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Obesity and Back Pain

Obesity and Back Pain

If you are overweight and experiencing back pain, there may be a simple reason: your weight. When it comes to obesity and back pain, the two go hand in hand. Studies have shown that there is a positive correlation between those who have been classified as obese and an increase in back and joint pain. Therefore, if you are suffering from back pain, it may be time to shed unwanted pounds prior to undergoing treatment. Not only can extra weight exacerbate back pain, you may not be a candidate for surgery unless you lose some weight prior.

Why Do I Need To Lose Weight Prior to Surgery?

When it comes to major surgery, it is important to go in to the procedure as healthy as possible. Below are reasons why a surgeon may suggest weight loss prior to back surgery:

  • Added weight may be a hindrance to recovery
  • Anesthesia use may be more dangerous
  • Extra weight can cause breathing issues or heart problems, both of which can make surgery riskier

Even if you are undergoing a minimally invasive procedure, ultimately, the healthier you are, the faster and easier you recover. Additionally, undergoing weight loss may result in the disappearance of pain all on its own without intervention.

How are Obesity and Back Pain Related?

Obesity and back pain are related for many reasons. It is no secret that extra weight can put a strain on your back and joints, specifically your intervertebral discs. For patients who have curvature of the spine, or scoliosis, extra pounds could make the curvature even more pronounced– and painful.  Furthermore, the risk of injuring your back increases due to the strain placed on it by the added weight.  

Tips for Losing Unwanted Weight Prior to Back Pain Treatment

For patients who are obese, it may be difficult to exercise for many reasons, such as fatigue and shortness of breath, not to mention the lingering back pain. However, exercise is an important part of spine and back health, as well as crucial for losing weight. The very best way to protect your back, joints and muscles is by exercising regularly. Therefore, it you are overweight and ready to start an exercise regimen prior to back surgery, here are a few low impact exercises to try that are easy on the back but effective for weight loss:

  • Swimming
  • Walking
  • Yoga
  • Dancing

Prior to beginning an exercise program, we suggest you get approval from your spine surgeon or doctor. Your provider can help you devise a plan to protect your back and ease into exercise.  

Learn More

If you have been living with  back pain, it may be time to seek help. Contact Pacific Spine Specialists today for a free review of your MRI results.  We can determine if your condition may require surgery or not.  If surgery isn’t the best option for you, we can help by referring you to a non-surgical provider.