The Connection Between Weight and Pain

It’s long been known that excess weight can have a negative impact on overall health and lead to conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes. There is also ample evidence that obesity can lead to chronic pain conditions as well.

Obesity is a cause of metabolic syndrome, and the NIH (National Institute of Health) defines obesity as a Body Mass Index (BMI) over 30. Metabolic Syndrome is actually a group of associated conditions including heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. These, along with the excess pressure put on joints, decreased flexibility, increased pain sensitivity, inflammation, and poor quality of sleep can all have a major impact on your quality of life.

Among the other conditions we’ve already listed, here are some additional conditions that can be a result of excess body weight:

  • Arthritis
  • Depression
  • Diabetic Neuropathy
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Low Back Pain

While the connection between weight and migraine isn’t entirely clear, weight loss was found to improve duration, frequency, severity, and the level of disability associated with migraine sufferers. Some scientists believe that certain hormones and inflammation may also play a part in migraine severity.

Obesity increases the risk of Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), and can impact how some medications actually work. Newer research shows that some medications may not work as well with patients with a higher BMI. This can interfere with treating the condition, making things worse for sufferers of RA.

While all of this can be alarming, there is good news. For most patients, making gradual changes can not only promote good health overall but also reduce pain. This of course leads to improved quality of life.

Exercise has proven time and time again that it can help weight loss and decrease pain symptoms. It doesn’t need to be drastic changes either – simply adding ten minutes of walking to your normal routine can have a positive impact.

Another change that helps is improving your diet. Nutrition plays a huge role in managing weight and reducing chronic inflammation. Start by being mindful about how you eat – increasing your intake of green leafy vegetables, selecting lean meats, fish, and foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids can all help you improve your nutrition.

Possibly one of the most important areas to improve is your quality of sleep. Sleep is where your body is able to repair and heal itself, so making good sleeping habits is incredibly important. Avoid eating too close to bedtime, and limit your screen time late in the evening.

Excess weight can cause a variety of pain issues, but there are things that you can do about it. Not sure where to start? Speak with your doctor. If you’d like to find out how we can help, call us at 706-286-8344.