Many Americans live with pain from injury, poor habits, and other lifestyle choices. Excess weight can be a major contributor to back pain. Living with back pain can make the simplest tasks challenging. Nearly one third of obese Americans suffer some form of back pain. There are different ways that obesity can contribute to back pain.
- Excess weight puts extra strain on muscles and ligaments that can lead to back pain.
- The spine can suffer tilting or curvature from the stress of excess weight.
- Being obese can lead to discomfort, fatigue, and shortness of breath during exercise. This may lead to a lack of exercise. Lack of exercise is one main cause of back pain.
- Lower back pain is often due to excess weight carried in the stomach area because it pulls the pelvis forward.
- The pressure of extra weight on the spine can cause a herniated disc and lead to sciatica, pinched nerves, or piriformis syndrome.
- A Body Mass Index (BMI) greater than 25 puts people at higher risk for osteoarthritis and back pain due to arthritis symptoms.
Who is at Risk?
A BMI of 25 – 29.9 is considered overweight. A BMI of 30 or higher is usually considered obese. The location that fat is carried affects the risk level. Weight carried around the stomach is most damaging to the lower back. Weight loss is generally suggested for women with a waist measurement of 35 inches or higher and for men with a waist more than 40 inches.
How is Weight Loss Accomplished?
If you are overweight and are at risk for or already suffer back pain, there are many lifestyle changes you can make. Consult with your doctor to determine an exercise regime. Begin slowly and work your way up to more challenging workouts. Aim for at least 30 minutes a day of heart-pumping exercise. There is no perfect exercise routine for weight loss. There are classes, groups that motivate each other, equipment and workout videos you can use at home, and many different gym programs available. You have to find out which works best for you.
A healthy diet will also increase your energy for exercise and lead to weight loss. Focus on whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and low fat dairy. Avoid excess carbs, fatty foods, and excess sodium.
The Medical Center Plano can help you manage your back pain. You can also learn more about weight loss by visiting us online or in person. Medical Center Plano is here to help you make better lifestyle choices that will make you healthier and happier.