South Elgin Chiropractor Links Obesity to Low Back Pain

Low back pain has been recognized

as a problem of epidemic proportions.

It’s estimated that approximately 80%

of the North American population will

experience debilitating back pain at

some point in their adult lives.1 It’s no

surprise that more and more people are

seeking chiropractors to find relief.

What’s even more alarming is the

apparent link between the incidence of

low back pain and obesity. According

to the American Obesity Association,

64.5% of adult Americans (about 127

million) are considered overweight or

obese.2 Recent evidence suggests that

obesity seriously impacts the musculoskeletal

system, increasing the risk of

low back pain as well as osteoarthritis,

spondylolisthesis, degenerative disc

disease and spinal stenosis.3 One study

in particular showed that people who

underwent surgery to help them lose

weight also experienced less low back

pain. 4

Causes and Effects of

Obesity and Back Pain

Some studies suggest that the link

between obesity and low back pain is

inconclusive.5 But they’re several

obvious reasons why an obese person

would experience more of this type of


First, we should look at the common

causes of obesity.

If we exclude certain

genetic or hormonal diseases, we

discover North American obesity is

primarily related to poor nutrition and

lack of exercise. Our meals are often

high in saturated fat and low in essential

fatty acids. This leaves us prone to

inflammatory states like arthritis. The

large amounts of caffeine we consume

also robs the skeleton of its bonebuilding

calcium.6 And if we take into

account our sedentary lifestyle, the

body lacks the necessary weightbearing

effects to maintain a fortified

skeletal structure. The result is an

increased incidence of osteoporosis and

bone fractures.As a person packs on more weight,

moving around becomes difficult.

Therefore, many obese people choose

to remain inactive. But this leads to big

problems. Lack of movement in the

joints can accelerate degenerative

changes, which are seen in cases of

osteoarthritis. If an obese person does

remain active, the extra body weight

puts additional stress and strain on the

muscles, tendons, ligaments and joints.

Postural changes are also common in

obese people, usually caused by

carrying extra weight in their abdomen.

As the size of the mid-section

increases, the person’s center of gravity

shifts forward and the lower back curve

is exaggerated to accommodate for

these changes. This adds more compressive

loads on the joints of the lower

back, increasing the risk of subluxation

and pain.

This South Elgin Chiropractor

Gives Tips On What You Can Do

About Weight Problems.

When faced with any health issue, the

first thing you should do is consult with

healthcare professionals. Your medical

doctor can order blood tests to rule out

hormonal imbalances or genetic

metabolic disorders. Your South Elgin

chiropractor is knowledgeable in nutrition and

exercise and is an excellent source for

help in these areas.

Secondly, take control of the two

most powerful factors controlling your

body weight: diet and exercise. Portion

control is one of the easiest ways to

reduce excess body fat. Eat slowly and

stop consuming when you’re no longer

hungry. Eating because your body

needs the fuel is different than eating

because you enjoy the food.

Think of the body as a machine with

moving parts, and give it the right fuel

to keep the engine running smoothly.

Before starting an exercise program,

also check with your chiropractor.

Weeks, months or years of

inactivity can leave your body too

weak to pick up where you left off.

Consider hiring a personal trainer. If

cost is a factor, have the trainer design

a starting program that you can do on

your own, then update the program

every six weeks or so. This gives you

the best chance for continued progress,

and keeps you more interested as your

exercise routine varies.

Above all else, keep a positive mental

attitude. Read about people who have

achieved what you’re setting out to do,

and tell yourself,

If they did it, so can I!”

Value your health, and experience

how the aches and pains get less and

less as your body gets lighter and

References and Sources:
1. Skinner HB. Current Diagnosis &
Treatment in Orthopedics.
Lange Medical Books. New York;
2. AOA Fact Sheets. 2002.
American Obesity Association.
3. Silveri CP & Spinasanta S.
Back pain and obesity: connection
to back pain and the development
of obesity.
4. Melissas J, Volakakis E,
Hadjipavlou A. Low back pain in
morbidly obese patients and the
effect of weight loss following
Obes Surg. 2003;13:389–393.
5. Mirtz TA & Greene L. Is obesity a
risk factor for low back pain? An
example of using the evidence to
answer a clinical question.
Chiropractic & Osteopathy 2005; 13(2).
Online source:
6. Hernandez-Avila M, Stampfer MJ,
Ravnikar VA, Willett WC, Schiff I,
Francis M, Longcope C, McKinlay
SM. Caffeine and other predictors
of bone density among pre-and
peri-menopausal women.
Epidemiology 1993 Mar; 4(2):