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What is the impact of obesity on back pain?

• If you are overweight or obese, you may be grappling with back pain.
• This is a very common problem for heavy people.
• Carrying extra weight can increase your risk for developing several back disorders.

Pressure on the Spine

• Extra weight puts added pressure on the spine. This can cause pain.
• It has long been known that a rise in body weight results in a geometric increase in the pressure on the spine.
• For those who are morbidly obese, the injury to the spine is even greater.
• This is due to degenerative changes in the vertebral column.
• The pressure may increase your risk of herniated disk, degenerative disk disease and back strain.

Obesity and Herniated Disk

• The extra pressure weight puts on your spine can, over the time, cause wearing away of disks.
• The outer fibers of the disk are weared out and this increases your risk of an injury.
• Being obese may also prevent you from healing pain due to herniated disk-related sciatica.

Obesity and Osteoarthritis of the Spine

• There’s no doubt that obesity contributes to the development of osteoarthritis (OA) in the spine.
• Studies show that with weight loss, pain from OA subsides in many patients.
• Adults aren’t the only ones at risk.
• Obesity also affects the health of children’s joints.
• Encouraging your children to be active and achieve or maintain an appropriate body weight for their age and height may go a long way.
• This is helping them to avoid arthritis later in life.

Obesity and Back Pain Due to Lordosis

• A large belly may pull your pelvis forward.
• This will in turn increase the curve in your low back (lordosis).
• The increased lordosis will probably tighten up your back muscles and cause strain or pain.
• Keeping a healthy weight and strong abs can help you counter the effects of an exaggerated low back curve.

Obesity, Spondylolysis and Spondylolisthesis

• Spondylolysis and spondylolisthesis are related conditions.
• Obesity can affect them both by increasing strain in the joint that normally keeps the spine in line.
• Obesity may pull the pelvis forward, which accentuates the low back curve.

Obesity and Diffuse Idiopathic Hyperostosis

• DISH, the hardening of one of the ligaments of the spine, is more common in elderly men than other types of people.
• This back condition has been linked to a high BMI.
• This is a measure that classifies one as obese. Researchers have also linked DISH with the presence of diabetes.

Obesity and Back Surgery

• The obesity rate in people who have back surgery is higher than in the general population.
• Complications from back surgery occur more frequently in obese patients.
• Having minimally invasive spine surgery may provide a safer option.
• It is less invasive than traditional back surgery.

Will Losing Weight Reduce My Back Pain?

• Along with controlling your risk for heart attack, diabetes, stroke and other degenerative diseases, losing weight can help you get rid of back pain.
• Every single person who loses a significant amount of weight finds that their back pain is also significantly improved.
• The reason for this is related to a decrease in the amount of work muscles need to do in order to accomplish everyday tasks with loss of weight.

Surgical Management of Low Back Pain Quick Fixes for Everyday Back Pain Handbook of Obesity Intervention for the Lifespan

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