Connect With Us: 
Call Now (503) 439-9494
Is Obesity Linked to Low Back Pain?

Is Obesity Linked to Low Back Pain?

Low back pain has been recognized as a problem of epidemic proportions. It’s estimated that approximately 80% of the North American population will experience debilitating back pain at some point in their adult lives. It’s no surprise that more and more people are seeking chiropractors to find relief.

What’s even more alarming is the apparent link between the incidence of low back pain and obesity. According to the American Obesity Association, 64.5% of adult Americans (about 127 million) are considered overweight or obese. Recent evidence suggests that obesity seriously impacts the musculo­skeletal system, increasing the risk of low back pain as well as osteoarthritis, spondylolisthesis, degenerative disc disease and spinal stenosis. One study in particular showed that people who underwent surgery to help them lose weight also experienced less low back pain.

Causes and Effects of Obesity and Low Back Pain

Some studies suggest that the link between obesity and low back pain is inconclusive. But they’re several obvious reasons why an obese person would experience more of this type of pain.

First, we should look at the common causes of obesity. If we exclude certain genetic or hormonal diseases, we discover North American obesity is primarily related to poor nutrition and lack of exercise. Our meals are often high in saturated fat and low in essential fatty acids. This leaves us prone to inflammatory states like arthritis. The large amounts of caffeine we consume also robs the skeleton of its bone­ building calcium. And if we take into account our sedentary lifestyle, the body lacks the necessary weight­ bearing effects to maintain a fortified skeletal structure. The result is an increased incidence of osteoporosis and bone fractures.

As a person packs on more weight, moving around becomes difficult.
Therefore, many obese people choose to remain inactive. But this leads to big problems. Lack of movement in the joints can accelerate degenerative changes, which are seen in cases of osteoarthritis. If an obese person does remain active, the extra body weight puts additional stress and strain on the muscles, tendons, ligaments and joints.

Postural changes are also common in obese people, usually caused by carrying extra weight in their abdomen. As the size of the mid-section increases, the person’s center of gravity shifts forward and the lower back curve is exaggerated to accommodate for these changes. This adds more compressive loads on the joints of the lower back, increasing the risk of subluxation and pain.

What You Can Do About Weight Problems

When faced with any health issue, the first thing you should do is consult with healthcare professionals. Your medical doctor can order blood tests to rule out hormonal imbalances or genetic metabolic disorders. Your chiropractor is knowledgeable in nutrition and exercise and is an excellent source for help in these areas.

Secondly, take control of the two most powerful factors controlling your body weight: diet and exercise. Portion control is one of the easiest ways to reduce excess body fat. Eat slowly and stop consuming when you’re no longer hungry. Eating because your body needs the fuel is different than eating because you enjoy the food.

Think of the body as a machine with moving parts, and give it the right fuel to keep the engine running smoothly. Before starting an exercise program, also check with your doctor of chiropractic. Weeks, months or years of inactivity can leave your body too weak to pick up where you left off.
Consider hiring a personal trainer. If cost is a factor, have the trainer design a starting program that you can do on your own, then update the program every six weeks or so. This gives you the best chance for continued progress, and keeps you more interested as your exercise routine varies.

Above all else, keep a positive mental attitude. Read about people who have achieved what you’re setting out to do, and tell yourself, “If they did it, so can I!” Value your health, and experience how the aches and pains get less and less as your body gets lighter and lighter.

Sorry, comments are closed for this post.

Ready to participate more fully in life?

Resolve long-standing discomfort and regain your physical freedom.

Call Today

(503) 439-9494
(503) 645-4404
15220 NW Greenbrier Parkway, Suite 260,
Beaverton, OR. 97006

Click for Map

Contact Us Today!

Call, email, or stop by today. We'd love to see you!

Ready to participate more fully in life? Resolve long-standing discomfort and regain your physical freedom. Scheduling is most effectively done through the phone or email during business hours. Every effort will be made to return your contact as soon as possible.

We bill Auto Insurance (PIP) and Health insurance (Excluding Worker’s Comp and OHP/Medicaid). Give us a call. We’ll gladly make a courtesy check of your insurance benefits.

Participating Provider chiro health

Schedule an Appointment!