How Obesity Leads To Back Pain
According to the American Obesity Association, episodes of musculoskeletal pain, and specifically back pain, are prevalent among the nearly one-third of Americans who are classified as obese.2
The American Obesity Association also reports that more obese persons say they are disabled and less able to complete everyday activities than persons with other chronic conditions.1
Some of the most common obesity-related problems include musculoskeletal and joint related pain.1 For people who are overweight, attention to overall weight loss is important as every pound adds strain to the muscles and ligaments in the back.
In order to compensate for extra weight, the spine can become tilted and stressed unevenly. As a result, over time, the back may lose its proper support and an unnatural curvature of the spine may develop.
Losing Weight Helps With Your Sciatica
Losing weight is in fact very beneficial for alleviating sciatica pain. Even a little bit of weight loss can begin to reduce inflammation and stress on your sciatic nerve. A well-structured weight loss program that promotes gradual weight loss is your best option.
For best results, youll want to exercise regularly as well. We understand that it can often be difficult for those with sciatic pain to exercise, and thats why Dr. Jones can refer you to a physical therapist who will work around your sciatic pain and help strengthen your muscles. This helps tremendously in avoiding reinjury and promoting long-term pain management.
Sciatica Diet Plan Top 11 Foods That May Help Sciatica & Foods To Avoid
Our diets have a profound effect on everything in our life. Food is more than just fuel. It can rev us up or calm us down. It can make us feel good, or make us feel terrible. It can help us heal or hinder our recovery from many injuries and conditions including sciatica. Heres my scientifically proven sciatica dietary suggestions, based on modern research, detailing the top 11 foods that help sciatica.
You May Like: How To Sprain Your Wrist Easily
Why Does My Knee Hurt
Knee pain is one of the most common complications of being overweight or obese. If youre among the millions of people who experience chronic knee pain, even a small weight loss can help reduce pain and lower the risk of osteoarthritis .
According to a 2011 report from the Institute of Medicine , of the roughly 100 million American adults who experience common chronic pain, nearly 20 percent, or 20 million people, have knee pain. This is second only to the number of people with lower back pain.
More than two-thirds of people in the United States are either overweight or obese .
Those extra pounds increase the stress on your knees. That stress can cause chronic pain and lead to other complications such as OA.
You May Like: Psoriatic Arthritis Wrist Pain
Losing Weight For Back Pain Relief
It’s only natural to assume that, along with controlling your risk for heart attack, diabetes, stroke and other degenerative diseases, losing weight can help you get rid of back pain.
Experts agree that losing weight successfully may result in partial or complete back pain relief. Dr. Andre Panagos, physiatrist and director of Spine and Sports Medicine in New York notes, “every single patient in my clinic who loses a significant amount of weight finds their pain to be vastly improved.”
The reason for this, Panagos explains, is that if you are heavier than your ideal weight, your muscles will need to work harder in order to help you accomplish everyday tasks. Plus, the extra load that is put on the spine can take vertebrae out of alignment, which may lead to joint strainanother potential cause of pain.
“When you lose weight, you are effectively reducing strain on your spinal column and back muscles,” Panagos adds.
You May Like: Can Cutting Your Wrist Kill You
Despite The Obvious Benefits Weight Loss Is Difficult To Achieve
A May 2017 study lead by Alexandra Gersing, MD of the Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging at the University of California, San Francisco concluded that overweight and obese people who lost a substantial amount of weight over a 48-month period showed significantly lower degeneration of their knee cartilage. The research was published in the medical journal Radiology.
This study was a continuation of Dr. Gersings work on the subject. In 2016 she lead a team of researchers who were able to suggest from findings that: weight loss has a protective effect on cartilage, which is detected in all compartments, and that a larger amount of weight loss is more beneficial in obese and overweight subjects in order to slow progression of cartilage matrix deterioration and worsening of clinical symptoms.
Also Check: Pineapple Causes Stomach Pain
How Is Sciatica Treated
The goal of treatment is to decrease your pain and increase your mobility. Depending on the cause, many cases of sciatica go away over time with some simple self-care treatments.
Self-care treatments include:
- Appling ice and/or hot packs: First, use ice packs to reduce pain and swelling. Apply ice packs or bag of frozen vegetables wrapped in a towel to the affected area. Apply for 20 minutes, several times a day. Switch to a hot pack or a heating pad after the first several days. Apply for 20 minutes at a time. If youre still in pain, switch between hot and cold packs whichever best relieves your discomfort.
- Taking over-the-counter medicines: Take medicines to reduce pain, inflammation and swelling. The many common over-the-counter medicines in this category, called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , include aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen . Be watchful if you choose to take aspirin. Aspirin can cause ulcers and bleeding in some people. If youre unable to take NSAIDS, acetaminophen may be taken instead.
- Performing gentle stretches: Learn proper stretches from an instructor with experience with low back pain. Work up to other general strengthening, core muscle strengthening and aerobic exercises.
Don’t Miss: Which Way Do You Cut Your Wrists To Die
Increasing Strength And Flexibility:
If you suffer from lower back pain due to being overweight, the muscles around your hips and the trunk arent providing enough support to the spinal structure because they arent strengthened or stretched.
Practicing Pilates, Yoga, and other programs help you strengthen the trunk and pelvic muscles, which in turn can relieve back pain by taking a load off the muscles and protecting them from wear and tear.
Can weight affect back pain? Weve just shown you it does. Losing even just 10% percent of ones body weight could not only do ones back a world of good, but it could also end up reversing the back-pain symptoms.
Get a free home consultation with our experts and start losing weight now.
Know The EXACT Reasons Why You Are Not Losing Weight
The various factors which may have played that villainous role in stalling your weight loss & you will not be surprised to find your reason.
If you are looking to lose weight, the 1st step has to be Weight Loss Consultation.
Why? Because this is the diagnosis of your present health condition to know why you are not able to lose weight.
With this, we can make a customized weight loss solution for you!
Get FREE Health Consultation Today!
Increase Hip And Hamstring Flexibility
Stiff hamstrings, glutes, and hips can alter your posture and increase the stress on your lower back, which may contribute to sciatica. Most types of sciatica will benefit significantly from a stretching routine that targets the hips and hamstrings and relieves an overused or inflamed piriformis muscle. The piriformis is a small muscle that attaches at the base of the spine and runs just above the sciatic nerve. Prolonged inactivity or sitting compresses the piriformis over the sciatic nerve, which can lead to aggravation and pain. Reverse the effects of tight hips and hamstrings by adopting a simple stretching routine or incorporating yoga into your overall fitness regimen.
Here are two ways to stretch your piriformis muscle and relieve pain.
Read Also: Joint Pain Nausea
Signs You Might Need Surgery
Most people with sciatica don’t need surgery. But your doctor may suggest it if you have trouble walking, lose control of your bladder or bowels, or your pain gets worse and other treatments don’t help. The best procedure depends on what’s causing your symptoms. The most common one removes the part of your herniated disk that’s pressing on the sciatic nerve. Learn more about sciatica and the radiculopathy lumbar region.
The Upper Cervical Spine And Sciatica
The spine functions from the top down. In other words, when the top two bones of your neck are out of alignment, the rest of the spine shifts to compensate particularly to keep the head level. This can lead to changes throughout the back. While you may not have any neck pain, the problem is that pain usually occurs where the greatest changes take place. A misalignment of a fraction of a millimeter in the neck can lead to a major change in the lower spine that puts pressure on the sciatic nerve.
Upper Cervical Chiropractic strives to correct the initial misalignment so that the natural healing abilities of the body can get to work. It makes sense that if the spine shifted out of position to compensate for this misalignment, it would shift back when the misalignment is corrected. This has been the case for many patients. To learn more about upper cervical chiropractic care and how it may be able to help you, we encourage you to seek out a consultation with a practitioner in your local area.
Frequently Asked Questions About Sciatica
How long does it take for sciatica to go away?Sciatica can be acute or chronic. An acute episode of sciatica pain may last between one and two weeks and usually resolves itself in a few weeks. Sciatic episodes can also happen multiple times in a year.
Can losing weight help sciatica?Yes, weight loss can help in alleviating sciatica pain. It will help reduce inflammation and stress on the sciatic nerve.
Also Check: Is Slitting Your Wrist Painless
Plantar Fasciitis And Weight Loss Benefits
It is absolutely possible to lose weight while suffering from plantar fasciitis. In a study conducted on plantar fasciitis sufferers who underwent gastric bypass surgery, it was shown to alleviate the symptoms completely.
As the amount of pressure on your heels and fascia is reduced, they are more easily able to recover.
As we work to lose weight with plantar fasciitis, its important to focus on keeping our feet comfortable. Good, supportive footwear is critical. Your doctor or healthcare professional can help you find the proper support, and it doesnt need to cost a lot.
Were going to cover a list of specific exercises later in the article, but its worth keeping in mind that no exercise plan can be successful for weight loss without a strong diet. Whether you choose a calorie-controlled eating plan, a low-carb eating plan, or any number of diets on the marketensure that you stay hydrated, eat plenty of leafy greens, and limit your sugar and alcohol intake.
Extra Weight Can Worsen Your Symptoms Of Sciatica
Certain things can trigger your sciatica pain, including carrying a chunky wallet or phone in your back pocket, which puts pressure on your piriformis muscle and may pinch your sciatic nerve. Wearing high heels can also lead to sciatic pain, because they force your body forward, making you flex your hips and hamstrings, and potentially compress your sciatic nerve.
Being overweight, especially if you carry it in your stomach, also pulls your body forward and can have the same effect as wearing stilettos. The difference is that you can take the shoes off and stop the pain. Losing weight will have the same impact, it just takes longer to accomplish.
Read Also: Stiff Neck And Stomach Pain
Losing Weight Decreases Your Chances Of Reinjury
Once youve had a herniated disc, bone spur, or spinal stenosis, your compromised anatomy needs all the help it can get to prevent a recurrence. The stronger your supporting anatomy is, the better your chances of avoiding a relapse.
When youre ready to give your back a break and lose the excess weight, come see us at Apollo Pain Management to get started. We are with you every step of the way as you work toward a healthier, pain-free life. us to make an appointment or book one online.
You Might Also Enjoy…
How To Lose Weight With Chronic Pain
Kymberly has managed many chronic illnesses for 25+ years, including sciatica, costochondritis, fibromyalgia, PTSD, endometriosis, and more.
Totoro on the Wii Fit board.
If you are overweight and suffer from a chronic pain condition, but you are determined to make the difficult changes you need to lose the excess weight, the last thing you need from your friends and family is a lack of support.
Or even worse, intentional sabotage.
It’s important to recognize these problem people, and avoid or have strategies for dealing with them.
Especially when you need to also deal with your chronic illness!
Please note, I am not a doctor or trained psychologist. I am speaking from my own personal experience of non-supportive people, and my 20 years of coping with multiple chronic pain conditions .
Recommended Reading: Why Do People Cut Wrists
Tips For Losing Weight To Treat Knee Pain
Weight loss is a proven treatment for arthritic knee pain, but few people use it. Losing excess pounds can seem like a big challenge. Below are a few ideas for successfully achieving and maintaining weight loss. Incorporating just one or two of these ideas into a daily routine may produce notable weight loss.
Recommended Reading: Is Stomach Pain A Sign Of Pregnancy
Exercise Obesity And Sciatica
When you’re overweight and suffering from sciatica symptoms, it can be hard to get enough exercise. But exercise is an essential ingredient in your sciatica treatment. At Advanced Spine and Pain, our team takes a comprehensive approach to managing sciatica symptoms with regular exercise, dietary improvements, physical therapy, and interventional pain treatments, like steroid injections and epidurals. By using this approach, we can help you reach several specific goals, including:
- Controlling your pain
- Increasing your range of motion
- Strengthening and stretching your body
- Improving your balance and coordination
- Teaching you proper body mechanics
Incorporating exercise and weight loss into your sciatica treatment plan can also improve your back health, protect you from reinjury, and reduce your chances of having symptoms again in the future.
For more information on how your weight affects your sciatica, call us at Advanced Spine and Pain, send us a message on our website, or use the handy Appointment Requests button to set up your consultation.
You Might Also Enjoy…
Recommended Reading: Does Slitting Your Wrists Hurt
Exercising And Losing Weight
There is no denying that weight loss proves a lot of benefits, not just for people who suffer from Sciatica, but for significantly improving your health overall as well. A well-structured and supervised weight loss program can be the best choice when it comes to managing Sciatica symptoms. While it can be painful and difficult, trust that it will significantly improve your fitness level and alleviate your symptoms.
Massages and hot compresses also help relieve back pain and spasms that are linked with Sciatica. Physical therapy may be recommended by your consulting physician to avoid further damage to the Sciatic nerve.
Sciatica And Unexplained Weight Loss
On a final note, there are rare occasions where back pain caused by a serious medical issue is confused with sciatica. If you experience unexplained weight loss, meaning you lose 10 or more pounds in 3 months or less, you should seek medical attention right away. Sometimes what seems like sciatica may be something else, and unexplained weight loss is a sign that something is wrong. Sciatica by itself doesnt generally cause weight loss such as this.
Also Check: Can Nerve Pain Cause Nausea
The Weight Your Knees Support
Your knees work very hard to keep you upright, and even harder to support you when you move. Sure, hiking a few miles or carrying a heavy backpack can be burdensome to painful joints. But even a short walk across your living room can add extra pressure to your knees one and one-half times your body weight to be specific. So, if you weigh 180 pounds, walking actually increases the pressure on your knees to about 270 pounds. Thats quite a lot to bear.
Going uphill increases the pressure even more. And bending over to pick something up can increase the pressure to five times your body weight. Imagine trying to lift that amount of weight!
How To Lose Weight With Sciatica
Ask U.S. doctors your own question and get educational, text answers â it’s anonymous and free!
Ask U.S. doctors your own question and get educational, text answers â it’s anonymous and free!
HealthTap doctors are based in the U.S., board certified, and available by text or video.
Don’t Miss: What Happens When You Slit Your Wrists
Losing Weight Can Alleviate Sciatica Pain
In addition to relieving some of the pressure on your muscles, joints, nerves, and spine, losing weight has a positive effect on your overall health, which allows your body to heal properly.
Some of the sciatica-related benefits of losing weight, especially through exercise, include:
- Stronger musculoskeletal system
- Less pain
The Link Between Weight Gain And Sciatica
By definition, sciatica is the result of radiculopathy, or a compressed nerve. This is the longest and largest nerve in your body, and it runs from your low back through your bottom and down your leg. Thats why a pinched sciatic nerve in your back can be felt two feet away in your leg or foot. It may be shocking pain, numbness and tingling, or even weakness. And believe it or not, your weight plays a role in this condition.
Don’t Miss: What Does It Feel Like To Cut Your Wrists