Calcium intake is a vital factor in the maintenance of strong and healthy bones. Where proper nutrition is important for back health, calcium deficiency can cause bones to become brittle and fracture, particularly when over the age of 35.

Most commonly, calcium deficiency and brittle bones can lead to osteoporosis, particularly in women. Where it is best to maintain a healthy intake of calcium throughout your life, supplements can be taken to ensure you are receiving adequate amounts of the vital nutrients that keep bones strong and agile.

John Spallino, MD of the Laser Spine Institute in Tampa, Florida, says that one of the best ways to reduce the risk of back pain is to make sure your body is getting enough calcium.

“As you age, it is hard to maintain bone mass, which can lead to such conditions as osteopenia or osteoporosis. These diseases can weaken the vertebrae in your spine. Calcium contributes to bone mass, helping you to avoid these conditions,” he said.

If an individual’s diet does not include enough calcium to replace what is used on a daily basis, the body will source calcium from the bones, weakening them and making them more susceptible to fractures.

Although calcium intake is important, Kenneth Hansraj, Chief of Spine Surgery at New York Spine Surgery and Rehabilitation, warns that too much calcium can increase your risk of heart disease and atherosclerosis. He advises that calcium is best obtained from natural sources such as dairy products, leafy green vegetables and almonds, and that adults shouldn’t consumer more than 2,000 milligrams of calcium a day.

Recommended daily intakes are as follows:

  • For people over 50 and postmenopausal women: 1,500 milligrams of calcium per day
  • For people 25-50 years old and premenopausal women: 1,000 milligrams of calcium per day

Recommended foods high in natural calcium:

  • Yogurt, cheese and milk
  • Spinach, broccoli, kale
  • Peanuts, tofu, beans, peas
  • Salmon
  • Almonds
  • Oranges

As always, please seek medical advice prior to making changes to your dietary intake.

Further reading:
http://www.patient.co.uk/health/preventing-steroid-induced-osteoporosis
http://www.spine-health.com/wellness/nutrition-diet-weight-loss/calcium-needed-strong-bones
http://www.everydayhealth.com/news/can-good-diet-fight-back-pain/