Will Weight Loss Help Back Pain? (Remedies, Exercises, Causes)

Back pain has become a prevalent health condition in both male and female populations. While many factors can cause the condition, obesity seems to be one of the major factors influencing it.

People with a large body mass index have a higher risk for back pain and especially lower back pain. Several studies suggest this correlation and have proved it in both genders. Therefore, weight loss can be an effective way to get permanent relief from back pain.

It will be better if we understand how body mass affects our skeletal structure and what impact it has on our back. This will help you to understand the consequences of being overweight on your back and effectively lose your weight to get relief from it.

Will Weight Loss Help Back Pain

Will Weight Loss Help Back Pain?

Losing weight is one of the effective methods to get complete relief from back pain. If you didn’t encounter the following scenarios, then your weight might be the only reason:

  • Accidental Injury at the back
  • Back surgery
  • Excess weight lifting
  • Sedentary Sitting Job
  • Sudden stress to the back

If you haven’t come across any of these conditions, then check your BMI. If you are obese or overweight, it is causing your back pain.

Some people might have gained weight because of the above-mentioned scenarios. If you had been in an accident or you encountered a back injury, you will not be able to perform a physical activity of any kind. This results in being overweight and leads to back pain.

In such cases, it is very important to observe both pain management and weight management techniques. A study involved patients with chronic pain who were subjected to a pain rehabilitation model. The end result was, that the patients lost a significant portion of their weight effectively as well as experienced a reduction in pain [1].

Therefore, even in patients with chronic pain that was influenced due to a different factor, weight loss has helped in its management and relief. So, losing weight helps you to get rid of back pain and any other musculoskeletal pain for that matter.

Another research conducted in the year 2010 concluded that there was a significant reduction in lower back pain and other musculoskeletal pain with weight loss. This study comprised mainly of women who got enrolled in a weight loss program. Finally, the study concluded that even with small changes in body weight resulted in significant relief especially in the lower back, upper back, hips, and elbow [2].

Therefore, many prominent scholars and doctors recommend that losing weight can significantly impact your pain management as well as reduce it considerably.

How does Obesity Cause Back Pain?

The musculoskeletal system naturally has a weight-bearing capacity. Up to a certain weight limit, it will be healthy and doesn’t strain to hold the body weight. 

But, when you become obese or overweight, the skeletal system starts to strain and causes degeneration and weakness in the bones. Bone metabolism is associated with weight gain [3] and has been proved to cause many bone-related diseases such as osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, lower back pain, etc. 

Certain studies also suggest that disk degeneration happens due to obesity and overweight [4] and causes severe back pain issues. 

So, an increase in body mass gradually decreases bone metabolism thereby decreasing bone quality. The strength of the bone also deteriorates which will reduce the body’s ability to hold the heavyweight, thus resulting in multisite lower body musculoskeletal pain [5].

How to Effectively Lose Weight Fast to Treat Back Pain?

Weight loss is considered a difficult task especially if you have another condition associated with it like back pain. 

Because you might not be able to perform intense workouts and cardio exercises which might worsen the back pain. Therefore, you need a proper plan to lose weight for reducing back pain.  

Primarily, weight loss depends on observing your diet. The excessive fat present in the body is actually unwanted waste accumulated due to poor eating and lifestyle habits.

Therefore, first, you need to regulate your eating habits and certain aspects of your lifestyle to speed up your weight loss. Without following this step, even if you spend more time in exercise, you cannot effectively lose weight.

Eating Habits

  • Hunger is the main indicator of energy needs in the body. Today we can find many people observing a periodical eating routine. But it is unhealthy. You need to eat only when you are hungry.
  • Don’t depend on a schedule for eating. Observe your body’s signal and what it craves. If you truly listen to your body, you can know when you are hungry.
  • When you are hungry, do not eat very large portions. Try to eat small portions and look whether the hunger is satisfied with each bite.
  • Make your meals healthy by including a portion of all necessary nutrients. The need might change for each and every person. Therefore, it is important to include the food your body craves.
  • When we say cravings, you might misunderstand it with comfort food cravings. You might crave a pizza because you love to eat it. This will just comfort your emotion and doesn’t do any good for your body.
  • With real hunger, the cravings will direct you to eat what is necessary for the body. Do not give into comfort food cravings regularly. Once in a while, it is ok.
  • Once you recognize your hunger and eat appropriately, the body will start to detox the unwanted fat from the body.

Foods and Beverages to Avoid During Weight Loss

  • Avoid all kinds of processed food items
  • Avoid inorganic vegetables and fruits
  • Avoid sugary beverages
  • Avoid drinking tea and coffee
  • Avoid Alcohol

Lifestyle habits

  • Regulating eating habits is one part of your weight loss regimen. But observing a healthy lifestyle is the next major part.
  • One of the most significant parts of your lifestyle is proper physical activity and sleep. Both of them are ignored by most people around the world.
  • Sleep is a very crucial aspect if you want to lose weight effectively. You must observe night sleep regularly without fail so that you can shed some weight and relieve your back pain.
  • The body primarily detoxes only during night’s sleep. Without that, you will always feel tired, restless, and fatigued.
  • Ignoring a night’s sleep will divert all your body’s vital energy to the recovery of organ health and you cannot do any physical activity efficiently.
  • When poor sleep is combined with poor eating, you can never lose weight. If you force yourself with heavy workouts, it will affect your health dangerously in the future.
  • Therefore, observe proper night sleep and proper eating habits to successfully shed weight and treat back pain.
  • As for physical activity, you can do some cardio exercises to lose weight fast. If you have severe back pain, you can try distinct exercises to relieve that condition.

Simple Exercises to Relieve Back Pain

While physical activity is difficult during back pain, there are certain exercises that can help you alleviate the pain. Also, it will aid you to lose belly fat.

Hip Rotation 

  • This exercise is also known as trunk rotation which can be performed both in standing and laid-back position.
  • While standing, hold your hips with your feet apart to shoulder width. Slowly rotate your hips clockwise a few times and anti-clockwise a few times.
  • While laid back, bring the knees to your chest and slowly roll over to your left and right a few times.

Pelvic Stretch 

  • Lie back on the floor and you can see that the nature of spine curvature slightly elevates your lower back.
  • Push the back slightly by forcing the abdominal muscles down.
  • Hold it for a few seconds and relax. Repeat the step a few times.

Partial Crunches

  • Instead of doing a full-fledged crunch which hurts your back a lot, you can do a partial crunch.
  • Lie down on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
  • Rest the head on your hands and just lift your neck. 
  • Don’t try to get up fully. Just lift your neck and tighten your abdomen.
  • Hold in that position for a few seconds and relax. Repeat it a few times.

Knee to Chest

  • Lie down on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
  • Lift one of the legs to the chest and hold it for a few seconds.
  • Then lift the other leg and hold it. Repeat the step a few times.

Swimming

  • Swimming is one of the best exercises to lose weight and manage pain. Try to freestyle at least half an hour per day. 
  • It relaxes the body muscles, promotes relaxation in the joints, and relieves the pain.
  • Also, it burns a lot of calories which enables you to shed a considerable amount of weight in a short time.

Is it Safe to Exercise with Back Pain?

Exercising, in general, is good for back pain management. But you cannot do all the exercises. When you are trying to lose weight for back pain, you cannot do heavy intense workouts which may worsen the condition.

Workouts are strenuous activities and with a heavyweight, it becomes even more strenuous. Therefore, you have to be very careful with the choice of exercises.

As we have mentioned above, they are some of the safe exercises you can try to relieve back pain. As for weight reduction exercises, you can go for simple cardio exercises like,

  • Light Jogging
  • Jumping Jacks
  • Jump Rope
  • Cycling
  • Power walking
  • Swimming

These exercises don’t hurt your back and worsen the situation. As for workouts to avoid, don’t do the following at the start of your weight loss routine:

  • HIIT – High-Intensity Interval Training
  • Dead Weight Lifting
  • Calisthenics

These workouts must not be done at the beginning itself. It will be very strenuous and you may worsen your back pain. Instead, you can perform the simple cardio exercises to shed a few pounds and then go for these workouts.

This is how you can exercise safely even with back pain and heavyweight. The recommended exercises are very useful in giving your relief.

Other Weight Loss Remedies:

Can Belly Fat Cause Back Pain Issues?

Yes, belly fat can lead to chronic back pain since it can strain your spine and pelvis heavily. Here are some of the major reasons how belly fat causes back pain:

Affected Posture 

  • The slopping abdominal fat in the front affects your straight posture. Although there is a natural curvature for your spine, the belly fat strains the spine further by pulling its front.
  • Studies show that abdominal fat can curve the spine considerably and increase the risk of lower back pain [6].
  • This condition is seen more in women than men.

Disc Damage

  • The spinal discs are damaged due to the excess tension caused by the belly fat
  • The posture change also influences this condition which makes it very difficult to recover too.
  • Obesity has been linked to disc degeneration in studies and it has been suggested that disc height, structure, and many factors are influenced by it [7].

Decreased Bone Density

  • The fatty body is associated with osteoporosis which is a condition that causes bone density to reduce.
  • Research has found that osteoporosis can be induced by obesity and it also has the risk of muscular atrophy [8].
  • Therefore, the risk of poor bone density is prevalent in people with high belly fat which may result in severe back pain.

How Long does Back Pain take to Cure Completely?

Generally, normal back pain will be cured within one or two weeks if you take proper rest. But when it is associated with obesity, it can take longer. 

It may take some time to reduce your weight and experience relief. But as you shed your weight, you can feel the relaxation in the back.

The above-mentioned exercises can aid you to get quick relief and the condition may cure sooner. Therefore, the faster you shed weight, the faster you can get complete relief from the back pain.

Also, with the proper lifestyle and dietary practices, you will be able to get fit and healthy more easily.

Conclusion

Weight loss is an effective remedy to cure back pain because it is among the top reasons for chronic lower back pain. The link between obesity and back pain has been established extensively in the research studies and it is conclusive that proper weight management enables you with pain management and relief.

References:

[1]. Lose Pain, Lose Weight, and Lose Both: A Cohort Study of Patients with Chronic Pain and Obesity Using a National Quality Registry – https://www.dovepress.com/lose-pain-lose-weight-and-lose-both-a-cohort-study-of-patients-with-ch-peer-reviewed-fulltext-article-JPR

[2]. Influence of weight loss on musculoskeletal pain: Potential short-term relevance – https://content.iospress.com/articles/work/wor01031

[3]. Obesity and Bone Health: A Complex Link –https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fcell.2020.600181/full

[4]. Disk Degeneration and Low Back Pain: Are They Fat-Related Conditions? – https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1055/s-0033-1350054

[5]. Body Composition Is Associated With Multisite Lower Body Musculoskeletal Pain in a Community-Based Study – https://www.jpain.org/article/S1526-5900(15)00642-2/fulltext

[6]. Abdominal Adiposity Increases Lordosis and Doubles the Risk of Low Back Pain – https://www.mdpi.com/2076-3417/12/15/7616/htm

[7]. Intervertebral disc degeneration: A focus on obesity and type 2 diabetes – https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/dmrr.3224

[8]. Molecular Mechanisms of Obesity-Induced Osteoporosis and Muscle Atrophy – https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fphys.2016.00439/full

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