How Weight Affects Back Pain

How Weight Affects Back Pain

Severe back pain is one of the many complications that can result from excess weight and obesity. People who carry around excess weight are often at a greater risk for back pain, joint pain and muscle strain, compared to those who aren’t overweight. According to the American Obesity Association, musculoskeletal pain, specifically in the back, is common among close to one third of obese Americans.

How being overweight contributes to back pain

Some of the most common weight-related issues include musculoskeletal and joint pain. With each pound adds strain, and many extra pounds can add up to significant strain to the muscles and ligaments in the back. To compensate for the added weight, the spine can tilt abnormally and place additional, uneven stress on the back. Over time, this can lead to the deterioration of proper back support and an abnormal spinal curvature. In addition, excess fat surrounding the waist forces the pelvis to push forward, straining the lower back and leading to more pain.

Conditions caused or aggravated by obesity

Excess weight can aggravate — or cause — certain painful conditions, including:

  • Sciatica (pain that radiates down the legs from the lower back)
  • Herniated discs
  • Pinched nerves
  • Arthritis of the spine

In addition, the effectiveness of back surgery is complicated by excess weight. These patients are also at an increased risk for complications and infections following surgery.

Losing weight to reduce back pain

With low-impact exercise and a healthy diet, you can lose the weight that could be contributing to your back pain. Exercises like walking, swimming, and yoga are easy on your joints and can be easily incorporated into your daily routine. Also be sure to consume a nutrient-dense diet consisting of lean meats, fresh produce, and plenty of water.

If back pain is affecting your daily life, call the spine specialists at Spine Surgery of Idaho today at (208) 944-0056 to schedule an appointment.