Obesity has been linked to heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Unfortunately, obesity can also increase your pain level. Carrying too much weight can be very hard on your joints, particularly in the lower body, and extra weight around your middle can contribute to low back pain. Below are five chronic pains obesity often creates or contributes to.
Having a high hip to waist ratio puts the structure of your low back at risk. Carrying a lot of weight out front in the typical “apple” body type found in post-menopausal women and in men carrying extra weight is particularly hard on the lower back and may lead to IDD, or internal disc disruption.
A sedentary lifestyle can also lead to a weakening of the muscles along the spine, increasing the risk of disc movement.
Additionally, obesity accelerates the effects of other conditions that cause back pain, such as spine osteoarthritis and herniated discs.
Obesity puts higher amounts of pressure on the lower back. This, as well as spending a lot of time sitting, can lead to tight hip flexors which results in pain in the hips.
Those who suffer from hip pain probably notice it, especially when they stand up from a low chair or sofa or when they walk long distances. Not only is there pain in your hips, but tight hip flexors can also increase the pressure on your lower back, spreading and increasing your pain.
To combat hip pain and its related aches, you need to keep your hips flexible. Gentle exercise and a dedicated stretching routine that you can do at home can increase your flexibility and reduce your pain.
As your body mass increases, it understandably puts extra pressure on your knees. However, you might not expect just how much pressure those few extra pounds are adding.
On average, one pound of weight adds about four pounds of pressure on your knees. Therefore, someone who is only ten pounds overweight can add 40 pounds or more of pressure to their knees.
This can cause inflammation in the joint around the ligaments, tendons, and muscles. Additionally, cartilage tissue which should serve as a cushion inside the joint may start to degrade.
This can lead to chronic knee pain and eventually osteoarthritis of the knee. Of course, if your knees are in pain, you will likely want to move around even less, making it more difficult to lose that weight.
Obesity can actually change the structure of your feet over time and can cause a change in your stride and gait. These changes in your feet can lead to excessive strain on the connective tissue along the sole of the foot and may cause a great deal of heel pain.
Orthotics and bracing can help to stabilize your feet, but it’s critical that you begin an exercise plan that helps you to reduce the pressure on your feet and build up your physical strength and balance.
High levels of body fat as measured by a BMI displacement test are an indicator of chronic pain conditions such as fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis.
While your lower body is struggling with the pressure of extra weight, your upper body may be experiencing high levels of general inflammation, which can contribute to pain in the upper back, neck, and hands over time.
The connection between obesity and pain is strong. High levels of adipose tissue generally indicate high levels of inflammation, which leads to high levels of pain.
By addressing the conditions that are leading to obesity, such as poor exercise and dietary choices, you can reduce your pain level as you build your strength.