If you’re overweight or obese, you may not realize the profound effect those extra pounds have on your back. The added weight strains your joints, muscles and vertebra in your back. Extra weight also contributes to fatigue and shortness of breath after even brief bursts of activity, so it’s understandable that you want to avoid exercise. That inactivity compounds the strain on already compromised muscles because strengthening and flexibility routines greatly benefit your back. And so the cycle continues.
One of the best back pain solutions is to lose weight. Unfortunately, obesity often hinders your attempts to exercise or even complete everyday tasks. Discomfort and fatigue may cause you to become more and more sedentary, which actually exacerbates many cases of back pain.
Ways Extra Pounds Contribute to Back Pain
Common symptoms often associated with back pain and extra pounds include:
- Shortness of breath
- Excessive fatigue
- Strain on lower back muscles
- Shifted alignment of vertebrae to compensate
- Strained muscles and ligaments adjusting to slipped vertebrae
- Sciatica, as nerves and nerve pathways become affected by strain
- Herniated discs, as misaligned vertebrae shift or compress discs
- Osteoarthritic deterioration of your spine and other joints
To treat or avoid these conditions, your Southeastern Spine Institute (SSI) back pain doctor recommends safe, effective weight loss measures. Losing weight and exercising provides back pain solutions that fit your ability and alter your lifestyle.
Effective Back Pain Solutions
One of the primary suggestions to ensure effective back pain solutions is weight loss. Increased activity also encourages increased blood flow that accelerates healing. As you begin a weight-loss program, refer to your doctor’s and physical therapist’s recommendations regarding the safest methods. Suggestions for dieting and exercising, while protecting your spine and joints, may include:
- An exercise plan. Make an appointment with an SSI physical therapist to find appropriate exercise plans for you. Ideally, you want to work out without interfering with your other back pain solutions. You certainly don’t want the exercises to cause further pain.
- Gentle, low-impact exercises. Walking and using the elliptical trainer are normally excellent ways to begin your weight-loss program. These exercises bump up your metabolism and protect strained muscles.
- Water therapy. These exercises strengthen and balance overtaxed muscles while encouraging increased activity levels. Since the water counteracts gravity, it causes less muscle strain while providing gentle support.
- A consultation with a nutritionist. Learn how to decrease the number of calories you consume by reducing portion size and making wise food choices. Nutritious and healthy foods promote greater energy, weight-loss and more effective healing. These changes work best when practiced consistently with small changes added over time to help your weight loss efforts succeed.
- Increase water intake. When you drink more water, you flush toxins out of your body, nourish strained muscles and lubricate compressed discs.
- Talk with a therapist. Talk therapy uncovers unhealthy attitudes and beliefs that may be holding you back from living a healthier lifestyle. It plays an integral role in making sustainable changes to your health.
When you work with the spine health team at SSI, back pain solutions, motivation and discipline become easier. Finding and eliminating triggers, overcoming personal obstacles and making healthy choices make your weight loss journey more effective and enjoyable. Knowing you are the key to your own best back pain solution gives you strength and encouragement in more ways than one.