Back pain is a common medical condition. There are various factors that can cause back pain, but is obesity is one of them? Yes, it is. Being overweight can affect the functioning of the body by putting stress on the joints and back, and cause back pain. Let’s first look at the factors that contribute to weight gain.
The main causes of weight gain and obesity are:
- Inactivity and lack of sufficient exercise
- Using certain medicines
- Lack of sleep
- Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
- Health issues related to the heart and kidney
- Ovarian cancer
- Depression or anxiety
The more weight you gain, the higher your risk for developing back pain. Each extra pound you add on increases the stress on the spine, weakens the muscles and puts pressure on the soft tissues around the vertebrae. Over time, build up of belly fat can cause the pelvis and lower back to slant forward, resulting in a curve in the back – and back pain.
Losing weight can ease back pain. If your weight gain is due to an underlying health condition such as an underactive thyroid or due to the use of steroid medications, you need to see your doctor for help to control it. If you put on weight because of your lifestyle, making the right modifications could help. It’s advisable to consult your doctor about this too.
Though exercise can promote weight loss, it might not be the right option if you have back pain. So, as a primary step, you should evaluate your lifestyle, identify the reasons for being overweight, and draft a suitable weight loss plan. Here are some strategies that can help
- Low-impact exercises: Gentle exercise like swimming and walking will not overstrain the muscles in the back or other joints in the body. Avoid sitting for long periods of time. Walking after a meal would help to burn extra calories, ease inflammation, and increase metabolism.
- Maintain healthy diet: Be mindful about what you eat. Include more low-fat food stuffs, vegetables, and so on in your diet. Avoid foods that cause inflammation such as white bread and pastries, fried food including French fries, soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages, red meat and processed meat, margarine, shortening, and lard, etc.
- Maintain proper posture: Maintain proper posture while sitting or sleeping. Unhealthy posture can lead to back and neck pain. Ask your doctor about exercises that can improve posture.
- Proper sleep: Proper sleep is necessary for maintaining good health. Lack of sleep might result in weight gain. Check if your mattress is the reason for poor sleep. A sagging mattress can cause back pain and affect your sleep.
Locating the exact location of pain is essential. Some people experience pain in the lower back. However, other parts of your back can be affected. Locating where the pain is can lead you to the right treatment.
Losing weight, maintaining proper posture and following a healthy lifestyle can improve back pain.