Losing weight can be one of the hardest things to do. It is also one of the best things anyone can do to get rid of back pain and optimize overall health. Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight impacts the whole body, especially the spine. It is prevalent for individuals who are overweight to experience back pain. This comes from the added weight that the feet, legs, pelvis, and spine have to support. For many, once the weight comes off, the back pain reduces significantly and/or disappears completely. For those embarking on a weight loss journey, our:
- Chiropractic team
- Physical therapists
- Health coach
- Can provide resources to plan, encourage, and assist in reaching health goals.
Overweight, Obesity and Back Pain
Spine pain is one of the top reasons individuals see a doctor. The need to lose weight is based on body mass index/BMI. BMI can be an indicator that an individual’s weight might not be in a healthy range. BMI ranges:
- Normal weight – Body Mass Index of less than 25
- Overweight – Body Mass Index of 25 to 30
- Obese – Body Mass Index of 31 to 35
- Extremely obese – Body Mass Index of 36 or higher
If unsure about how to get an accurate BMI measurement, talk to our team about InBody Testing.
Added Weight Places Pressure On the Spine
Added bodyweight places added strain on the low back. Studies have linked obesity with degenerative disc problems. Combined with the physical impact the added weight has on the spine and overall health, it can also affect spine surgery outcomes. Studies have shown that some overweight/obese individuals have an increased risk for surgery-related complications like:
- Issues recovering from anesthesia
- Overall recovery struggles
The good news is that individuals do not have to lose a significant amount of weight to see and feel the benefits. Losing 15% of excess weight will improve chronic back pain.
Successful weight loss is the ability to maintain the loss. It needs to be something that can be committed to and brought into an individual’s lifestyle. Trying to go hard with an extreme diet or intense exercise program is not recommended. This is like not having any long-distance running knowledge along with training but entering a 12345K race. An individual will collapse after a few blocks. And sustained weight loss is just that, a long-distance journey that requires:
- Getting educated about what is going on with the body
- Understanding how foods affect/impact the body
- Understanding the body’s unique needs to lose weight
- Developing a personal health goal plan
- Following through
Lifestyle factors contribute to healthy body weight. Being able to embed healthy habits into one’s life is the objective. Although it can sound easy to do, it can be a challenging process. With professional help, individuals can:
- Maintain a nutritious and balanced diet
- Have an active lifestyle
- Maintain healthy sleep habits
- Keep stress under control
Discussing a weight loss plan is very important. A professional health coach, nutritionist, and chiropractor will develop the right program that considers an individual’s specific health status.
Achieving a healthy weight will reduce to relieve back pain completely and significantly improve quality of life. Weight management is challenging, but once the benefits are seen and felt, it becomes second nature.
The kidneys pump more than 400 gallons of recycled blood through the body every day. These organs work nonstop to filter blood and remove waste. If the kidneys become impaired, the body can become overloaded with waste. Unhealthy lifestyle choices can harm/damage the kidneys. Kidney disease progresses slowly over the years. Individuals can lose 90 percent of kidney function before symptoms become serious. Chronic kidney disease is not reversible. However, with lifestyle adjustments, an individual can lower their risk of developing kidney-related diseases.
Drink plenty of water to clear sodium, urea, and toxins from the body and prevents kidney stones. Try to drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day. Every individual’s body water levels are different. A body composition test can determine what is normal for the individual.
Maintain healthy diet
Poor diet contributes to visceral fat gain. This has been linked to chronic kidney disease. Reduce visceral fat by eating a healthy diet of vegetables, fruit, and lean protein. Cut down on salty, processed foods. Body composition testing can help form an individualized diet plan to reduce visceral fat.
Supplements, antibiotics, and OTC medications
Overuse of common over-the-counter medications and supplements can cause kidney damage and disease. Consult with a doctor before taking medications and supplements if there is kidney function impairment.
Maintain fitness and physical activity
Cardio and strength training exercises are recommended. High blood sugar levels stress the kidneys. Building adequate muscle mass will help control blood sugar. A body composition test can make sure there are adequate amounts of muscle mass.
Liuke M, Solovieva S, Lamminen A, Luoma K, et al. Disc degeneration of the lumbar spine in relation to overweight. Int J Obes (Lond). 2005;29(8):903-908.
Ogden CL, Carroll MD, Fryar CD, Flegal KM. Prevalence of Obesity Among Adults and Youth: the United States, 2011–2014. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: National Center for Health Statistics.www.cdc.gov/nchs/products/databriefs/db219.htm. Page last updated: October 28, 2015. Accessed July 10, 2017
Samartzis D, Karppinen J, Chan D, Luk KD, et al. The association of lumbar intervertebral disc degeneration on magnetic resonance imaging with body mass index in overweight and obese adults: A population-based study. Arthritis & Rheumatology. 2012;64(5):1488-1496.
The information herein on "Losing Weight To Alleviate Back Pain" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional, or licensed physician, and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make your own healthcare decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.
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Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, CIFM*, IFMCP*, ATN*, CCST
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