When You Carry Excess Weight Your Spine Bears The Burden
Different people carry weight differently and on different parts of their body. However, no matter how your body distributes the weight, you cannot avoid having it in your mid-section. Protruding abdomen and increased curve in the back that happens when you have excess weight, can make you suffer from back pain since your posture shifts forward. With chiropractic adjustments, long term pain and posture issues could be avoided early on.
Can Being Overweight Cause Back Pain
Debilitating back pain that keeps you from being active can contribute to weight gain. But does it also happen in reverse? Can being overweight cause back pain?
In a word, yes.
Several studies show a high incidence of low back pain related to a body mass index over 25 as well as a relationship between obesity, low back pain, and conditions like lumbar disc degeneration.
Nearly 80 percent of people experience low back pain at some point during their lifetime. People who have a higher BMI, who have had rapid weight gain, who are mostly sedentary, and/or who carry their weight around their middle, have a higher chance of developing back pain.
Higher BMI and lower back pain
Study after study shows youre more likely to suffer from low back pain if you are overweight or obese.
There is a relationship between elevated BMI and degenerated disks, as well as a greater severity of degeneration. Degenerative disc disease is common among an aging population, and is, in many cases, unavoidable. The discs, which live between the vertebrae, naturally lose their water content as we age. As the water content is reduced, so too is the discs ability to act as a buffer.
The lack of cushioning from the desiccated or dried out disc puts stress on the adjacent vertebrae and joints, causing pain or weakness. You can experience everything from numbness or a pins-and-needles sensation to cramps down the legs and even into the buttocks that worsen when sitting or standing.
The Connection Between Obesity And Lower Back Pain
July 9, 2021 By Conor DeSantis
There is one thing chronic back pain sufferers are almost always asked to do, which is to lose weight. According to the American Obesity Association, back pain is a common problem among obese Americans. An estimated 36 percent of Americans are classified as obese. In a study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, it was concluded that the risk for low back pain increases with a high body mass index , with obese people at greatest risk overall.
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Association Between Change Of Weight And Low Back Pain
Table 2 shows estimated ORs for LBP from multiple regression analysis. Fully adjusted OR between weight gain and LBP was 1.29 . There was no correlation between weight loss and LBP in Model 3 .
Association between change of weight and low back pain. Model was adjusted by age, sex, and other environmental factors such as obesity, smoking, alcohol consumption, educational level, household income, occupation, physical activity, duration of sleep, and comorbidities.
Weight Loss Tips For Back Pain Relief
Back pain can be debilitating and can affect many peoples physiological, psychological, and even social functioning rendering them incapable of walking, driving, working in jobs that require physical involvement such as construction, or even going to social functions. There are corrective measures that can also double as preventive measures you can take to remedy this situation.
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C Extra Weight Can Stretch Up The Body Muscles And Tendons
This in turn, can put an extra strain on that muscle that leads to a backache.
In a study published in the Journal Arthritis & Rheumatism, it has been mentioned that overweight adults are more likely to have degenerative discs in their lower backs.
Note: BMI is the Body Mass Index that quantifies the muscle, fat and bone mass of an individual. It takes into account the height and weight of a person and a result is a number that determines the weight category.
What Are We Seeing In The Next Image
It is all about the curvature of the spine.
- We see a normal disc in between two normal vertebrae ready to handle stress and loads. The ligaments of the spine, the posterior ligamentous complex, simply the ligaments that hold the vertebrae in place and the back of the spine.
- If you have hyperlordosis, the obvious sign is that your butt is sticking out in the back and your stomach is sticking out in the front. This is caused by the shape of the spine. This is not a correct postural balance stance. To keep you from falling over, your body makes adjustments. The rib cage will not alter itself to help provide stability but in doing so will cause pressure on the spine in the midback and lumbar region. You can have problems with muscle spasms throughout your spine. You will have lower back pain problems. You may have trouble breathing as your stomach and abdomen, now forced forwards will take up space where the lungs would need to expand. It also makes getting a well-fitting back brace a problem.
C. Kyphosis: The hunchback
- You probably do not need a medical description of what Kyphosis is. It is the hunchback situation. You are bent forward. This condition comes can come with significant back pain or no back pain at all.
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Big Belly Causes Stress And Mechanical Load In A Bad Back Weight Loss Is Very Good In Many Cases
The further your belly sticks out the more back pain
- In the Journal of Back and Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation, doctors at the University Hospital Zürich in Switzerland found that outer abdominal fat, fat that is furthest from the spine caused significant pressure to accelerate facet joint osteoarthritis.
L5-S1 problems? A lot of it may be due to weight stress
- Doctors writing in the Journal of Biomechanics found that increased body weight substantially increased the load on the L5-S1 segment of the lower spine, especially in flexed postures.
The loss of correct spinal curvature pain, herniated discs, numb and burning sensation into your feet
- The spine is shaped with natural curves that act as springs to lessen the impact of the weight of the upper torso on the lower spine. The natural curvature of the spine acts like a tightly coiled spring or shock absorber. If you straighten the spring out, it does not shock absorb. If it does not shock absorb you get pain, herniated discs, numb and burning sensation into your feet.
Abdominal Fat Causes Back And Spinal Nerve Pain
- There is a lot of confusion in the medical community regarding the role of obesity and back pain.
- Some researchers say that obesity plays a strong role in increasing back pain, others say obesity has none or little impact.
- More evidence is being published that abdominal obesity does cause mechanical stress on the spine and that abdominal fat is an inflammation making factory attacking spinal nerves.
We know that people do not like to hear that the joint and back pain problems they face are made worse by abdominal obesity. We do see patients who tell us that they have been lectured for years to get rid of that big belly. Clearly lecturing is not motivation. In this article, we will give you the science of how obesity works to give you back pain. We hope that you will see how your back pain is made worse in a different light beyond any gimmicky type article which suggests 8 easy to lose weight and reduce back pain. If they were that easy you would have lost the weight by now.
The evidence is mounting that when you wake up in the morning with that back pain, with that numbness extending into your feet, that your belly is A if not THE culprit of your problems.
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Weight Strains Your Spine
Your spine is made up of bones stacked on top of each other, with jelly-filled disks that act as cushions between your vertebrae. A series of nerves extend through the length of your spine in a space known as the central canal. Muscles and ligaments support your spine and hold it in place.
Your spine is designed to handle pressure and movement. However, when youre overweight or obese, excess pressure can strain the various parts of your spine, resulting in pain that can range from uncomfortable to debilitating.
Back Pain And Weight Gain: An Undeniable Connection
Research clearly shows that having a high body mass index is a strong risk factor for developing chronic low back pain. People who are obese are also far more likely to report daily, chronic pain, including back pain, than those of a healthy weight.
The reasons for this, as mentioned, are likely both mechanical and metabolic in nature. For instance, extra weight can cause pain simply by placing extra strain on your joints. But one study found that the weight-pain link persisted even after musculoskeletal issues were accounted for. This suggests other factors are probably at play, including:
- Excess fat may trigger chronic inflammation, a leading cause of pain
- Obesity is associated with depression, which is in turn associated with increased pain and back pain
- Pain may lead to sedentary behaviors that encourage more weight gain
- As the most recent study found, brain changes may be involved in those with back pain that influence pleasure derived from food and encourage overeating and weight gain
- Stress is also linked to both pain and weight gain
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The Hunchback In Women Not Only Caused By Osteoporosis But By Obesity
Above we discussed a research study that suggested that the problem of big belly and back pain was more frequent in women. We are going to look at another study that helps explain why. Breast size and a big belly are not a good combination for women fearful of hunchback.
Here is a study, reported in March 2020 in the Journal of Sport and Health Science. Look at all the things that happen to obese women and the factors that can lead to the hunchback formation. Yes, it is all about obesity. Here are the learning points of this study:
This study investigated the effects of obesity on breast size, thoracic spine structure and function, upper torso musculoskeletal pain and physical activity participation in women living independently in the community.
- Consistent with previous research participants classified as obese in the present study displayed breast volumes, on average, that was 3 times that of the breast volumes displayed by women who were classified as Not Overweight.
- One study reports that breast volume was the strongest predictor of upper torso musculoskeletal pain in a large group of women, whereby women with the greatest upper torso musculoskeletal pain had hypertrophic breasts.
- Because of breast size in obese women, it is therefore not surprising that the participants classified as obese reported experiencing 1.7 times more upper torso musculoskeletal pain than their counterparts who were classified as Not Overweight.
Notable Symptoms Of Back Pain Connected To Excess Weight
Individuals who are obese or severely overweight and have back pain tend to exhibit one or more of the following symptoms:
- Fatigue during short periods of exercise
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Pain in the leg or knee that is more severe than pain in the back
- Increase in pain with back extension7
Back pain is more likely to become a chronic, ongoing condition if leg and back pain increase with extension.3 These symptoms make exercise challenging, but not impossible.
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Natural Spine Alignment Returns
Spine alignment is restored when weight is lost, because the typical abdominal weight is reduced, easing the arched curvature of the back. Extra pressure from the weight that creates nerve compression and disc degeneration is displaced.
The neutral spine position aligns your head, shoulders, hips, knees and feet so that your spine is not extended or bent uncomfortably. When the weight that pulls your spine in extreme positions slowly disappears, you can practice good posture again. This allows your organs enough space to function effectively and your spinal discs to perform their job of separating vertebrae.
Pain And Weight Gain Are Closely Related
Pain and weight gain are closely related. Carrying excess weight causes a number of health-related issues. Additional pressure on your joints and difficulties with your heart are just a few of these problems. There are few benefits to increasing your numbers on the scale. Gaining weight slowly may allow your body to adjust to the excess strain but gaining it quickly is a shock to all your bodys systems. Joint Pain Weight-bearing joints, such as ankles, knees and hips, are used to supporting a certain load. If your weight increases quickly, say 20 lbs. over a few months, it will cause the joints quite an increase in stress.
Today, one in nine people has back trouble that compromises everyday living, interrupts steady work and tosses a monkey wrench into satisfying relationships . Furthermore, 80% of adults and a growing number of kids get back pain once in a while. Overweight kids are twice as likely as Slim Jims to have early signs of disc disease putting them on track for serious back problems down the road. So, before you order that mega-muffin and caramel mochaccino with whipped cream and chocolate drizzle, heres whats to know about the body-fat-bad-back connection:
Also, try these steps to soothe a sore back:
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Health Risks Of Being Overweight
On top of experiencing back pain, obesity carries the risk for a person to develop multiple diseases, such as:
Most People Do Not Think Their Big Belly Is The Problem
People do recognize weight is a problem and want help in losing the big belly in agricultural/rural communities
- In the Journal of Neurosciences in Rural Practice neurosurgeons at West Virginia University noted: The relationship between back pain and obesity is well characterized therefore, the neurosurgical consultant visit for back pain may be a key interventional opportunity for weight loss. . . Incorporation of patient education regarding the relationship of weight loss to back pain and other weight-related comorbidities is well received in a rural specialist consultation setting. Improved communication with primary care physicians regarding this message and further supportive actions may improve follow-through, and therefore the success of ultimate weight-loss interventions.
And so and so on, numerous studies on mechanical load as the cause of back pain in obese people.
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Physical Therapist In Austin Tx
If you are suffering from lower back pain, our highly skilled physical therapists at Endeavor Physical Therapy can help. Our specialized knowledge and training enable us to recognize the factors influencing your lower back pain and design an exercise and pain management program that will gradually change how your body looks and feels.
To schedule a consultation with one of our physical therapists, call 284-7192 or use our online request form. Endeavor Physical Therapy has convenient locations serving Austin, Round Rock, Manor, Pflugerville, Cedar Park, Bee Cave, and Hutto.
Weight Gain Causing Your Back Pain
Back Pain Weighing you Down?
Dr. Rey Bosita, Orthopedic Spine Surgeon at Texas Back Institute weights in on weight gain and back pain.
Could extra weight be to blame for your back pain? According to a study published by the American Obesity Association, probably so. The same study found nearly one-third of Americans are severely overweight or obese, and suffer from musculoskeletal pain. Individuals with excess weight in their stomachs may experience back pain as a result of the excess weight pulling the pelvis forward and straining the lower back.
With warmer weather on the horizon, why not make a plan to get outside and get some exercise? Here are a few examples of things you can do outdoors to get yourself looking and feeling better in no time.
- Take a swim. With the weather getting warmer swimming is great cardiovascular exercise and easy on the joints.
- Take the dog for a walk, at a moderate pace
- Toss the football or baseball with the kids
- Go for a bike ride
- Go on a family outing to the zoo, arboretum or aquarium. Take the whole family!
Losing weight will not only do wonders for your waistline, but may also help alleviate back pain.
Do you have any great healthy recipes? Share them here!
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I Am Overweight And My Back Hurts
If the back pain youre experiencing is persistent and debilitating, visiting a doctor is your best option. Initially, you may just want to visit with your family’s general practitioner. However, you may have to eventually visit with a more specialized surgeon depending on the severity of your condition and whether or not it has to do with your spine. Occasionally, back pain is a symptom of a much more serious condition that you would want a doctor to diagnose. Many of the above conditions make take a doctor’s diagnosis before you really know what is going on.