Pain and weight gain are closely related. Carrying excess weight causes a number of health-related issues. Additional pressure on your joints and difficulties with your heart are just a few of these problems. There are few benefits to increasing your numbers on the scale. Gaining weight slowly may allow your body to adjust to the excess strain but gaining it quickly is a shock to all your body’s systems. Joint Pain Weight-bearing joints, such as ankles, knees and hips, are used to supporting a certain load. If your weight increases quickly, say 20 lbs. over a few months, it will cause the joints quite an increase in stress.
According to Johns Hopkins Arthritis Center, being only 10 lbs. overweight will increase force on your knees by 30 percent to 60 percent. This will cause pain in the joints and cause the cartilage to break down faster It’s important to maintain a healthy, steady body weight. No matter what health issues you suffer from, eating a moderate diet and performing whichever exercises your body is capable of will serve you best and keep your body functioning at its prime Extra pounds increase the load on your spine, taxing your muscles and dumping pressure on the soft tissue around your vertebrae. That can exaggerate the natural curve of your lower back, throwing off your spine’s alignment and causing chronic lower-back pain. Also, belly fat pumps out inflammatory chemicals that weaken discs. Add sitting for long periods and here comes the need for pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or more serious back-pain treatments.
Today, one in nine people has back trouble that compromises everyday living, interrupts steady work and tosses a monkey wrench into satisfying relationships (movin’ and groovin’ doesn’t go so smoothly with a bad back). Furthermore, 80% of adults — and a growing number of kids — get back pain once in a while. Overweight kids are twice as likely as Slim Jims (and Janes) to have early signs of disc disease — putting them on track for serious back problems down the road. So, before you order that mega-muffin and caramel mochaccino with whipped cream and chocolate drizzle, here’s what’s to know about the body-fat-bad-back connection:
More weight equals more pain. Carrying enough extra pounds to classify you as “overweight” (e.g., 155 to 185 pounds if you’re a 5-foot, 6-inch woman) boosts your odds for back pain by 20%. Obesity (i.e., more than 185 pounds for the same height) doubles or triples the risk. But losing just 4 pounds takes 16 pounds of pressure off your spine. More weight equals more damage. In a new study from Hong Kong (the obesity problem is worldwide), scans of 2,599 women and men revealed that piling on pounds increases the risk for degenerative disc disease (or, DDD, as we docs call it) by 30% to 79%. DDD sets you up for a slipped or ruptured disc, which puts pressure on nerves. Then there’s spinetingling numbness and weakness in your legs and, oh yea, plenty of back pain. Often, DDD heals within 6 months, but a whopping one in 10 with triple-D ends up needing back surgery.
Also, try these steps to soothe a sore back:
- Move more. Walk, swim, bike, or shake it in your local Zumba class. Physical activity helps control weight. Adding strength-building moves does even more, keeping your core strong to better support your spine. Learn 7 ways to move safely to minimize back pain.
- Learn to lift. Lifting the wrong way is a leading cause of sudden back injuries. The right way: Bend your knees, hold the object close to your body, tighten your stomach muscles, and lift with your legs. Don’t twist or lift heavy stuff higher than your waist.
- Sit smart. Don’t slouch. Keep shoulders back and in linbe with your hips, and your feet flat on the floor. Your knees should be bent about 90 degrees. Tuck a small pillow or special lumbar support behind your lower back.
- Get up. If you’re sitting down, stand up every 20 minutes or so. Walk around your office or living room. Move your arms. Any motion draws fresh, oxygenrich fluid into your spine’s discs, keeping your back healthier.