Back Pain and Posture

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Weight Gain Means Back Pain

Added weight can and does cause back pain. The excess weight, especially in your belly, strains your back muscles and ligaments, causing back pain.

Spine Problems from Weight Gain

With proper posture, you stand upright with your chest out and your chin up. You stomach is tucked in and the sight curve of your lower back keeps your hips straight. If you’re carrying extra weight, however, every part of your body gets heavier. And your spine bears the burden of that weight, literally. When you’ve experienced weight gain, your upper spine can’t straighten out properly. Over time, you may develop an unnatural curvature, so that your neck is always bent forward and your head leans over your chest instead of upright between your shoulders. Because it happens incrementally, you may not even notice.

Another problem that can lead to back pain occurs in your lower back. Weight gain in your abdomen forces your pelvis to slant forward. It’s under a tremendous strain, trying to carry your weight. Because your pelvis is pulled to the front, your lower back curves forward too. The graceful arch in a normal lower back becomes more rounded, which puts more pressure on the nerves, leading to back pain.

Medical consultation. General practioner measuring the waist of an obese patient.

Back Pain Results

A normal back arches up from your pelvis and back, surrounding your vital organs, before curving inward again to your neck and extending up to your head, right between your shoulders. It’s balanced and structured to provide many years of pain-free support.

Once your back is pulled out of normal alignment because of weight gain, your muscles, ligaments and bones have to work even harder to carry the weight. They aren’t in the position they were designed to be. It’s like bending the fingers of a baseball glove back. You can still get your hand in the glove, and you can still catch with it, but it isn’t working the way it was designed.

As a result, nerves exiting your spinal column will become constricted or a disc will bulge or herniate, and you will experience back pain. It won’t happen all at once, but if you are overweight, it will happen eventually. It’s just a matter of time.

Dealing with Back Pain

 

  1. Losing Weight 

Not only does weight gain causes back pain & posture problems but also terrible health risks. The most basic definition of overweight and obesity is having too much body fat-so much so that it “presents a risk to health”. A reliable way to determine whether a person has too much body fat is to calculate the ratio of their weight to their height squared. This ratio, called the body mass index (BMI), accounts for the fact that taller people have more tissue than shorter people, and so they tend to weigh more.
The World Health Organization (WHO) states that for adults, the healthy range for BMI is between 18.5 and 24.9. Overweight is defined as a body mass index of 25 to 29.9, and obesity is defined as a body mass index of 30 or higher. These BMI cut points in adults are the same for men and women, regardless of their age. Worldwide, an estimated 1.5 billion adults over the age of 20-about 34 percent of the world’s adult population-are overweight or obese. By 2030, this is expected to rise to more than 3 billion people.

  1. Straightening out your posture 
  2. Standing2ef7121d00000578-0-image-a-26_1448989711977

Do the following accurately describe the way you stand up straight:

  • Balanced center of gravity and leveled shoulders
  • Chin
    down slightly tucked in
  • Ears lined up with shoulders
  • Straight knees
  • No bends in the lumbar area (lower back)

Author: Leandi King

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