A lot of people with low back pain find their way to my chiropractic practice. And I see a lot of overweight people, too – after all, this is America, land of the free and home of the quarter pounder with fries and a coke.
I know that all the extra poundage doesn’t help with back problems. But I never wanted to make a big fuss about losing weight.
My patients don’t come to see me so I can bug them about their weight — they want to see what manual therapy can do for their back pain. After all, chiropractic has a lot to offer low back sufferers. So what if you’re carrying an extra 20, 30, or 40 pounds? You can still get pain relief.
Besides which, focusing on someone’s weight is a little politically incorrect. We need to accept ourselves more and stop trying to conform to a fake Hollywood, Photoshopped ideal.
Still, the truth must be faced.
Obesity is a major contributor to back pain. Here are some recent research articles that prove it.
- The more fat you have, the more likely you are to have back pain (and the more intense the pain, too)
- Kids who are obese have degenerating discs at a young age and are more likely to have back pain
- A medically-supervised weight-loss program not only takes off the pounds, it helps alleviate back pain.
The evidence is overwhelming — trimming excess body fat is a cornerstone of any multidimensional program to control back pain.
Another myth busted
Perhaps you believe what I used to believe – that it’s hard to lose weight, and even if you do lose weight, it’s hard to keep it off.
It’s not true.
In 2001 the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published a compilation of all the research that had looked at the long term effects of weight-loss programs. In the aggregate, about half of the people were able to maintain a 5% weight loss for five years. And 30% had lost more than 10% of their original body weight and kept it off for five years.
There can be many roadblocks on the way to recovering from back pain. Don’t let excess body weight be the one holding you back.