Losing weight can be one of the hardest things to do. It is also one of the best things anyone can do to get rid of back pain and optimize overall health. Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight impacts the whole body, especially the spine. It is prevalent for individuals who are overweight to experience back pain. This comes from the added weight that the feet, legs, pelvis, and spine have to support. For many, once the weight comes off, the back pain reduces significantly and/or disappears completely. For those embarking on a weight loss journey, our:
Can provide resources to plan, encourage, and assist in reaching health goals.
Overweight, Obesity and Back Pain
Spine pain is one of the top reasons individuals see a doctor. The need to lose weight is based on body mass index/BMI. BMI can be an indicator that an individual’s weight might not be in a healthy range. BMI ranges:
Normal weight – Body Mass Index of less than 25
Overweight – Body Mass Index of 25 to 30
Obese – Body Mass Index of 31 to 35
Extremelyobese – Body Mass Index of 36 or higher
If unsure about how to get an accurate BMI measurement, talk to our team about InBody Testing.
Added Weight Places Pressure On the Spine
Added bodyweight places added strain on the low back. Studies have linked obesity with degenerative disc problems. Combined with the physical impact the added weight has on the spine and overall health, it can also affect spine surgery outcomes. Studies have shown that some overweight/obese individuals have an increased risk for surgery-related complications like:
Issues recovering from anesthesia
Overall recovery struggles
The good news is that individuals do not have to lose a significant amount of weight to see and feel the benefits. Losing 15% of excess weight will improve chronic back pain.
Successful weight loss is the ability to maintain the loss. It needs to be something that can be committed to and brought into an individual’s lifestyle. Trying to go hard with an extreme diet or intense exercise program is not recommended. This is like not having any long-distance running knowledge along with training but entering a 12345K race. An individual will collapse after a few blocks. And sustained weight loss is just that, a long-distance journey that requires:
Getting educated about what is going on with the body
Understanding how foods affect/impact the body
Understanding the body’s unique needs to lose weight
Developing a personal health goal plan
Lifestyle factors contribute to healthy body weight. Being able to embed healthy habits into one’s life is the objective. Although it can sound easy to do, it can be a challenging process. With professional help, individuals can:
Maintain a nutritious and balanced diet
Have an active lifestyle
Maintain healthy sleep habits
Keep stress under control
Discussing a weight loss plan is very important. A professional health coach, nutritionist, and chiropractor will develop the right program that considers an individual’s specific health status.
Achieving a healthy weight will reduce to relieve back pain completely and significantly improve quality of life. Weight management is challenging, but once the benefits are seen and felt, it becomes second nature.
The kidneys pump more than 400 gallons of recycled blood through the body every day. These organs work nonstop to filter blood and remove waste. If the kidneys become impaired, the body can become overloaded with waste. Unhealthy lifestyle choices can harm/damage the kidneys. Kidney disease progresses slowly over the years. Individuals can lose 90 percent of kidney function before symptoms become serious. Chronic kidney disease is not reversible. However, with lifestyle adjustments, an individual can lower their risk of developing kidney-related diseases.
Drink plenty of water to clear sodium, urea, and toxins from the body and prevents kidney stones. Try to drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day. Every individual’s body water levels are different. A body composition test can determine what is normal for the individual.
Maintain healthy diet
Poor diet contributes to visceral fat gain. This has been linked to chronic kidney disease. Reduce visceral fat by eating a healthy diet of vegetables, fruit, and lean protein. Cut down on salty, processed foods. Body composition testing can help form an individualized diet plan to reduce visceral fat.
Supplements, antibiotics, and OTC medications
Overuse of common over-the-counter medications and supplements can cause kidney damage and disease. Consult with a doctor before taking medications and supplements if there is kidney function impairment.
Maintain fitness and physical activity
Cardio and strength training exercises are recommended. High blood sugar levels stress the kidneys. Building adequate muscle mass will help control blood sugar. A body composition test can make sure there are adequate amounts of muscle mass.
Liuke M, Solovieva S, Lamminen A, Luoma K, et al. Disc degeneration of the lumbar spine in relation to overweight. Int J Obes (Lond). 2005;29(8):903-908.
Ogden CL, Carroll MD, Fryar CD, Flegal KM. Prevalence of Obesity Among Adults and Youth: the United States, 2011–2014. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: National Center for Health Statistics.https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/products/databriefs/db219.htm. Page last updated: October 28, 2015. Accessed July 10, 2017
Samartzis D, Karppinen J, Chan D, Luk KD, et al. The association of lumbar intervertebral disc degeneration on magnetic resonance imaging with body mass index in overweight and obese adults: A population-based study. Arthritis & Rheumatology. 2012;64(5):1488-1496.
Strength training: The Centers for Disease Control have estimated that around 16% of six to nineteen-year-olds in the US are overweight or obese. This comes from inactivity, no movement, exercise, and poor diet. On the other end, young athletes search for ways to gain an edge, often falling victim to steroids and all of the negative effects they have.
This is where strength training comes in. This could be an answer to getting kids off the couch, moving, and offers a healthy alternative to the young athletes looking for that competitive edge. Fitness experts, doctors, health coaches, and parents say absolutely.
The focus for children in strength training is not to bulk up, as this is not weightlifting, powerlifting, or bodybuilding. Fitness experts agree that these types of training regimens are not healthy or safe for children. The goal is to:
Added benefits of strength training can help young athletes improve performance through increased endurance.
It is fundamental to find a program that is safe and successful for children. Parents want a program designed specifically for kidssupervised by a fitness professional with child experience, and most of all, it is fun. For strength training, there is not a minimum age; however, the kids should understand and follow directions.
Before starting a child on any new fitness program, check with their doctor or healthcare provider.
A training program should include:
A session should start with a 5-10 minute warm-up exercise/s like stretching and light aerobics.
Every session should end with a cool-down combined with stretching and relaxation.
Kids should not immediately be using weights until proper form and technique are learned.
Kids should start with their own body weight, bands, or a bar with no weight.
Using 6-8 different exercises that address all the muscle groups, begin with 8-15 repetitions.
Each exercise should be done with a complete follow-through of the full range of motion.
If the repetitions are too much with a specific weight, reduce the weight.
Repetitions and sets should gradually increase over time to maintain the intensity of the training.
Add more weight only when the child displays the proper form and can easily do at least 10 reps.
Workouts should be 20 to 30 minutes long, 2 to 3 times per week, to get the most benefit.
Make sure to rest a day between each workout day.
Strength training was not always considered an appropriate exercise for kids. Doctors and fitness professionals believed that it was unsafe for a child’s growing body because of the added pressure on growth plates or the cartilage that has not fully turned into solid bone. However, experts now know that kids can safely participate in a strength training program with proper technique and supervision.
As with any exercise/fitness regiment, safety measures need to be in place along with heightened supervision. Unfortunately, most injuries happen when kids are not supervised, not using proper techniques, or from trying to lift too much weight. Here are some safety precautions to remember:
Learning new exercises should be done under the supervision of a trainer/instructor, making sure proper technique and form are used.
Smooth, controlled motions should be the goal.
Controlled breathing and not holding their breath needs to be taught
Proper technique will help avoid injuries
The kids’ progress should be monitored
Have the children record the exercises they have done, how many reps, and the amount of weight/resistance.
If enrolled in a strength training class, a good ratio is one instructor per 10 students. With this ratio, the kids can receive proper instruction and supervision.
Kids should train in a hazard-free, well-lit, and properly ventilated facility.
Make sure the kids drink plenty of water during and after the workout
Fitness trainers/instructors will see to it that there are frequent rest and rehydration breaks
Keep in mind
In a strength training program for children, there should be no competitive drive. Instead, the focus should be on participation, learning the movements, and positive reinforcement. Set realistic goals and expectations for the child to understand that it will take time to learn these new skills.
Remember that kids do not increase muscle size until after puberty. Please make sure the kids enjoy the strength training sessions and that they are having fun. Keep in mind that kids can become easily bored. Therefore, use various exercises and routines, keeping them excited and wanting to learn and do more.
Getting kids interested in fitness early on can help establish a life-long habit of wanting to be and stay healthy. This includes a balanced diet, plenty of rest, and regular exercise. When done correctly, strength training can be a fun and highly beneficial activity.
Chiropractic care is generally the first choice of treatment for back pain as well as for a variety of other injuries and/or aggravated conditions associated with the musculoskeletal and nervous system.�Chiropractic care has numerous health benefits that can focus on helping patients of all ages. But, what many people don’t realize is that chiropractic care was not designed for only a certain person or body type, instead, a chiropractor can adjusts their treatment techniques to match each person’s specific needs. Doctors of chiropractic, or chiropractors, feel strongly about improving the overall health and wellness of their patients. In the tradition of chiropractic care, a chiropractor will treat the body of a patient as a whole, rather than focusing on a single injury and/or condition.
A doctor of chiropractic can treat many of the health issues that may be causing a patient’s back pain, however, what if the patient’s back pain is caused by obesity? The topic between whether chiropractic care can be used to treat obesity is frequently discussed among healthcare professionals and the patient. Many people are not aware of the benefits chiropractic care can have on obesity. Read below to find out how chiropractic care can help improve back pain as well as help manage obesity.
Chiropractic Care and Obesity
Obesity can affect more than just the way a person feels cosmetically. It is a health issue that may ultimately affect the individual’s skin, organs, joints, muscles, and even the spine. Excess weight can place unnecessary amounts of stress on the spine, joints and muscles, which can commonly lead to back pain, among other health issues. Its an individual’s constant struggle between managing their weight as well as coping with the symptoms manifesting as a result of the weight gain that can make weight loss difficult for many people without the proper treatment. Fortunately, chiropractic care is a safe and effective, alternative treatment option which can help diagnose, treat and prevent a variety of health issues while helping to improve overall health and wellness.
Because chiropractic care focuses on both the body and mind, the purpose of the spinal adjustment and manual manipulation in the treatment of obesity is to help improve symptoms of back pain by carefully correcting the alignment of the spine in order to reduce pressure on the spine as well as to decrease stress which may be affecting the individual’s mood. Once the patient has been geared towards a healthier body and mind, a chiropractor can also recommend a series of lifestyle modifications, such as nutritional and fitness advice, which can help a patient manage their excess weight.�The largest connection in your body is the one between your brain and the rest of the body through the communication of the nervous system. When the connection between the brain and the body is interrupted as a result of a spinal misalignment, or subluxation, it can lead to a variety of mental and physical health issues that may result in painful symptoms as well as stress, anxiety and depression, all of which have been associated with weight gain and obesity.
Furthermore, chiropractic care can also help throughout the process of weight loss. Because your body will be continuously changing as you lose weight, your spine and joints will need to be accordingly maintained to keep up with the ongoing changes. By receiving regular chiropractic care, a patient participating in a weight loss program or simply following the chiropractor’s nutritional and fitness advice will be able to fully engage in their exercise and physical activity routines due to the reduced back pain and other symptoms. In order to understand how chiropractic care can work towards excess weight and obesity, its essential to first comprehend the relationship between back pain and obesity as well as what type of treatment methods can benefit weight management.
Back Pain and Obesity
Obesity is defined by doctors as a disease. Being overweight or obese is a serious disorder that can affect children and adults. Many healthcare professionals know that obesity contributes to the development of high blood pressure, diabetes, coronary heart disease, and even colon cancer. But were you aware that obesity is a common contributing factor for back pain? Being overweight or obese may significantly contribute to symptoms associated with osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, degenerative disc disease, spinal stenosis, and spondylolisthesis.
Has your primary care physician suggested you lose weight to reduce the severity of your back pain? Perhaps you have back pain, but have not considered extra body weight to be a possible cause. Even an extra 10 pounds to your average weight can eventually lead to back pain. The outcomes of a big cross-sectional population-based research study confirmed the link between obesity and back pain. The analysis involved 6,796 adults where researchers found that the risk for back pain increases as body mass index, or BMI, does. The probability of low back pain among adults who are obese is four times larger than among adults with an average weight.
BMI and What It Means
BMI is a number based on your weight and height. In general, the higher the number, the more body fat a person has. There are four categories of BMI:
Normal weight�BMI less than 25
Overweight�BMI of 25 to 30
Obese�BMI of 31 to 35
Extremely obese�BMI of 36 or higher
For instance, someone who is 5�10� tall and weighs 174 pounds has a BMI of 25, while a person who is 5�10� and weighs 251 pounds has a BMI of 36.
Obesity and Risk for Low Back Pain by the Numbers
2.9% for people of normal weight
5.2% for overweight adults
7.7% for obese adults
11.6% for extremely obese adults
The study did not address why obesity increases the risk of low back pain. But, additional body weight can contribute to how the spine works and its mechanical well-being.
Modest changes in the degree of physical activity can substantially lower the risk for back pain. Individuals with extreme obesity (BMI 36+) who increase their time in moderate actions by at least 17 minutes every day can reduce their risk for low back pain by approximately 32 percent. Moderate activities may include briskly walking, performing water aerobics, riding a bike, ballroom dancing, and gardening.
How Obesity Can Impact the Spine
The spine is designed to carry your body’s weight and distribute the loads encountered during rest and action. When excess weight is carried, the spine is made to assimilate the burden, which may lead to structural undermining and harm, as in the case of injury, or sciatica. One area of the spine that is most vulnerable to the consequences of obesity is the lower back, or the lumbar spine.
Why Exercise is Essential
Lack of exercise may lead to poor mobility and flexibility as well as weak muscles, especially in the back, core, pelvis and thighs. This may raise the curve of the lower spine, causing the pelvis to tilt too far ahead. Further, this is detrimental to proper posture as well as posture, causing health issues along other regions of the spine, such as the neck, and resulting in debilitating symptoms. You might attempt to dismiss the reason behind some of these spinal health issues to the practice of normal aging. It’s true that to anatomy, structural and functional changes can be caused by the degeneration of the body with age. However, if you are obese or overweight, you likely have, or may have, back pain. You may also have or develop a few of the following conditions:
Posture: Unhealthy posture accounts for neck and back pain. A level of physical fitness is necessary to properly support the spine.
Low Back Pain: Obesity may aggravate an existing low back problem and contribute to recurrence of the condition.
Osteoporosis: A sedentary lifestyle coupled with an unbalanced diet can affect the density, or strength of the bones (spinal vertebrae). When the structural architecture of a vertebral body is compromised, it is at risk for fracture. Vertebral fractures can be painful and disabling. If you have been diagnosed with osteoporosis, you have probably lost between 25% to 30% of desirable bone density.
Osteoarthritis (OA) and Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA): The joints in the spine are called facet joints. Excessive body weight places unnatural pressure and stress on the joints during movement and at rest.
Development of Obesity
Industrialization and modernization has had a huge effect on the food we eat today. Food can be bought just about everywhere. No more is it necessary to expend effort to forage and hunt for food. There are vast numbers of processed food items available and devices which require little use of labor like microwave ovens to cook meals. The market for kitchen devices and several convenience foods came about when women entered the workforce. For the time period 2011-2012, the following statistics were published:
34.9% of adults (age 20 and older) were obese
16.9% of children and adolescents (ages 2-19) were obese
Dr. Alex Jimenez’s Insight
A healthy weight is important towards many aspects of overall well-being, including for the wellness of the spine. Because the spine is the main source of support for the human body’s weight, obesity or excess weight can place great amounts of stress on the complex structures surrounding the spine, resulting in a variety of health issues. As a matter of fact, many cases of back pain have been previously attributed to obesity. Chiropractic care can benefit patients with back pain and obesity. Through the use of chiropractic treatment methods, a chiropractor can help reduce symptoms of back pain as well as recommend nutritional and fitness advice to help with weight management.
There are many tools available that could help people lose and maintain a healthy body weight. Speak with a chiropractor to find out how to begin a weight loss program alongside back pain treatment. This is important since in the event that you have spinal health issues, your exercise program will be different compared to a person without back pain. Bear in mind, no two individuals are the same, and believing that obesity is a disease, obtaining professional help might be the initial step for you. The scope of our information is limited to chiropractic as well as to spinal injuries and conditions. To discuss the subject matter, please feel free to ask Dr. Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900 .
Curated by Dr. Alex Jimenez
Additional Topics: Back Pain
According to statistics, approximately 80% of people will experience symptoms of back pain at least once throughout their lifetimes. Back pain is a common complaint which can result due to a variety of injuries and/or conditions. Often times, the natural degeneration of the spine with age can cause back pain. Herniated discs occur when the soft, gel-like center of an intervertebral disc pushes through a tear in its surrounding, outer ring of cartilage, compressing and irritating the nerve roots. Disc herniations most commonly occur along the lower back, or lumbar spine, but they may also occur along the cervical spine, or neck. The impingement of the nerves found in the low back due to injury and/or an aggravated condition can lead to symptoms of sciatica.
Peripheral neuropathy may be more common in patients with pre-diabetes than previously thought, and early interventions may be warranted in this patient population, according to researchers from the University of Utah.
Currently, 86 million adults � more than one in three U.S. adults � have prediabetes, according to CDC estimates. Without weight loss and moderate physical activity, 15% to 30% of these people will develop full-blowntype 2 diabetes within 5 years.1
�We know now a lot more than we did 3 or 5 years ago about neuropathic pain in patients with prediabetes. Neuropathy affects patients with prediabetes in a continuum,� said J. Rob Singleton, MD, who is a professor of neurology at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. �We think it is more obesity and dysfunction of lipids (fats) that is causing the problem.�
Research Shows the Link between Obesity, Pre-diabetes and Neuropathy
In another study conducted by researchers from the University of Michigan, peripheral neuropathy was also common in obese patients, even if they had normal blood sugar levels, when compared with lean control participants. This same study also confirmed that rates of neuropathy were increased in participants with prediabetes and diabetes, leading the researchers to conclude that diabetes, prediabetes, and obesity are likely metabolic drivers of peripheral neuropathy. The findings were published in JAMA Neurology.1
Dr. Singleton and his team have been studying peripheral neuropathy associated with prediabetes and metabolic syndrome as well as what treatments may work best. Metabolic syndrome is the name for a group of risk factors that raise the risk for heart disease, diabetes and stroke. Risk factors include high blood pressure, elevated blood glucose, elevated cholesterol, and abdominal fat. Through their research, they have found that many patients with metabolic syndrome have pre-diabetes and peripheral neuropathy. Therefore, a multi-pronged approach to managing these patients is essential.
�We have shown that, in pre-diabetics with neuropathic pain, exercise reduces neuropathic pain and increases the intradermal nerve fibers in the thigh and ankle. We are in the process now of replicating that study,� Singleton said in an interview withEndocrinology Advisor. �You need to improve lipid (cholesterol) function and glucose levels. So, lifestyle issues have to be addressed.�
Relationship Between Nerve Damage and Pre-diabetes
New studies evaluating the link between prediabetes and peripheral neuropathy are filling in some of the gaps in knowledge.
In a study recently published in Diabetes Care, C. Christine Lee, PhD, of the University of Toronto, and colleagues reported that prediabetes was associated with similar risks for nerve dysfunction and damage leading to peripheral neuropathy as one develops with �new-onset� diabetes.2
While the exact mechanisms behind these associations are unclear, a growing body of evidence suggests that peripheral neuropathy begins in the early stages of diabetes pathogenesis, the researchers noted.
Lee and colleagues analyzed data on 467 individuals. The researchers found that the prevalence of peripheral neuropathy was 29% in adults with normal glucose levels, as compared with 49% in adults with prediabetes and 50% in adults with new-onset diabetes.
The researchers also found that progression of elevated glucose (pre-diabetes) over 3 years predicted a higher risk for peripheral neuropathy and nerve dysfunction.
Early intervention with lifestyle changes involving diet and exercise may be vital to preventing the severity of nerve damage, Dr. Lee stated. This had previously been backed up by another study published in 2006 in Diabetes Care, by Dr. Singleton. Singleton and his colleagues found that dietary changes and exercise can result in cutaneous reinnervation and improved pain in patients with prediabetes.3
Nerve Damage Occurs Long Before Diabetes
It is imperative to realize that the nerve damage seen in peripheral neuropathy can actually occur long before diabetes sets in. In fact the most current research has shown that obesity, even with normal glucose (blood sugar) levels has been linked with causing peripheral neuropathy as well as pre-diabetes. Although it is important to strive for maintaining fasting glucose levels between 70 � 80 mg/dL, it is equally important to keep your weight down, lower LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. All of this can be accomplished without the use of medication or bariatric procedures.
For more information, please feel free to ask Dr. Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900 .
Additional Topics: Neck Pain and Auto Injury
Neck pain is characterized as the most prevalent symptom after being involved in an automobile accident. During an auto collision, the body is exposed to a sheer amount of force due to the high speed impact, causing the head and neck to jolt abruptly back-and-forth as the rest of the body remains in place. This often results in the damage or injury of the cervical spine and its surrounding tissues, leading to neck pain and other common symptoms associated with whiplash-related disorders.
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