The undisputed number one health problem in the U.S. today is obesity. Research shows that 35% of U.S. adults are currently obese, and more than 34% are battling extra pounds. Today, 1 in 3 children in America is overweight or obese, which is nearly three times the prevalence from just one generation ago.
Of the wide range of afflictions related to being overweight or obese, low back pain is often treated with less importance or downright ignored, although it can detrimentally impact an individual’s quality of life. From herniated discs to osteoporosis, excess weight can take its toll on your back and life.
Overweight individuals often experience more difficulty in recovering from even minor back problems, and back surgery is rarely a risk-free solution for the super obese. Here are some of the most common back injuries related to being overweight:
- Herniated disk. The intervertebral discs acting as shock absorbers between the vertebrae in the spine are naturally prone to wear and tear. When a person carries around excess body fat, even more strain is placed on the intervertebral discs, speeding up the deterioration of the anatomical components of the spine and causing one or more herniated discs to develop.
- Osteoarthritis of the spine (OA). Excess weight is a well-known risk factor for developing OA. Population-based studies have consistently shown a connection between overweight or obesity and OA. Overweight women have nearly four times the risk of developing knee OA; for overweight men, the risk is five times greater.
- Lugging around a large amount of weight in your mid-section may pull your pelvis forward and increase the curve in your back, leading to lordosis. An individual suffering from this condition will report tightened back muscles and back strain, as well as pain, stiffness, tension, or difficulty moving the affected area.
- Spondylolysis and Spondylolisthesis. Obesity can cause both diseases by increasing strain in the joint that normally keeps the spine aligned. Also, as in the case of lordosis, obesity may pull the pelvis forward, accentuating the low back curve.
- Diffuse Idiopathic Skeletal Hyperostosis (DISH). More common in elderly men than any other age groups, DISH – the hardening of one of the ligaments of the spine – has been linked to a high BMI, a measure that classifies individuals as overweight.
Nutritional Guidance Can Rid You of the Extra Weight – and Pain
To prevent and help treat low back pain associated with excess weight, proper nutrition and exercise are crucial. Being overweight, especially in the mid-section, will shift your entire center of gravity forward and place additional strain on your back muscles, leading to acute or chronic pain and discomfort, a restricted range of motion, and an overall decreased quality of life.
There are many things you can do to facilitate safe and effective weight-reducing practicesClick To Tweet
Participating in moderate physical activity, cutting back on harmful fats and calories, or changing your diet to include more raw foods and fiber can help you to some extent relieve the burden of extra pounds.
However, if you are looking to pinpoint your specific nutritional deficiencies and successfully control your health conditions through a rigorous diet, a few visits to your local chiropractor’s office may help you feel noticeably better. That’s right, chiropractors aren’t just good at treating your back or neck pain. By focusing on the body as a whole rather than on treating individual symptoms, chiropractors offer whole-body wellness plans that help patients manage, reduce the risk of, and even reverse chronic ailments.
Through comprehensive nutritional guidance, exercise, stress management, and appropriate nutritional supplementation, your chiropractor can help you get to the root of what in your diet and life is making you unhealthy. Your requirement for nutrients will be evaluated based on your genetic makeup, your health condition, and your lifestyle, and you will be given proactive recommendations to put you on the path to better health and wellbeing.
Knowing what to eat, how to eat, and when to eat can all play an important role in your battle with the extra pounds and associated health conditions. For many people, it all comes down to changing their understanding of what is considered good or bad, but what’s good for an individual can be wrong for another. Having an experienced chiropractor by your side will make it easy for you to understand which foods have a positive impact on your low back pain and can give you the optimal health you desire.
About the Author
Dr. Marc Browner is the Founder of iChiropractic and Wellness in Naples, Florida. A graduate of the University of Florida in 1991, he earned his Doctor of Chiropractic degree from Life Chiropractic in 1995. In private practice since 1998, Dr. Browner is a member of the Florida Chiropractic Society, the Florida Chiropractic Association, and he attends continuing education seminars, classes, and workshops to remain abreast of the most current treatment methods and technological advances in the field.