Obesity and lower back pain; your chiropractor has good news for you.
A new study in the Journal Spine suggests that obesity is linked to disc damage in the lumbar spine.
Do all obese patients have lower back pain? Not necessarily however, there is a growing body of evidence that suggests that our structures are designed to carry a certain amount of weight and going beyond that will accelerate damage to the joints of the spine, knees and even the hips.
In the case of the lower back discs, can we say that all patients who lose weight will not have lower back pain; of course not. On the other hand, if you have an asymmetrical build, as many lower back sufferers do, it will cause sheering forces to the discs damaging them over time. Adding the additional weight to those discs will accelerate that damage since the weight amplifies the forces on the discs themselves.
The problem is, how do you lose the weight and keep it off? There are many ways to do this safely and effectively, especially if you are morbidly obese. Recently, a family member went on Medifast and over a couple of months is down about 50 pounds. Another family member did the same. While of course there are many other solutions to losing the weight, this diet will take it off quickly.
Once you lose the weight, you will experience freedoms of mobility you did not realize before, since your waist, hips, arms and shoulders will be lighter and there is less weight to move around.
The next step is improving your physical fitness which can improve your overall health as well. For those who have lost this type of weight, without resorting to other heavily promoted medical procedures such as lap bands which force you to alter your life, and eating habits and do not necessarily help you maintain your weight, changing the way you eat is an important path to success.
There are easy ways to stay in shape, and devices such as the fitbit and other newer devices designed to work with your smartphone can help you quantify your path to fitness and long term success.
If you have back problems that are aggravated by your weight, there is never a better time than now to begin losing the weight and getting in shape.
For those who have lost the weight, and want to see what they lost, take a back pack, fill it with rocks that weigh what you lost and you will have a good idea of what you are no longer carrying around with you.
How can your chiropractor help?
Your chiropractor may be able to suggest a diet plan, or perhaps, offer a referral to someone who can help you lose the weight. With regards to lower back pain, your chiropractor is the best choice for helping you manage most lower back problems. If they cannot help, they will send you to someone who can.
Reference: Urquhart DM, et al. Obesity is associated with reduced disc height in the lumbar spine but not at the lumbosacral junction. Spine 2014.