Obesity and Spinal Pain

by | Apr 19, 2021

How Obesity Impacts Back Pain and Neck Pain and Why You Need to Lose that Weight Now!


How Obesity Impacts Back Pain

Doctors have long understood that being overweight can lead to degenerative disc disease, often causing lower back pain. Statistics show that as a patient’s BMI (Body Mass Index) climbs, so does the incident of their lower back pain. In fact, patients with a BMI greater than 25 are more likely to develop osteoarthritis than those with a lower BMI. Over the years, the extra body weight on the discs of the spine and the added pressure will often take its toll on the bones and cartilage of joints.

Does Obesity Impact Neck Pain?

But what about degenerative disc disease of the neck? Is that part of the spine also affected by a patient’s weight? This has long been a contentious topic, but recent findings by researchers have shed some light on the answer to this question.

The cervical spine, or neck, is a delicate area which houses the spinal cord that sends messages to the brain to control all aspects of body function.  It is both strong and flexible, allowing for movement in all directions.

Many see the spine as a column supporting the weight of the body. It seems logical that the more weight there is to be supported, the greater chance the discs of the spine will degenerate. Since the neck or cervical part of the spine is at the top of the spinal column, it does not support the same amount of body weight as the middle or lower spine. The neck basically supports the weight of the head. So, the theory has been that a patient’s BMI would not affect degenerative disc disease in this area of the spinal column, as there is little to no discernable biomechanical effect of body weight on the discs of the cervical spine.

Studies and Findings: The Relationship Between Obesity and Neck Pain

Recent studies have researchers reconsidering a link between obesity and disc degeneration of the cervical or neck portion of the spine. Findings show the affect obesity has on the metabolic state of the body, as well as inflammation. Here are some of the key findings:

  • Increased Inflammatory Agents: Obesity has been found to be associated with a chronic low-grade inflammatory response in the body, causing abnormal production of substances in the body that increase reaction to inflammation.
  • Increased Inflammatory Signaling Pathways: Obesity activates inflammatory signaling pathways in fat tissue. This causes the fat, or adipose tissue, to be a better conductor for inflammation to travel throughout the body.
  • Fat Tissue Acts as an Organ: Recent reports indicate that fat tissue functions as an endocrine organ, producing substances which are thought to be associated with obesity, insulin resistance, and other inflammatory disorders.

So, studies continue to prove what previous research seems to have intimated…that obesity has been linked to metabolic changes that directly influence the condition of discs, even those located in the neck, or cervical area of the spine. It is therefore increasingly important to treat excessive weight gain as a condition that can severely affect the spine and joints of the body. Moreover, for people with BMI’s greater than 25, losing weight will help alleviate neck and back pain.

Same-Day, Medical Weight Loss Program in our Chandler Office

When you think about it, it makes perfect sense that a Chiropractic and Medical Pain Clinic would help patients with their weight loss goals. After all, we have treated thousands of patients who struggled with limited movement, as well as back, neck, and joint pain from obesity. Additional weight creates stress and strain on the spine and joints, and in fact exacerbates nearly all medical conditions.

What sets us apart from other programs is not only do we prescribe a medical weight loss supplement (such as Phentermine) and teach you to eat a balanced diet; we also do something no one else does. We provide weekly exercise and movement therapy sessions to improve mobility and show you the proper way to exercise. After all, healthy weight management and successful weight loss depends upon setting achievable goals and expectations.

The best part is, we can make you a same-day appointment so you can get started right away. So, if you are one of the millions of people who struggle with weight loss, naturally we want to help. Call for more information.

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