The Toll Of Weight On The Spine
Understanding where you are in terms of weight loss is an important first step in diagnosis. The Body Mass Index is a measure commonly used by medical practitioners to better assess obesity. BMI takes into account a persons weight in kilograms and height in meters to calculate a number. The higher a persons BMI falls on a pre-determined range of values, the higher the likelihood for obesity. It is also important for doctors to gauge where excess fat is carried on the patients body. If a patient carries excess weight around the midsection, he or she is at a higher risk for obesity-related health problems, like low back pain.
Back pain occurring from obesity is a serious condition because it can lead to a number of health-related risks. Overweight patients may experience sciatica or low back pain from a herniated disk, pinched nerves, piriformis syndrome, arthritis of the spine and osteoarthritis. In addition, back surgery may not be as effective in patients who are obese, and comes with a higher risk for complications and infections after surgery. However, in many cases surgery is not necessary once an individual has begun a healthy regiment of diet and exercise.
Losing Weight While Dealing With Chronic Pain
Surgeries can cause you to lose mobility for a long period of time while you recover. While the body is immobilized, it is easy to gain weight. We dont realize how much we move until we cant. It can be excruciating physically as well as mentally to lose that freedom.
Lack of movement can lead to pain happening. The body only regenerates at the rate that it feels is needing to keep you doing what you are doing, so when you do nothing, your body does not feel the need to make itself stronger.
Losing weight after your recovery can be a challenge. You may have chronic pain that makes moving to the same extent more difficult. Here are some recommendations for ways that you can lose weight while dealing with chronic pain.
Mysterious Back Pain Episodes
Over the next 8 years, at least once or twice a year, a seemingly random acute back pain episode would hit straight out of nowhere. I had my first child during those first back pain years.
When this back pain would attack, it was absolutely horrendous. Id almost rather have another natural childbirth than a back pain attack.
Caring for my daughter for the first 3 days after a pain attack was totally impossible. My husband would have to call out of work to help because all I could do was lay in bed drugged up on Flexeril and Vicodin.
Usually, by day 4, I was off the painkillers and just taking ibuprofen. I couldnt move normally for weeks after one of these episodes, but I still had to try to live as normally as possible with the residual pain.
I went to many different doctors and Chiropractors over the years and received various advice.
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Research Supporting Obesity As A Cause
From a statistical point of view, there appears to be a strong and almost incontestable association between weight and lower back pain.
A 2010 review published in the American Journal of Epidemiology assessed data from 95 high-quality studies and concluded that the risk of lower back pain was directly related to increases in body mass index .
The figures were largely unsurprising. According to the research, people of normal weight were at lowest risk, overweight people had a moderate risk, while those who were obese had the highest risk overall. The study also found that overweight and obese people were more likely to seek medical care to treat their pain.
A 2017 study from the University of Tokyo Hospital in Japan came to a similar conclusion. In reviewing the medical history of 1,152 men from 1986 to 2009, the researchers found that a person’s BMI, combined the body fat percentage, directly corresponded to both the risk and rate of back problems.
Will Losing Weight Alleviate Your Back Pain
Back pain often lends itself to the creation of a vicious cycle. When people have back pain, they find themselves unwilling or unable to go about their everyday activities or exercise. These periods of rest often do more harm than good, and the back pain continues. This is why many experts recommend low-impact activities, like walking, to help heal from back pain.
Unfortunately, these periods of rest and inactivity may also cause weight gain and experts believe that weight gain may increase your risk of back pain.
Which begs the question: will losing weight alleviate your back pain?
Its a straightforward question, but the answer isnt so simple, despite many strong connections between back pain and being overweight. If you are concerned that your back pain may be connected to your weight, read on.
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Arthritis In Your Back
When you carry extra weight, it may also contribute to another degenerative problem, namely arthritis in the facet joints in your lower back. While your low back pain is attributed to arthritis, your weight may have exacerbated existing arthritis or caused arthritis to develop prematurely.
The bottom line is that, whether direct or indirect, your weight can influence whether or not you develop low back pain.
Weight Loss Tips For People With Chronic Pain
Do you live with chronic pain? It isnt easy to exercise when your body hurts all the time. You may put on weight as a result, which can worsen your pain and make you even less active. You might be frustrated by your lack of energy or inability to do things, so you eat more. This, in turn, increases your weight gain and chronic pain.
Ready to break this vicious cycle once and for all? Try these eight weight loss tips for people with chronic pain.
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How To Do Bird Dog Back Strengthening Exercise
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With approximately a third of people suffering from chronic back pain at some point in their lives, it is easy to swerve any kind of exercise for fear of making things worse. But lack of exercise commonly leads to weight gain, which is known to aggravate back pain even further by causing an increased spinal load, anterior pelvic tilt and poor mobility.
The good news is there is a way to prevent this.
Chris Wharton, Co-owner and Director of the Better Body Group, told Express.co.uk that although there is no easy fix, a regular and controlled exercise programme will help alleviate symptoms of back pain, prevent future episodes and help drop body fat.
He added: Exercise is one of the only ways to foster blood flow that distributes nutrients into the disc space and soft tissues in and around the spine. This exchange of nutrients through exercise keeps discs, muscles, ligaments and joints in the back healthy.
Chris has revealed his top tips for dropping belly fat, even when you are suffering from a bad back, but notes that you should seek medical advice before starting any back pain management programme.
Everyones Body Is Different A Grain
I truly believe that some people do better eating vegan or low fat, while others do best eating high-fat foods, meat, eggs, etc. Plenty of people experience perfect health on a variety of foods. We are all different. So please do your own research, talk to your doctor/s, and use your own judgments before you conclude a self-diagnosis of grain intolerance.
That being said, Ive come to the conclusion that The Blood Type Diet probably holds much truth and may even be a pretty good mark of how one might best eat. At least, it resonates with me personally.
The Blood Type Diet supports the theory that depending on your ancestry and blood type, different foods work better for different people.
For example, if youre of northern European descent and have type o blood, many of your ancestors ate a certain way: meat, potatoes, cabbage, and very little fruit. You may be better off with those & similar foods.
As opposed to if your ancestors are from a warm climate by the equator where mango trees and juicy fruits grow plentiful.
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Make Sure Your Pain Is Not Serious In Nature
If your back pain originates from an issue such as a previous spinal surgery, tumor, nerve root compression accompanied by neurological symptoms , spinal fracture, and/or spinal infections, weight training may not be suitable for you.3
A trained medical professional can help provide an accurate diagnosis and determine if weight training is safe to perform with your back pain.
Common Back Problems Affected By Obesity
Whether obesity is the cause or contributor to lower back pain, it is clear that the excess weight can do the back little good. As a structure that helps support the body and influence movement, the back has a normal spinal curve that is most effective in a neutral position.
When a person is obese, any added weight in the midsection shifts the pelvis forward and causes the spine to curve excessively inward. We call this hyperlordosis or swayback. It is a condition that exerts abnormal pressure on back muscles that are forced to bear the weight.
Exercises designed to strengthen the lower abdominal muscles may help counteract this effect and bring the pelvis back into a neutral position. But, more importantly, the loss of weight is key to relieving the strain on the back and spine.
Obesity can also exacerbate other common back conditions. Among them:
Read Also: How To Cure Slipped Disc In Lower Back
Exercise Programs For Weight Loss And Back Pain
A 2016 study found that sticking with a general exercise program may help you reduce chronic non-specific low back pain. Such a program might include strength training, stretching and aerobic activity. The study authors say that developing flexibility may help improve functional movement, and aerobic activity may increase blood flow and nutrients that go to the soft tissues of the body. This, in turn, may help reduce back stiffness.
And don’t forget your core. The researchers say that a strong core plays an important role in support of the low back.
How Losing Weight Can Help Relieve Lower Back Pain
Nearly one-third of the adult population in the United States is overweight, and more than 42% of adults have obesity, which means that more than two-thirds of adults are carrying excess pounds. If youre included in these numbers, youre more at risk for developing a wide range of health issues, including lower back pain.
The relationship between your weight and your risk for lower back pain is complex, which is why the team of pain management specialists here at Commonwealth Pain and Spine wants to take a closer look in this months blog post.
Here, we explore the connection between lower back pain and your weight and why losing some pounds can help you find relief.
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What Does It Mean To Be Obese
Obesity is medically defined as excess adipose tissue. You may be wondering what does that mean? Well, adipose tissue is the medical term for fat or loose connective tissue. If a person is deemed obese, he or she has accumulated enough body fat to the point where it is negatively affecting their health. In general, you are not considered obese until your body weight is at least 20% higher than it should be. The most common way to determine excess adipose tissue is the body mass index or BMI. Im sure youre wondering… How do I do that? Thankfully, at BraceAbility we have created a helpful blog post to determine your body mass index.
Search Methods For Identification Of Studies
An electronic search was conducted on CINAHL , Web of Science , Ovid Medline , Ovid Embase , and AMED to identify relevant articles. The search was not restricted to any specific language or year of publication. Key terms for weight loss and LBP were used and a search strategy was constructed in consultation with an experienced university librarian . Citation tracking of the included studies was performed using Web of Science . A manual search of the reference lists of previous reviews and eligible trials was also conducted.
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Exercise Precautions For People With Back Pain
While exercise is highly touted for reducing back pain, some conditions warrant safety modifications. For example, exercise is not recommended for an acute low back injury. Ask your healthcare provider or physical therapist for guidance if you feel you need it. Meanwhile, here are a few tips:
- Try to find the right level of intensity and timenot too much, not too little. If you have acute low back pain or sciatica, for example, a good rule of thumb might be instead of doing a workout, set a goal of avoiding bed rest, but also remaining pain-free as you resume daily activities.
- If you just cant get comfortable with the exercise, or it seems as though pain follows your every move, you may want to try an even gentler approach. Activities that seek to relax the tension and realign your body posture may help condition muscles and lubricate joints. In turn, this may help prevent re-injury and prepare your tissues for more intense exercise.Some examples of the gentler approach might include a water exercise routine or restorative yoga pose sequence that consists of:Pelvic tilts
The Drive To Lose Weight
Make an AppointmentTriHealth Weight Management
Mel knew he wanted to get his life back. He visited an orthopedic surgeon who told Mel hed need to lose weight to help his back. Mel lost 50 lbs., and his surgeon urged him to lose another 50. Mel faithfully did aquatic therapy in a warm-water pool and some walking, but he knew he needed help to get more weight off.
As he started investigating weight loss surgery, My friend told me Good Samaritan is the place to go, Mel says. He attended an information class and worked with the staff to gain insurance approval.
Ive been to a lot of doctors offices, and none of them has a staff like this. Theyre super people. The doctors set the tone, and everyone treats you like youre family.
Bariatric Surgeon George Kerlakian MD, performed a sleeve gastrectomy on Mel in 2013. During a minimally invasive surgery, Dr. Kerlakian removed two-thirds of his stomach to provide a quicker sense of fullness and to decrease his appetite.
I had no issues with the surgery, and the weight started coming off right away, Mel says. I eat a lot less, but I still eat things I like. Now, though, its not every day and just a little bite. Before the surgery, I could eat a large pizza by myself. The other night I had a spoon of sweet corn, a spoon of mashed potatoes and meat and thats all I wanted.
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How Is Going Grain
Going grain-free is different than going gluten-free diet because a grain-free diet eliminates not only gluten-containing foods like wheat but all other grains as well. That means rice, oats, rye, corn, and so on.
Going grain-free involves no cereal, bread, gluten-free flours, or gluten-free cookies No oatmeal, crackers, corn chips, or beer. On a grain-free diet, you would eat nothing that contains grains whatsoever.
FYI, quinoa and buckwheat are technically seeds. You may or may not tolerate them. I dont recommend either on a grain-free diet unless you can tolerate them.
Whats Your Back Looking Like
Hold on not so fast, pump the breaks we need to understand whats flowing throughout your body, and to properly asses whether or not you should do tick vs tack attack straight from the gates.
In all my years of helping people with chronic back pain lose weight, the one thing I have to know first is where is the pain coming from. What this allows me to do is know whether or not a certain movement you should restrain from and those that you should incorporate to your daily routine.
A bad back comes in two segments:
1. Non specific acute and chronic lower back pain. Pain that is just developing without it being related to your spine, and increases in threshold over time.
2. Specific acute and chronic lower back pain. This type of pain is reflected upon your spine, and can start of small, and build its way over time without proper care for.
Whether its #1 or #2, we will look at both. If lets say you have pain that is non specific, it gives me a better idea that I can move you through the ropes of exercising. It tells me that I dont have to exactly put you on a supplement plan just yet, and that you can go right away into low impact activities.
The low impact activities that you have available are:
Picking one of these activities and doing them for at least 30 minutes a day will help strengthen your back, help with your posture, and youll start to see an increase in aerobic activity, hence a loss in weight.
Heres the step-by-step plan I want you to follow:
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