Monday, September 26, 2011

Food For Sciatica Pain Management

Much have been written by me over the past weeks on managing the pain caused by sciatica. While the key is really prevention, we can, through over/hyper activities and even through zero activities will cause these problem.
There should be an equal number of people, active and otherwise, having to deal with pain because of the L4-L5 vertebrae which usually spelt as "backache".
I am now a believer of stretching. If there is no pain, be happy that your muscle are supple and well stretched. If there are pain, start doing something. That short 30minutes everyday, even while sitting in front of the PC doing work, or even attending a meeting, could do wonders.
Do refer to my entry here, here and here.
Today's entry is about maintenance and how to keep it under control - food wise.
Sciatica happened when your Sciatic nerves effected/inflamed. Obviously the first thing you should do is to eat food with anti-inflammatory properties. If you rely on self-treatment like myself, there are a lot of sources you can find online with regards to this group of food. Of course, as usual, practice moderation and take everything with a pinch of salt (though taking saltish thing if you have Sciatica is NOT recommended).
A website i did some research on listed down these 10 food. I am glad i am taking some of them on a daily basis if not at least once or twice a week.
1. Kelp - otherwise known as seaweed. But please skip those in snack form as they have salt, flavoring and vegetable oil covering them (to make them crispy)
2. Salmon - rich in EPA, DHA and Omega3. They are expensive and "wild" salmon is a misnomer as most salmon we eat are farmed variety. I get my Omega3 from Chia seed more than salmon. Chia is more expensive than salmon gram for gram and they are hard to find.
3. Turmeric - or kunyit. :) common spice used in Asian cooking, especially curry. Just go easy on the santan.
4. Shittake Mushroom - or Chinese mushroom. Those you buy fresh would be good but those usually sold dried in Chinese medicine hall will also work.
5. Green Tea - This is my MUST have. I take up to 3 cups a day at work. I am sipping this as i am writing this over tea time. There are many variety, i go for the Japanese green tea. They are a bit more expensive and they are more "original" (taste and olfactory). Careful of those common tea brand selling theirs as "green tea".
6. Papaya - It helps with constipation too. :)
7. Blueberries - We don't live in countries with these being sold at the grocery store. But there are alternative such as the Chinese Goji seeds (the read colored seed that is sweet) and dried cranberries is easy to find. Find them cranberries cheaper at baking supply store. I have these as snacks in the fridge. Oh ya, Goji were believed to be able to maintain eyesight ;-)
8. Olive Oil - Make sure your kitchen has a bottle of these. But please don't use them for cooking/stir frying. These are "mat salleh" oil, not meant for Asian cooking. Use them to line/dress/marinate, not to fry. I often use olive oil as a dip with balsamic vinegar. :)
9. Broccoli - There is a reason why your mum asked you to eat your vegetable.
10. Sweet Potato - Perhaps, this is why the older generation, though they performed back breaking manual labor work do not have any back problem. Sweet potatoes are staple during the war period and prized as a form of energy food due to the complex carb and also fiber they have. A winner any day. Steam and go.

Done with the list above, it's easy to integrate some of the food into our daily diet. The above is suggested and they are meant to be "easy to find, easy to eat". Don't forget one more crucial mineral that we do not take adequately everyday - POTASSIUM.
Food rich with this mineral will allow your muscle to stay loose and prevent the tightness associated with sciatica. Food such as banana is laden with potassium. There is a reason why athletes takes them as energy food. It is known to balance off the sodium (as in natrium in natrium chloride i.e. table salt) and prevent cramps. Other food rich in potassium are apricot, which has up to 3 times more potassium per 100gram compared to banana. But banana is 10-15times cheaper. :) Seeds, nuts and tomatoes are rich in potassium too. Don't be too shy to load them up.

From the above, we can already see that eating sensibly and healthily is basic to having a good nervous system. It make sense to cut down on sugar, salt, oil and processed food as much as possible and take in more "whole" food. Apparently, keeping the body acidic level low will help as well. This would require a different level of consciousness when eating and also careful planning. However, it can be a good reference once the above two food category can be part of the normal daily diet. I found a link on the net on body acidity and also a food chart that could help. Read more here
Be surprised to see that lemon and orange are actually "alkaline food". If you are a beer or soft drink fan, you might want to consider to start laying off these sins. That include taking in sugar replacement such as aspartame and saccharin, which has the highest level of acidity.

Now, with these informed choices on food, with the few basic stretching you read in my blog, you have enough information to start managing the pain caused by Sciatica and i wish you speedy recovery.
I know i am already on my way to recovery and all it takes now is discipline!
And doing the cross-leg stretch of course!


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  2. Hey...U look different. Is it cos u have hair? :-p

    (Nik Om)