shred the Sweets and Help Your Back Feel Better

We all know that sugar shouldn’t be a main staple in our diet. With sodas, cookies, candy, and other sweets, sugar can pose a major temptation. However, did you know it could be a major reason behind your back pain?  Here’s some ways your sweet tooth may be causing you pain:


  1. Weight Gain

A diet high in sugar can lead to weight gain. Food or drinks with an elevated sugar content not only are unable to provide your body with essential energy, they also have a low level of satiety, according to The American Society of Clinical Nutrition (1). This leaves you feeling hungry, even if you have just eaten. As a result, you’re more likely to consume an increased number of calories, which leads to weight gain. This weight gain strains and inflames the back muscles and ligaments, causing a painful sensation. This risk of pain may raise with age, as the Obesity Society found a relationship between increased pain and increased BMI in adults age 60 and older (2).


  1. Higher Cholesterol

Those who consume a high-sugar diet are at risk for higher cholesterol levels, according to The American Society for Clinical Nutrition (3).  While eating sugar every once in a while won’t wreak havoc on your cholesterol, a consistent amount of sugar being consumed can be a large contributor to increased cholesterol levels in the body. This could lead to more pain in your back. According to the medical journal “Spine,” those with above normal cholesterol levels report pain more often than those with normal cholesterol levels (4).


  1. Increased Risk of Developing RA

Your sweet tooth may lead to the development of RA (Rheumatoid Arthritis) in the spine. RA causes the body’s immune system to attack its own tissue, which leads to painful swelling of the joint linings. Consuming sugar, particularly sugar-sweetened drinks, can lead to RA, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (5). RA can affect your spine and lead to debilitating back pain, so think twice before ordering a soda with your next meal.


  1. Increases Inflammation

According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, a diet high in sugar promotes inflammation within the body (6). When inflammation occurs, the affected area swells, which leads to pain. Eating too much sugar leads to this swelling and can be fixed by replacing sugary snacks with healthier options like nuts or unsweetened yogurt.


When you find yourself reaching for the cookies too often, keep your back in mind. This January, aim to shred the sweets to have your back feeling its best. If your back pain is interfering with your daily life, give Houston Physicians’ Hospital a call at 832-340-2134. Our Spine Solutions Center is the most comprehensive spine treatment center in Webster, Texas, and can help get you back to a pain-free life.




Sleeping can Affect Your Back – See How These Positions Help or Hinder Your Back

Sleep is essential to everyday life. It allows your body to function properly, repair itself, and gives your brain some much-needed rest once the day winds down. However, many people in Webster, Texas, wake up every day wondering why sleep isn’t helping their back pain. Did you know that your sleep position may be to blame for your morning back pain? According to the British Medical Journal, an important factor in back pain is ergonomic exposure, such as sleeping a certain way (1). At Houston Physicians’ Hospital, we understand that it’s important to wake up and be able to get straight to your routine without pain, so we’ve listed the best and worst sleep positions for back pain:


Help: Sleep on Your Back with a Pillow Under your Knees

Sleeping on your back allows your weight to be evenly distributed. This weight is also being distributed along the widest part of your body, resulting in less strain on your back’s pressure points. Simply lay flat on your back and place a pillow under your knees. For extra support, place another small pillow under your lower back.


Hurt: Sleeping with a Rounded Back

Much like slouching, sleeping with a rounded back can actually increase back pain. This position prevents the spine from being in the natural upright position, which causes strain and leads to back pain. Try to ensure you are maintaining correct posture, even when you’re sleeping.


Help: Sleep on Your Side with a Pillow Between Your Knees

While simply sleeping on your side won’t necessarily reduce back pain, using the pillow between your knees will. This allows your spine to keep in alignment with your pelvis and hips, which reduces the stress on your back. Lay on your side, and place a comfortable pillow in between your knees. If you find that there is a gap in-between your waist and the mattress, you may want to add another small pillow in this space for increased support.


Hurt: Sleeping on Your Stomach

Sleeping on your stomach can increase pain in the neck and upper back. When you sleep on your stomach, you force your neck to remain in a rotated, tight position. This means that your neck is stationed in an unnatural position for an extended period of time, which can cause the dreaded “crick” in the neck and pain that can radiate to the upper back.


Help: Sleep on Your Back While Reclined

When reclined, an angle is created between your thighs and torso. In order to recline while enjoying the comforts of your bed, consider investing in an adjustable bed. This will allow you to recline to whatever angle you find the most comfortable.


Sleep should be relaxing and rejuvenating. However, when you sleep in certain positions, you may feel run-down as you wake up with back pain. These sleep positions can have you waking up in the morning feeling your best. For those whose spine pain interferes with their daily life, give Houston Physicians’ Hospital a call at 832-340-2134. Our Webster, Texas, Spine Solutions Center can get you back to a pain-free life in no time.