How Obesity Contributes to Lower Back Problems

There have been numerous reports about how people who are obese are at a higher risk of developing a variety of serious health conditions, such as hypertension, diabetes, heart disease and even cancer. Obesity can also negatively impact a person’s life in many other, non-life-threatening ways, such as how it can contribute to lower back problems.

As the structure that helps support the body and influence movement, the back has a normal spine curve that is most effective when it is in a neutral position. When a person is obese any added weight in their midsection can shift the pelvis forward and cause the spine to curve excessively inward, placing abnormal pressure on back muscles that are now forced to bear that weight.

Based purely on statistics, there is a very strong association between excess weight and lower back pain. A recent article in the American Journal of Epidemiology assessed that lower back pain was directly related to an increased body mass index (BMI). According to the research, people within a normal weight range were at a low risk of lower back pain, overweight individuals were at a moderate risk, while those who were obese were at the highest risk. The study also concluded that obese people were more likely to have back pain issues more frequently and require medical care to treat their lower back pain.

Obesity is a growing problem in American, affecting nearly 40 %, or approximately 93 million adults in the United States according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). To address this issue, experts recommend eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly. If however, you have tried all diet and exercise programs and are still obese, there are surgical options available to you.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Back Pain

back pain-653834536Back pain is a common health condition that affects approximately 80% of people living in the United States at some point in their lives.

Although back pain can occur at any age, incidents are more common in people 35 years old and older. This may be due to the degeneration of the bones and discs in our spine over time.

Contributors to back pain can vary by circumstance or by preexisting health conditions such as:

  • Obesity
  • Injury
  • Pregnancy
  • Arthritis
  • Improper lifting
  • Osteoporosis
  • Occupation

Back pain may be caused when there is muscle or ligament strain, bulging or ruptured discs or skeletal irregularities.

Back pain can be mild or severe.  Symptoms may include a stabbing pain, muscle ache, pain that radiates down your leg or limited flexibility.

If these symptoms are continuous or become unbearable, it is advised that you see a doctor as soon as possible.  Your doctor will assess your level of pain, your range in mobility and investigate possible causes for your pain.  He or she may perform X rays, nerve studies, MRI or CT scans, bone scans or blood tests to help diagnose and treat the problem. Treatment may include medication, applying heat or ice compresses, physical therapy or surgery.

Jamaica Hospital Medical Center Center offers an Interventional Pain Management Practice, to schedule an appointment, please call 718-206-7246.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Is Your Mattress Contributing to Your Back Pain?

There are many possible reasons someone might experience back pain. One potential contributing factor could be the mattress you sleep on.

This bed is not comfortable as I thought

Waking up with lower back pain can be an indicator that your mattress is to blame. It is recommended that you evaluate the condition of your mattress every five to seven years since this is when they begin to break-down. Nearly two-thirds of those who suffer with lower back pain report significant improvements after purchasing a new mattress.

Selecting a mattress can be tricky. It has long been believed that a firm mattress works best, but others believe that a medium to firm mattress is better. At the end of the day, what matters most is what feels best for you, so lie down and “test” a few mattresses in the store before making a decision.

Purchasing a mattress can be an expensive investment. For those who can’t afford to buy a new mattress, follow these tips can help:

• Use a plywood board between your mattress and box-spring or frame for added support
• Place a pillow under your knees if you sleep on your back or between your knees if you sleep on your side to take pressure off of your spine
• Wrap a rolled-up towel around your waist to help maintain a proper curve in your spine
• Never get out of bed too fast. Instead, roll on your side, bend your knees and push yourself up with your hands
• Even if you are experiencing back pain, don’t remain in bed too long. This can relieve stiffness and pain

While these tips can be helpful for some, they might not work for everyone. if you continue to experience back pain, or if your pain is worse at night, speak to your doctor immediately.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.