Back pain can leave you frustrated and unable to do even some of the most basic activities. While this pain can be caused by a wide range of different issues, one of the more common factors is excess weight. We are going to take a look at if losing weight can stop back pain.
Back pain and weight
Being just five kilograms overweight can have a noticeable effect on the level of back pain you’re suffering. While it can be easy to think that you’re not at risk, the chances are higher than you think.
As of 2018, 67 per cent of all Australian adults and 35 per cent of all Australian children were overweight or obese. This means there is a two in three chance that you’re suffering back pain due to excess weight.
Back pain caused by being overweight occurs when there is an excess strain on the lower spine. Higher levels of fat in the belly can put pressure on the body and cause the pelvis to tilt forward, throwing off your alignment.
When there is already back pain, weight gain can have a vicious cycle, as the pain makes exercise harder, which leads to more weight gain, causing more pain.
The battle with weight loss is often a difficult one and is not just physical, but mental and emotional as well. We understand just how hard this journey can be, and so we’ve put together a few key tips on how to manage back pain and lose the weight needed to help take care of your back.
Determine your BMI
When it comes to back pain, the official medical recommendation is staying with 4.5 kilograms of your ideal weight to minimise the risk of back pain and other health issues. A good way to find your ideal weight is to use the Heart foundation BMI calculator, as well as speaking to your GP.
The two key methods to lose weight are regular exercise and a healthy diet.
Don’t look at your weight loss as one number. Break it down into a couple of kilos at a time. Start with a small goal of a few kilos to lose, then build from there as you get more comfortable with you.
Prioritise your mental health. Taking care of your thoughts helps you to take care of your body, and will help you to sustain a healthy diet.
No one is perfect. Having a bad day eating or a weight blowout happens, so go easy on yourself. The goal is to sustain a healthier lifestyle and improve over time. When it’s a bad day, reset and start again.
Calorie management. Looking at how many calories are in the food you eat can help you to figure out which foods to minimise or completely avoid.
If you’re looking for a good diet program, the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet is a medically researched and highly proven way to lose weight and sustain a healthy lifestyle.
Having a regular exercise routine is more effective than occasional intense workouts. It’s important not to push yourself too hard or too fast otherwise you risk further injury.
Work with your GP, physio or exercise physiologist to tailor a workout suited to your body for the best effect, and focus on low impact exercises.
For some additional tips: Losing weight and managing knee pain.
Can losing weight stop back pain?
Pain management should always be reviewed by a medical professional to ensure that you’re not masking any symptoms and possibly aggravating the issue. When looking to manage this lower back pain there are a few main methods that can be very helpful.
- Braces and back supports are a great way to provide relief and stabilisation, to relieve pain during the day as well as exercise.
- Stretching to increase the flexibility and relieve tension in your lower back helps with daily pain, especially if you’re sitting for extended periods of time.
- The use of anti-inflammatories and pain medication can be used for more serious cases when directed by a doctor.
Strengthen your back
Building strength in your core and lumbar regions is one of the most effective ways to minimise back pain, as well as reduce the risk of injury. Alongside targeted strengthening and physio, Yoga is a fantastic way to build flexibility and strength while keeping pain at bay.
For more information: Yoga back pain exercises
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