One of the many benefits of weight loss surgery is the alleviation of back pain. Studies show that people who are overweight are at greater risk for back pain, joint pain and muscle strain than those who are not overweight.
If you are considering bariatric surgery and you suffer from serious back pain, here’s what you need to know.
How Obesity Causes Musculoskeletal Pain
Musculoskeletal pain, which includes back pain, occurs in the nearly one-third of Americans who are classified as obese. Simply put, the more you weigh, the more pressure you exert on your spine and joints.
The added pressure of each additional pound can cause cartilage to wear away, leading to bone-on-bone friction. Pressure can also flatten the cushioning disks between vertebral bones, causing back pain.
Additionally, extra weight can place stress on the spine and cause it to warp. Over time, the back may lose proper support and an unnatural curvature in the spine may emerge.
Obesity is also a culprit of lower back pain. For people who carry excess weight in their stomachs, the weight pulls the pelvis forward and puts a harmful strain on the lower back in addition to the rest of the body.
Conditions Related To Obesity
There are a range of conditions that obesity can cause and/or exacerbate.
As mentioned above, too much weight can place a lot of strain on the back, which can result in a herniated disc. A herniated disk occurs when spinal structures are damaged from the stress of having to counterbalance extra weight.
Obesity can also be a key contributing factor in osteoarthritis. Patients with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of more than 25 are more likely to develop osteoarthritis than those with lower BMIs.
How Obesity Complicates Back Surgery
Unfortunately, reducing back pain is not a simple matter of surgery for obese patients. Many joint and spine surgeons are often unwilling to perform surgery on overweight patients for fear that the obesity will only cause the new joint or spine repair to wear down and require additional surgery.
Moreover, obese patients face a greater risk of complications and infections after the surgery.
Weight Loss Reduces Back And Joint Pain
Just as more weight equals more pressure on the back and joints, a reduction in body mass reduces the stress on the joints and spine. In addition to the many other benefits of weight loss, it can also remove the stress that degrades the musculoskeletal structure.
Additionally, weight loss can reduce the risk of critical joint replacement or spine surgery, enabling patients to receive procedures which can further reduce joint or back pain.
Sticking to a healthy weight loss program can help you avoid or reduce the problems that excess weight can cause for your joints and back. For certain patients, weight loss surgery can reduce overall body mass and keep their muscles and bones in healthy shape.
If you’re experiencing back or joint pain related to obesity, give Dr. Dirk a call at (214) 974-8937. He and his staff can help you determine if weight loss surgery is right for you.