Summertime and the living is easy. Days spent going on bike rides where the breeze blows cool on your face. Nights spent smiling on the back patio with family and friends or enjoying outdoor movies. Barbeques. Hot dogs. Watermelon. 4th of July. There is so much to celebrate about summer.
Except for those of us who maybe spent too long standing over the grill trying to create the perfect hamburger. Or maybe you lifted a little one wrong when they jumped off your shoulders into the pool. Perhaps your back pain began when you jumped up to cheer for your favorite baseball team making a home run.
No matter how it happened, we have good news for you. Your back injury doesn’t have to spell the end of summer. Sometimes the help you seek might be closer than you think. In this case, the pain relief you are looking for might be found in a delicious, super summer drink!
Hydrating To relieve Low Back Pain
You might know that hydration is a key factor when it comes to helping reduce low back pain. When our bodies are dehydrated, the cushion-y discs between our vertebrae lose water, making them less able to absorb shocks from everyday movements like walking or running. This leads to our spines absorbing the full impact of our actions and can lead to low back pain. When we drink more water and we hydrate our bodies properly, the discs absorb the fluid and are able to help absorb the movements properly.
While drinking water is definitely good for us, not everyone likes the taste of water and that is sometimes a leading factor in why many of us are not drinking the recommended 3.7 liters of fluid each day for men, and the 2.7 liters of fluid for women. Interestingly enough, the research shows that ‘forty-three percent of adults drink less than four cups of water a day. That includes 36 percent who drink one to three cups, and 7 percent who drink none’.
So, how can we make drinking more fluids a priority and how can we increase the amount of water we take in each day? Well, don’t worry - we have you covered. Not only have we found some super delicious recipes that will have you scurrying back to the fridge for a refill faster than a swarm of bees spotting a summer slurpee, but these drinks are packed full of back pain-busting nutrients and antioxidants that add an extra pain-relieving punch. Check out our top 3 super summer drinks for low back pain.
Black Cherry Smoothie
Cherries are a special type of super hero fruit when it comes to fighting low back pain. Research has found that cherries (and other red/purple fruits) contain something called “anthocyanins”. These powerful antioxidants are also a powerful pain inhibitor. Studies have shown that cherry juice can help relieve the muscle pain that is associated with chronic pain conditions, or from an intense exercise session. Cherries can also help to relieve symptoms of arthritis or gout that can happen when levels of uric acid build up in our bodies. This acid can cause swelling, inflammation, and pain in your joints.
In 2010 a study on the benefits of cherry juice for relieving muscle pain was published in the Journal Of The International Society Of Sports Nutrition. The study looked at 54 long distance runners and found that those who drank cherry juice after a long endurance race had a “significantly smaller increase in pain” than those who did not drink cherry juice after the race. The authors concluded that “Ingesting tart cherry juice for 7 days prior to and during a strenuous running event can minimize post-run muscle pain.”.
An easy way to add cherries to your day is to have a bowl of fresh cherries for breakfast or a snack or you can sip on a cold glass of juice for breakfast. You can easily find cherry juice for sale in the aisle of your local grocery store. Here is one of our favorite recipes for a delicious black cherry smoothie that you will want to drink for breakfast, lunch, and dinner!
3 cup yogurt, plain, low-fat
3 cup cherries, frozen
4 tablespoon cocoa powder, unsweetened
1 medium avocado
6 tablespoon maple syrup, pure
1 teaspoon sea salt
Combine yogurt, cherries, cocoa powder, avocado, maple syrup, and salt in a blender.
Blend on high until pureed.
Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator until ready to serve
Sparkling Watermelon Sippers
Watermelon is a summer staple, so what better way to hydrate your spine than with a spectacular summer sipper. Watermelon is known to help with sore and stiff muscles. The science behind this shows that watermelon actually contains a special amino acid known as “citrulline”. Citrulline increases circulation in the body and helps reduce the build up of lactic acid that is often the cause of the soreness we feel in our bodies after an intense workout.
Watermelon also has a few other tricks up its sleeve when it comes to fighting low back pain. In addition to it having a super high water content (making it a hydrating hero), it also contains nutrients like vitamins A and C, and lycopene.
Lycopene is another powerful antioxidant that is often found in tomatoes and is known for helping boost heart health. Lycopene is well known for its antiinflammatory properties and for its ability to neutralize free radicals associated with aging and other conditions such as cancer and diabetes. On top of all of this, watermelon tastes sweet and juicy and is the literal embodiment of summer! Devour it by the slice, turn it into popsicles, or follow the recipe below for a sparkling summer sipper.
1/2 cup white grape juice
2 cups watermelon
1 cup sparkling water
Combine watermelon and grape juice in a blender, and blend until smooth.
In a glass, pour watermelon juice till the glass is half full.
Top off the glass with sparkling water.
Blueberry Plus Smoothie
Blueberries are small but mighty when it comes to fighting inflammation and pain. These juicy little gems are packed with phytonutrients that have been linked to the prevention of painful conditions like degenerative disc disease and chronic pain.
Research has found that blueberries have powerful antioxidant properties and they can help with cell regeneration and fight cell aging. Blueberries are also known to reduce levels of glucose in the body to help fight diabetes. Some studies have even found that blueberries can help reduce depression and can boost our memories! Is there anything this tiny berry can’t do?
Blueberries can be eaten fresh or frozen. You can have them dried as a delicious snack, or bake them in a mouth-watering pie, served with some homemade vanilla ice cream. What better way to end the day than with a delicious serving of blueberries?
If you are looking for a quick and easy way to eat your blueberries every day, look no further. This sweet smoothie is super fast to make and will have you sipping your way to summer fun in no time!
1/2 cup broccoli, florets
1 cup blueberries, frozen
1 cup yogurt, vanilla, low-fat
1 cup milk
1/8 cup honey
Cut stems off the broccoli, saving only the florets.
Add all ingredients to a high-powered blender and blend until smooth.
Filling up on fluids may not always be a lot of fun, but the good news is that when we are trying to increase our fluid intake, it doesn’t just have to be water that you drink. By harnessing the power of natural nutrients, we can take our drink from your basic boring beverage to a super summer sipper and fight back pain in so many different ways. Hydration, phytonutrients, antioxidants and so much more. Your heart will thank you. Your back will feel new again. But be careful - these drinks are so delicious you may not be able to put them down without someone trying to steal them!