Obesity is a widespread problem in the country, affecting about 42.4 percent of our population. It’s a serious health concern that puts a person at more risk for various health problems, including low back pain. Notably, many obese patients seeking upper cervical care experience worse symptoms than those with an average or normal body mass index. But what’s the connection? Why do obese people experience worse pain in their back?
Obesity and Achy Backs – A Closer Look
Besides putting undue pressure on the pelvic bone and spinal column, studies claim that obesity has other effects on an achy back. Some researchers believe that the excess layers of fats can trigger significant metabolism changes, contributing to back pain. Others, on the one hand, note that obesity causes an inflammatory effect that aggravates existing conditions. It can also encourage a sedentary lifestyle, another factor that contributes to backache.
Here are some of the common back pain concerns that gets worse because of obesity:
#1. Herniated discs
Herniated discs or bulging discs are common problems among aging people. Obesity makes it worse because of the additional pressure on the affected discs. Most patients diagnosed with herniated discs experience lumbar or low back pain and sciatica. Obese individuals with disc herniation also often need surgical intervention to address their symptoms.
#2. Spinal osteoarthritis
Being overweight adds to the worsening of spinal osteoarthritis symptoms. That’s because the excess weight impacts the joints when you move or rest. It can also cause the spinal column to adjust or tilt at a weird angle to compensate for the additional weight.
#3. Disc degeneration disease
About 40 percent of the adult population in the country has a disc degeneration disease. Sadly, a significant fraction of these individuals are obese. According to a study, excess fat tissues in the body increase the levels of Leptin and Resistin in the bloodstream.
Leptin and Resistin are pro-inflammatory substances. Furthermore, they tend to increase the production of chemicals that degrade the quality of your cartilages.
Managing Weight When You Have Back Pain
If you’re obese and you currently experience back pain, we highly recommend managing your weight. It will help you experience lasting relief, especially once you start receiving upper cervical care or trying other pack pain remedies. Here are some weight management tips you can follow:
- Be smart about what you eat – Consuming unhealthy food (or even healthy ones) at an alarming amount will most definitely lead to excessive weight gain. Be sure to eat just enough portions of your veggies, fruits, nutritious fats, and lean protein.
- Increase your physical activity – Exercising can help manage both obesity and back pain problems. We recommend trying low-impact exercises like walking, stationary bicycling, and swimming to keep your body moving.
- Work on your sleep hygiene – Did you know that sleep-deprived individuals tend to have a higher risk of becoming obese? That’s why it’s crucial to develop excellent sleep hygiene. You can start by following these tips:
- Set a consistent sleeping and waking schedule
- Avoid blue light exposure before bedtime
- Adjust the lighting
- Avoid overeating before you sleep
Other Factors that Can Worsen Back Pain
Apart from obesity, it would be best to look out for other back pain risk factors. This way, you can manage your pain more efficiently. Here are some of the other things that can aggravate an aching back:
Many adults (30s to 60s) develop back pain-causing conditions such as degenerative disc disease and spinal osteoarthritis. That’s because as we grow old, the quality of the discs, joints, and bones changes. The protective layer between the spinal column also slowly wears out, causing increased friction when you move your body.
Family history of low back pain
According to some studies, disc-related low back pain might run in the blood. If some of your family members complain about an achy back because of a worn-out disc, you will likely develop the same problem as you age.
The growing fetus inside a woman’s womb can put an additional strain on the lower back and the pelvis. It also increases the risk for nerve pinching problems such as sciatica. This is why many pregnant women, especially those in their second and third trimesters, tend to experience sharp and searing pain as they reach full term.
The recent shift in the remote working setup has caused more patients to seek upper cervical care for low back pain relief. Studies explain that poor posture can heavily impact the spinal alignment, especially along the neck region. This leads to cervical subluxation and, later on, massive changes in your spine’s natural curvature.
As mentioned earlier, maintaining a sedentary lifestyle is bad news for people with back pain. That’s because it increases pressure in the muscles and joints. It will also cause you to miss out on the opportunity to release your body’s natural pain killers or endorphins.
Some jobs come with occupational risks, so sometimes, back pain becomes a regular part of a worker’s life. While some cases of job-related back pains can resolve on their own, others require intervention like upper cervical care because of cervical subluxation.
Previous neck trauma
If you previously had an injury to your head or neck because of a car collision or intense physical activity (such as football or soccer), you might have misaligned neck bones. Unintentionally, your previous neck injury might also be the reason for a pinched nerve along your lumbar region.
Upper Cervical Care for Low Back Pain Sufferers
If you are obese and have some of the risk factors we listed above, you might find upper cervical chiropractic care to relieve your back pain. Upper cervical care is among the leading techniques used to eliminate chronic pain. It focuses on the alignment of the C1 and C2 bones, which supports the head and encases your brainstem.
Having your cervical spinal alignment restored can potentially fix issues along the spine and relieve pressure on the nerves and other tissues. This way, you can gradually get rid of your symptoms and live a pain-free life.
For more information on how the upper cervical chiropractic technique works, don’t hesitate to contact an upper cervical chiropractor.