Many people are looking to lose weight – to look better, get in shape for that big wedding or event, or for a confidence boost. But what if the extra weight was such an issue that it was a danger to your health? This is called obesity, and it is becoming more and more common in the United States.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than one third of Americans (35.7%) are obese. Being obese puts people at a higher risk for a host of health issues including heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and sleep apnea. The definition of obesity is having an excess of body fat to the point that it endangers your health. The easiest way to calculate obesity is by measuring body mass index (BMI). BMI combines your height and weight, and can help determine if your weight is unhealthy. You can calculate your BMI online using this tool.
Obesity can be caused by having an unhealthy diet, a sedentary lifestyle, or it can be genetic. The main recommendation for combating obesity is eating healthier and becoming more active. There are surgical options for curing obesity, but the first step is to work on losing weight without surgical intervention.
Obesity can also contribute to back pain. Studies have found that there is an association between obesity and lower back pain.
Research was presented at the North American Spine Society’s annual meeting demonstrating the link between obesity and back pain. The research was made up of data from the National Health and Nutritional Examination survey, which involved 6,796 people. The data showed that the higher a person’s BMI, the more likely they were to experience back pain. The study recommends moderate exercise to help people who are obese to combat their back pain, and become more active.
A connection has also been found between obesity and degenerative disc disease. A study in China found that BMI was significantly higher in people with degenerative disc disease. This is a condition wherein discs in the spine begin to break down, causing back pain.
However, it is difficult to say what exactly the link is between back pain and obesity. No one cause has been proven. Some possible reasons are:
- Weight gain can cause pressure on the discs in the spine.
- Chronic inflammation brought on by fat cells could lead to disc degeneration.
- Obesity may cause changes in the body that affect the spine.
- Osteoarthritis can exacerbate back pain and decrease the amount of exercise and activity done by the person.
- Back pain could be linked to a chronic pain condition.
- High levels of stress can worsen pain.
No matter the reason, experts agree that losing weight can only help. Weight loss will decrease the risk for back pain and serious health problems such as heart disease and diabetes. Research has not yet confirmed the reason for the obesity and back pain, but the relationship is there. The best thing you can do if you’re experiencing moderate back pain is low-impact exercise such as walking.
If you are suffering from back pain, contact us. Or call our dedicated Medical Concierge 800-890-1964 to learn more or set up a consultation.