Will weight loss help back pain? In many cases, yes. But let’s not forget it can also make your back pain worse. The weight you lose from losing fat and shedding excess pounds can lead to an extended period of time where your body uses up stored fat reserves to maintain normal functions.
This is known as the “diet-induced famine” or the “starvation mode”.
When this happens, you are more likely to experience greater cravings for fatty, sugary foods and beverages (which tend to be more high-calorie) and reduce the amount of physical activity that you do. As a result, you could find yourself gaining more weight back again instead of losing weight and further increasing your chances of developing chronic back pain.
What is weight loss and how does it help with back pain?
Losing weight can help manage your back pain by reducing the strain on your back. This can be a result of the general pain you are experiencing being reduced or the fact that you are not having to use as much energy due to your reduced weight.
You can also lose weight to help manage other health conditions like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, or sleep apnea. In fact, some medications can lead to weight loss, which could be one way to help manage your back pain.
Weight Loss and Back Pain: When It May Not Help
Losing weight can help manage pain if your back pain is related to excess fat, muscle, or weight. But if you are losing weight because you have back pain, you may only be masking the pain with a bag of skin.
Weight Loss and Back Pain: When It Can Help
Some people will find that losing weight helps manage their back pain. But what is it about weight loss that helps with back pain?
➽ Lower Back Pain. Weight loss can be helpful in reducing lower back pain. Losing weight can affect your posture, which can result in better alignment and less lower back pain.
➽ Intervertebral Disc Disorders. Lower back pain can be a symptom of intervertebral disc disorders or spinal nerve entrapment. You may find that losing weight can help manage your back pain due to the fact that you do not have to work (or use up more energy) to maintain your normal functions.
➽ Spinal stenosis. Drainage of spinal disc disorders can also cause low back pain known as spinal stenosis. Losing weight may help you manage your back pain as you do not require as much energy to move around.
Losing weight can help manage your back pain if your back pain is related to excess fat, muscle, or weight. But if you are losing weight because you have back pain, you may only be masking the pain with a bag of skin. Additionally, you could end up gaining more weight back and increasing your chances of developing chronic back pain.
In these cases, it is important to work with your doctor to find out what your diet should include and what activities you can do to manage your back pain. And if dieting is not an option, you could try other health interventions such as exercise or taking medications.