Obesity has unfortunately become a popular topic within the health industry. As of 2010, 35% of the adults in the US were considered obese, with costs of treating all the diseases that come with it estimated at $147 billion back in 2008 alone. Conditions commonly associated are Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol), stroke, and sleep apnea. Did you know that osteoarthritis (OA) is also associated heavily with obesity as well?
Joints that bear a significant amount of weight, like our hips and knees, are common targets for arthritis. But excessive weight can also negatively affect our spine. A study on women in the Journal of Neuroengineering & Rehabilitation (January 18,2010) found that obese women demonstrated decreased spinal motion compared to those of normal weight. Not only was there a change in range of motion but they also experienced increases in the natural curves of the spine as well as long-term postural changes. All of this puts more biomechanical stress on your back.
For our spine, increased weight, especially in our low back, can cause additional stress to the discs in between each vertebra. Anything that wears down our discs puts us at risk for protrusion and destructive changes at that level of the spine. These types of changes are not only painful in and of themselves, but they can also lead to abnormal pressure on the nerves causing pain as well. Carrying extra weight around your abdomen can cause the curve in your low back to deepen, putting long-term stress not only that region but also up into your thoracic spine as well.
How does chiropractic help with this? First and foremost, chiropractic adjustments help increase the range of motion in our back as well as any other joint in our body. This is important for all patients, but it is critical for those dealing with obesity. Secondly, the chiropractors at Live Well are trained to recognize postural abnormalities and direct our patients through the corrective exercises most beneficial for their body.
Ok, what does all that mean to the average person struggling being overweight or obese? Everyone is slightly different but here’s the plain simple truth. When we carry more weight than we are designed to carry, our body tries to cope the best it can. It will change the curves of the back to accommodate our weight. Your hips, knees and feet may change the way they function to keep your body moving. But these changes take a toll eventually and can lead to some very painful conditions that can be permanent.
So pay attention to your body! If you are a person challenged with a weight concern, face it. In addition to working towards decreasing your weight, include chiropractic care to increase your range of motion and spinal stability. Additionally, your chiropractor can provide a wealth of knowledge regarding your condition and a much needed support as well.