How Weight Loss Can Help Your Back Pain

In the United States, we’ve faced our fair share of issues with the obesity health crisis. As of 2018, 42 percent of adults in the United States were obese. Being obese certainly leads to back problems, but being overweight in any fashion can, too. It’s important to keep your weight in check if you want to live a life without pain. Here are the ways that losing weight can help you with your back pain.

Extra Weight Adds Stress to the Spine

According to the American Obesity Association, at least one third of obese Americans reported having moderate to severe back pain. Studies have shown that being overweight results in the spine being tilted or stressed unevenly. The spine attempts to compensate for the extra weight being pressed on it, so the overall shape of it changes. This can lead to several different health conditions involving the back.  

Possible Back Injuries Promoted by Extra Weight

When you add weight to the spine, the following issues may arise.


Sciatica specifically refers to an issue with the sciatic nerve. The nerve is normally pinched or pressure is applied to it. This can be caused by a herniated disc or a bone spur in some cases. Sciatica can be extremely painful, and is more prevalent in obese adults than it is healthy adults.


In between the bones of the spine are small, rubbery discs. When the disc is compressed or pushed through the tougher exterior casing, it is referred to as a herniated disc. Herniated discs can result in pain, numbness, or weakness in the limbs, depending on which disc is herniated. If the problem is bad enough, surgery can be required, however, the problem will persist if the individual experiencing it is overweight and takes no action to lose the weight.


Sometimes, weight can be so detrimental to an individual that it can permanently alter the curvature of the spine. This is formally known as scoliosis. Scoliosis can be incredibly damaging. It can cause severe pain, as well as disabling if it becomes bad enough.

Can Weight Loss Reverse These Effects?

Over time, weight loss and physical therapy can reverse the effects that obesity has on the body. However, it is important to note that the effects of obesity are often permanent. Obesity is classified as a disease, and it is a disease that affects every major system within the body itself. This includes organs, the musculoskeletal system, and the nervous system. If obesity is reversed, not all of the effects will be reversed with it as quickly as the weight loss.

Wrapping Up

Obesity is one of the leading causes of back pain in Americans. In the United States, nearly half of the adult population is obese. Of that portion of people, nearly one third reports having severe back pain. Obesity is not to be taken lightly. If you’re working on reversing the effects of being overweight and you have back pain, consider visiting us at North County Pain Relief. We may be able to help.