Belly fat is a gateway to back pain/spinal issues that can lead to various health problems. The bulging belly population has grown a bit since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. 37% of individuals have gained weight since it began, according to a global Ipsos survey. If back pain is presenting and there is excess weight around the abdomen known as abdominal obesity, this could be a contributing factor.
Belly fat and posture
When the natural curves of the spine are normal, the core is stable and well-supported. Excessive weight, including a large abdomen, shifts these curves out of correct alignment. Excessive abdominal fat has been associated with lordosis, which is an excessive inward curve of the spine toward the lower back. One study found that severely obese individuals had pain and changes in posture. This was especially visible in the spine, knees, and feet.
The back pain felt from a bulging belly can be caused by a shift in posture and body mechanics. Studies show these can have a negative impact on back pain and body positioning. All or most of the weight is placed on the lower back.
Abdominal obesity can damage/injure the discs/shock absorbers of the spine. This leads to:
And a bulging belly can flatten the height of the intervertebral discs.
Fat pollutants in the blood
Fat can accumulate and secrete toxins that contribute to swelling and inflammation that can be painful. Over time, these toxins wear down components of the skeletal system. A study found potential links between obesity and degenerative disc disease. Scientists found a connection in obese men, but not obese women. This is believed to be because men tend to store fat in their bellies, and women tend to store fat in the buttocks and thighs.
Damage to the musculoskeletal system
The bones constantly renew themselves, but when there is excess body fat it can interfere with the process. This has the potential to turn into osteoporosis over time. Studies associate visceral fat with lower bone mineral density, and an increase in the risk of fractures.
Ankylosing spondylitis treatment and fat interference
Ankylosing spondylitis is an inflammatory disease that causes chronic back pain and can cause the vertebrae to fuse. The back can be extremely stiff, and the condition can lead to a permanently hunched posture. There are medications to improve symptoms and slow the disease. However, being overweight reduces the drugs’ effectiveness. This is because belly fat can cause medication absorption problems.
Rare spinal condition linked to obesity
Obesity along with a high Body Mass Index increases the risk of a rare condition called spinal epidural lipomatosis or SEL. This is an overgrowth of body fat in the spinal canal. Spinal epidural lipomatosis can cause various types of back pain. This is why it is recommended to have a doctor examine and evaluate any aches or pains.
Kombucha beneficial for gut bacteria
Kombucha contains a wide variety of bacteria and fungi that helps ferment the sugar in kombucha drinks. It is able to affect the existing microbes in the gut by inhibiting the growth of various gut-dwelling pathogens. These include:
- It is a probiotic drink made from fermenting green or black tea
- It is made up of healthy bacteria that produce acetic acid that is beneficial for blood sugar, insulin levels, and body composition
- It helps the body process food by lowering insulin levels after a meal
- It contains polyphenols that reduce oxidative stress, to help fight disease risks
- It destroys unhealthy bacteria in the gut
- It helps increase healthy bacteria
Kombucha can be thought of as a natural antibiotic. However, it does not come with the weight-gain side effect. Improving the health of the gut through fermented foods like kombucha help reduce the risk for weight gain/obesity, as well as restore gut health for those trying to lose weight by creating a healthy gut environment.
The information herein is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional, licensed physician, and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make your own health care decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified health care professional. Our information scope is limited to chiropractic, musculoskeletal, physical medicines, wellness, sensitive health issues, functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions. We provide and present clinical collaboration with specialists from a wide array of disciplines. Each specialist is governed by their professional scope of practice and their jurisdiction of licensure. We use functional health & wellness protocols to treat and support care for the musculoskeletal system’s injuries or disorders. Our videos, posts, topics, subjects, and insights cover clinical matters, issues, and topics that relate to and support, directly or indirectly, our clinical scope of practice.* Our office has made a reasonable attempt to provide supportive citations and has identified the relevant research study or studies supporting our posts. We provide copies of supporting research studies available to regulatory boards and the public upon request. We understand that we cover matters that require an additional explanation of how it may assist in a particular care plan or treatment protocol; therefore, to further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to ask Dr. Alex Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900.
Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, CCST, IFMCP, CIFM, CTG*
Licensed in Texas & New Mexico
Osong Public Health and Research Perspectives. (2016) “Influence of Obesity on Postural Stability in Young Adults.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5194219/
Obesity Surgery. (2005) “Postural changes in morbidly obese patients.” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16105399/
Arthritis Research & Therapy. (2017) “Fat mass and fat distribution are associated with low back pain intensity and disability: results from a cohort study.” https://arthritis-research.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13075-017-1242-z
Clinical and Investigative Medicine. (2014) “Visceral fat reflects disease activity in patients with ankylosing spondylitis.” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24895992/
European Spine Journal. (2012). “Rapid progression of spinal epidural lipomatosis.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3369035/