One of the least surprising causes of back pain is being overweight. Yet, many people who are heavier than they should be do not recognize their weight as a factor of their back pain. Perhaps one of the reasons is that not all people who are overweight consider it a problem. Many maintain a consistent weight and are happy with the way they look and feel. It is those people who continue to gain weight that are the ones who truly have the problems.
While researchers are not even certain exactly how the excess weight affects a person, they do know that the heavier a person is the more likely they are to experience joint pain, back pain and general muscle strain. Studies have shown that each excessive pound put on adds muscle strain. They know that the spine must find a way to compensate for the weight and unfortunately it often does this by becoming bent to take on the extra weight. The more weight a person continues to put on the more dangerous this curve may become. The spine will, as the weight continues to be piled on, lose its ability to properly support the back. This puts the obese person at risk for many medical problems and lots of back pain.
Studies tell us that women who have very large stomachs are going to have pelvic problems and that an obese woman, one whose waist is particularly large, will most likely suffer from lower back strain and back pain. Obese people can also develop sciatica; a herniated disc causes this problem. This is not an unlikely scenario as the damage of the extra weight can definitely cause a herniated disc, pinched nerves or other problems such as compressed discs. Over the long term the outlook is not great. An obese person is more likely to have osteoarthritis than someone whose weight is reasonable for his or her height.
If back surgery is a prospect the obese patient must attempt some weight reduction. This is because otherwise the surgery could fail. As well, obese people are more likely to have surgical complications, including infections.
So, what should a person do who is very overweight, perhaps bordering on obesity, and suffering from back strain and the pain that accompanies it? Obviously they should lose weight. It sounds like a simple statement, but is a fact. It’s not an easy thing to do if you have been heavy for many years. No one is saying that the person should become stick thin, that is not healthy either, but a weight reduction program, designed with the help of a competent health care provider would go a long to fixing many of the medical problems that an overweight individual would have to live with. It is unwise to embark on a weight reduction program without some outside help as the program must be a mix of exercise and diet and must be conducted carefully so as not to create other medical issues.