There’s a strong link between weight and health. You may know that carrying extra body weight increases your risk of health problems like diabetes and heart disease. But there’s also a connection between extra weight and pain.
At Orthopedic & Wellness in Frederick, Waldorf, and Germantown, Maryland, our experienced physicians, Dr. Ojedapo Ojeyemi and Dr. Matthew Roh, offer many innovative pain management treatments to alleviate discomfort. We use injections, nerve blocks, and minimally invasive spine surgery when appropriate to relieve pain and improve your quality of life.
But one of the best ways to lessen your pain — and improve your well-being — is healthy weight loss.
Weight and pain
Research indicates there’s a strong association between weight challenges and pain. People who struggle with extra body weight are four times more likely to complain of pain than people at a normal body weight.
Extra body weight puts more stress on your joints, increasing the rate of degeneration and advancing the onset of chronic pain conditions like back pain, knee pain, and osteoarthritis. But pain in people with excess body weight isn’t limited to the joints. They’re also more likely to experience pain conditions like chronic headaches, fibromyalgia, and abdominal pain.
The association between weight and pain is multifactorial. Stress on the body certainly plays a role, but excess body weight also affects physical, emotional, and social well-being.
Your body weight (and pain) may make it harder to maintain a certain level of activity, affecting your ability to do the things you love. This may lead to depression, low energy, and social isolation — and this can contribute to your pain, too.
There’s also evidence that excess body weight causes low-level inflammation, which can exacerbate pain.
Weight loss, less pain
Healthy weight loss lessens pain, according to a 2018 study published in The Journal of Pain. This study found that losing 10% of body weight improved spatial distribution of pain, fatigue, and depression. Researchers also found that weight loss triggered the release of anti-inflammatory agents that serve as the body’s natural painkillers.
Like the link between weight and pain, the link between healthy weight loss and less pain is multifactorial. Losing even a small amount of weight reduces stress on the body, improves mood, and lowers inflammation, lessening your overall pain level.
Healthy weight-loss strategies
Before starting any weight-loss program, talk to your primary care provider about what strategies might work best for you. Remember: No single diet works for everyone.
When it comes to healthy weight loss, slow and steady leads to long-term success. Eating a balanced diet and getting regular exercise can help you reach your weight goals.
However, it’s OK to reach out for help. Like your pain, there are many factors that influence your weight. Working with a professional sets you up to develop habits that lead to permanent weight loss. We can help you get started.
When it comes to pain, we’re on your side. Contact Orthopedic & Wellness at the location convenient to you to schedule an appointment with us today.