That lower back pain on your right side has come back again. It used to be you would pop some tylenol or advil and all would be good. Not anymore. Drugs don’t help you, and if anything, the low back pain you get comes back more frequently. You’re also concerned about the side effects of using pain killers long term. Not only that, but your quality of life has gone downhill. You can’t walk or run anymore because your back and knees ache. It has effected everything from your golf game, travel, and going out for walks with your spouse. You look in the mirror one morning, weigh yourself and the solution hits you between the eyes: lose weight to help your low back pain.
Extra weight = extra stress on joints, nerves, and muscles = Extra Pain
I don’t think it’s a big secret that being overweight or obese is causing your low back pain to get worse. The extra weight puts extra stress on the joints, muscles, and nerves in your lower back. Gradually the joints, muscles, and nerves start to wear down causing inflammation (swelling) and pain. (1, 2) If you gain more weight and don’t do anything about it, the joint wears out to the point of no return. You will suffer with ongoing arthritis and degenerative disc disease (DDD). (1, 2, 3) DDD is a condition where the shock absorbing cushions between the bones in your back wear down causing extreme pain and sciatica (leg pain and numbness).
Extra weight = increased risk of extra inflammation (swelling) = Extra Pain
Being overweight or obese also leads to underlying inflammation and metabolic syndrome. (3) At least three of the five following blood markers will be present to be diagnosed with metabolic syndrome:
- large waist circumference
- high blood pressure
- high fasting glucose
- high triglycerides
- low HDL (“good”) cholesterol
If you have ever bruised yourself, twisted an ankle or knee, you have experienced acute inflammation. Eventually the bruise or swelling in your ankle or knee goes away and you no anger feel pain. Chronic inflammation is swelling that doesn’t go away. This is one of the main reasons many people will suffer with not only chronic low back, but with many joint and muscle pain conditions.
There are many factors that can lead to weight gain and chronic inflammation:
- prolonged mental stress
- poor sleep
- blood sugar problems
- eating the typical crappy North American diet loaded with refined flour, refined sugar, and refined industrial seed and vegetable oils
- poor gut function (not enough good gut bacteria, leaky gut, IBS, heartburn/GERD)
- Prolonged sitting
- Lack of movement and/or physical activity
By knowing what causes weight gain and weight loss resistance we can then find the SOLUTIONS to losing weight. When you lose weight you will likely solve your chronic low back pain.
Chiropractic care for overweight and obese patients with low back pain
Getting chiropractic adjustments (spinal realignments or spinal manipulative therapy) alone is very effective in getting rid of low back pain whether or not you are overweight or not. In fact, chiropractic adjustments consistently show superior improvement in pain and function when compared to physical modalities, medication, education, or exercise. (7, 8, 9, 10)
I have been practicing chiropractic since 1995, and I can say with confidence that in the majority of cases (80-90%), chiropractic adjustments work very effectively for relieving low back pain quickly. This is especially true if the chiropractor is thorough and specific in their adjusting technique. Most adults and children will respond favourably within six to twelve visits. From my experience, patients who also get chiropractic adjustments regularly throughout their life can help prevent low back pain from recurring. A spinal check up and adjustment once per week to once every two months can serve this purpose. Of course, the frequency is based on individual circumstances.
Is chiropractic care alone enough to prevent low back pain? In most cases I would say no. This is especially true with overweight and obese patients.
Solutions to lose weight and solve your low back pain
As mentioned the solutions are numerous and I have already written extensively about some of these topics which I will link to for you. The main take home message is if you lose weight you will likely solve you low back pain and likely other chronic health problems you have. Not only could you live pain free, but you will have more energy, more strength, and better focus. You will become more productive, happier, and more fulfilled. You start living your dreams.
Here are some resources for you to get started. I’m telling you what to do here, but for many of you it won’t be enough. You’re going to need some coaching and possibly some thorough lab testing to have success with this. Seek out a health coach, holistic nutritional consultant, a holistic chiropractor, a functional medicine practitioner, or a naturopathic doctor to do a complete health audit and hold your hand through this.
- Manage your stress
- Get better sleeps
- Get your blood sugar problems under control
- Eat healthy
- Get your gut tested thoroughly (eg. stool tests, breath tests, urine tests)
- Get a treadmill or standing desk and move more
- Get regular chiropractic adjustments to increase movement and improve brain and nerve function