The link between back pain and obesity has been well-established by medical researchers around the world. Obesity is now widely considered to be one of the leading causes of back and joint pain—but people still have a lot of questions. What exactly is obesity, and what are the underlying causes? Why exactly does it lead to chronic pain in the back and joints? Most importantly, what’s the most effective treatment?
Finding answers to these questions is vital—especially for those who suffer obesity-related back and joint pain on a daily basis.
What’s the cause of obesity?
Behavioral factors are, of course, a major contributing factor to most cases of obesity—but there might also be factors beyond the individual’s control, including specific genetic dispositions, hormone problems (including thyroid disorders), emotional problems, and environmental conditions. The National Heart, Blood and Lung Institute recognizes a number of such environmental causes, including:
- Lack of access to safe exercise areas and parks
- Lack of access to good nutrition
- Busy work schedules
- Susceptibility to advertising by companies who sell unhealthy foods
The simplest and most common cause for obesity, however, is consuming more calories than we burn on a daily basis. When caloric intake and caloric expenditure is roughly equal, our bodies achieve a natural equilibrium and obesity is avoided.
But there is more to the foods we consume than the number of calories present. Eating a lot of sugary and fatty foods is more likely to cause obesity, as well as other health problems.
Why obesity leads to back and joint pain
The human body is an incredible machine, and the spine is one of the body’s most important components. Whether we’re resting or active, the spine supports and distributes the weight of the body. When the size of the body is disproportionate, as in the case of obesity, the spine works harder to support that extra weight. This leads to problems in spinal alignment. It can also wear down the soft tissue between vertebrae. Any area of the spine can be affected by obesity, but problems are most commonly seen in the lumbar (lower) region.
Obesity can also affect important joints, especially knees and ankles. Over time, excess weight begins to wear down these mechanisms, leading to symptoms of chronic back and joint pain.
How can obesity-related back and joint pain be treated?
It’s a mistake to think the “only” treatment for obesity-related back and joint pain is weight loss. A skilled chiropractor can design a treatment plan that includes spinal adjustments and manipulations to the affected joints. When the right adjustments are made, pain relief can be immediate and lasting. As balance is restored to the nervous system and spinal column, the entire body experiences benefits that contribute to overall health and wellbeing.
Beyond spinal adjustments, a quality treatment plan will include nutritional and lifestyle guidance to bring about positive changes in the body. Elements of therapeutic massage may also be incorporated to alleviate symptoms, improve circulation, and encourage relaxation.
Our chiropractic team will start with a complete health assessment that takes your whole lifestyle into consideration, from sleep patterns to dietary and exercise habits. From there, we’ll craft an individualized treatment plan that includes the correct spinal manipulations to restore balance.
Obesity-related back and joint pain are not something you simply have to live with. Nor is it necessary to subject yourself to painful exercise routines, invasive surgeries, or addictive drugs in order to get relief. Chiropractics offers a natural, effective alternative that can make a tangible difference in your life—as it has made a tangible different in the lives of countless others.