Throughout the years, studies have shown that obesity can make a person more likely to develop multiple medical problems such as heart disease, diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure, sleep apnea and even some cancers. Symptoms of these conditions can manifest themselves into chronic pain that can affect many parts of the body.

In one study, obesity and pain have also been shown to go hand in hand even if the person hasn’t developed any of the diseases listed above. This begs the question as to whether excess weight is the direct cause of pain or if it’s the conditions associated with obesity that are main culprit.

After surveying more than one million Americans, researchers noticed that the relationship between obesity and pain persisted even after they tried to account for the influences of other pain-causing health problems. This study found a link between the simple act of carrying extra weight and everyday pain. They found that the heavier the individual was, the more pain they were likely to feel. Most people reported feeling the most chronic pain in their back and joints.

Joint pain

Those who are overweight experience increased pressure on their joints, especially in the knees, hips and ankles. In fact, walking or going up and down stairs with excess weight can put pressure on the joints that is as much as three to five times the body weight. Over time, this extra pressure can make you more susceptible to chronic pain conditions, like arthritis, and can contribute to a quicker progression.

Back pain

According to the American Obesity Association, those who are obese (greater than a 35-inch waist for women and a 40-inch waist for men) are at a higher risk for chronic lower back pain. Every extra pound carried adds strain to the muscles and ligaments in the body, especially in weight-bearing areas, like the spine. To compensate, the spine can become tilted and stressed unevenly, which can lead to chronic lower back pain.

For those who suffer from chronic pain as a result of their obesity, one of the best ways to get relief is to incorporate healthy habits into their daily routine to help lose weight. Two key elements to aid in weight loss include a healthy, balanced diet and regular exercise.

Though it may come as a surprise to some, the right kind of exercise will not only shed pounds, but it is also one of the best ways to help relieve pain. Exercise keeps your body’s structures flexible and strong, rather than stiff and weak.

Chronic pain does not have to plague you forever. Making small changes to introduce a healthier lifestyle can put you back on the path to a healthy life. Take back control of your well-being. Give our specialists at Cedar Rapids Pain Associates a call today to find out how they can help you manage your chronic pain. Call (319) 540-8251 to book your next appointment.