Back pain and the big belly that is causing it

Category: Back Pain, Blog

If you have a big belly, you are at high risk for back pain. This should not surprise anyone but for those who like statement supported by research:

  • Obese men showed the highest increase of and the greatest risk for back pain according to researchers at the Medical University of Graz in Austria.1
  • Doctors at the University of Zurich wrote that the more abdominal fat the worse your facet joint arthritis is. 2
  • There is a significant association between  severity of disc degeneration in overweight and obese adults suggests research from the University of Hong Kong.3
  • Research lead by Yale University doctors says patients who have moderate and severe pain have a difficult time losing weight.4

In addition, if obese individuals believe that back surgery will answer their back pain problems and thereby help with their obesity, they should note that research has shown:

  • obese individuals with low back pain who have surgery are likely to have longer surgical times,
  • increase risk for infection and other post surgical complications.5

Treating back pain is more than surgery and painkillers. It is whole patient management.

At the Magaziner Center for Wellness, we rebuild and restructure the damaged joints using innovative regenerative joint therapies. These include prolotherapy, Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP), stem cell therapy and biopuncture. These techniques help stabilize the spine and joints.

Additionally, by stabilizing the spine with these natural procedures, we reduce the symptoms and treat the underlying problems include being overweight or obese. In fact, we have successfully treated patients who were previously told that they would never be pain free without spinal fusion – and they’ve been pain free for a decade or more!

The Center’s own Dr. Greenberg developed one of the most innovative uses for prolotherapy – the correction of a pelvic tilt or functional leg length discrepancy. This disorder produces uneven forces across the joint, thus contributing to its damage. Using prolotherapy, we immediately correct this tilt and help promote the overall healing process.

We also bring a comprehensive understanding of thyroid, hormonal, metabolic and nutritional medicine to our treatment of our patients. Since regular exercise and a healthy diet are crucial when it comes to controlling weight, we speak to each patient about his or her lifestyle habits, as well as his or her biochemistry, in order to create a customized treatment plan.

Rather than just placing an obese patient on a restricted diet, we first analyze his or her blood to look for thyroid or endocrine problems that could have led to weight gain and may be inhibiting a patient from losing weight. We test patients’ reaction to food allergens and if a food allergy or sensitivity is discovered, we will have the patient avoid the food that may be harmful to his or her wellbeing or we work to desensitize the patient to that food. If hypothyroidism is discovered, we will utilize natural thyroid agents to stimulate the production of thyroid hormone as a first step.

For the long run, we help our patients understand food choices and their impact on the body. Our goal is to help our patients maintain their weight loss for a lifetime, by educating them on proper nutrition and changing body chemistry to reduce craving.

Do you have questions about managing obesity and your back pain

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1. Großschädl F, Freidl W, Rásky E, et al. A 35-year trend analysis for back pain in austria: the role of obesity. PLoS One. 2014 Sep 10;9(9):e107436. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0107436. eCollection 2014
2. Jentzsch T, Geiger J, Slankamenac K, Werner CM.Obesity measured by outer abdominal fat may cause facet joint arthritis at the lumbar spine. J Back Musculoskelet Rehabil. 2014 Jun 24. [Epub ahead of print]
3. Samartzis D, Karppinen J, Chan D, et al. The association of lumbar intervertebral disc degeneration on MRI in overweight and obese adults: a population-based study. Arthritis Rheum. 2012. doi: 10.1002/art.33462.
4. Masheb RM, Lutes LD, Kim HM, et al. Weight loss outcomes in patients with pain.  Obesity (Silver Spring). 2015 Aug 3. doi: 10.1002/oby.21160.
5. McGuire KJ, Khaleel MA, Rihn JA, Lurie JD, Zhao W, Weinstein JN. The effect of high obesity on outcomes of treatment for lumbar spinal conditions: subgroup analysis of the spine patient outcomes research trial. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2014 Nov 39(23):1975-80.