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How Losing Weight Can Help Relieve Lower Back Pain

Jun 09, 2022
How Losing Weight Can Help Relieve Lower Back Pain
You’re overweight or have obesity and you also suffer from frequent, and often debilitating, lower back pain. The two conditions may be related, which makes weight loss a great first step toward finding relief.

Nearly one-third of the adult population in the United States is overweight, and more than 42% of adults have obesity, which means that more than two-thirds of adults are carrying excess pounds. If you’re included in these numbers, you’re more at risk for developing a wide range of health issues, including lower back pain

The relationship between your weight and your risk for lower back pain is complex, which is why the team of pain management specialists here at Commonwealth Pain and Spine wants to take a closer look in this month’s blog post.

Here, we explore the connection between lower back pain and your weight and why losing some pounds can help you find relief.

A direct and indirect connection

Your musculoskeletal structure is designed to carry a certain amount of weight, and when you’re carrying too many pounds, you’re placing added strain on the structure. For example, when you’re overweight or have obesity, it can push your pelvis forward, which can lead to lower back pain.

While this is a direct result of carrying excess weight, your lower back pain may be the result of a more indirect connection. To illustrate this point, let’s take a look at two common causes of low back pain:


This lower back problem occurs when a disc in your lumbar spine irritates your large sciatic nerve, which starts in your low back. In most cases, a disc herniates or bulges and irritates the sensitive nerve root. While the direct cause of your low back pain is a problematic disc, that disc may have become problematic because of your weight.

Carrying just 10 extra pounds can place more wear-and-tear on the intervertebral discs in your lumbar spine, which can accelerate or lead to degenerative disc disease (DDD). And DDD is one of the leading causes of sciatica.

Arthritis in your back

When you carry extra weight, it may also contribute to another degenerative problem, namely arthritis in the facet joints in your lower back. While your low back pain is attributed to arthritis, your weight may have exacerbated existing arthritis or caused arthritis to develop prematurely.

The bottom line is that, whether direct or indirect, your weight can influence whether or not you develop low back pain.

Losing weight for better back health

If weight is one of the factors behind your low back pain, it follows that losing the weight can help to alleviate your pain. As you embark on a weight loss program, we can do our part to relieve the discomfort through:

Once we get you comfortable, you can embark on a diet and exercise program that will help you shed the pounds.

To learn more about weight loss and low back pain relief, please make an appointment with one of our pain management experts at a location near you. We have offices in St. Matthews, Elizabethtown, Lexington, Crestview Hills, Owensboro, and London, Kentucky. Indiana offices are in Evansville, Vincennes, New Albany, Carrollton, and Jasper. We also serve patients in Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati, Ohio.