The Link Between Obesity and Low Back Pain

Obesity can increase your risk of various health conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure. Did you know that low back pain is one of these possible complications?

Lower back pain and obesity are closely linked. Keep reading to learn more about this connection and how maintaining a healthy weight can protect you against chronic back pain. 

How Obesity Contributes to Low Back Pain

Extensive clinical research has linked obesity to higher levels of low back pain and disability. But, why is this the case? The connection comes down to:

Increased Impact on the Spine

Extra weight increases the impact on the spinal bones, called vertebrae while sitting, standing, walking, and carrying out other day-to-day movements. This leads to more stress on the intervertebral discs, which cushion the spine. Over time, the discs may thin, bulge, or even rupture, leading to lower back pain. 

Poor Posture

Obesity can compromise your posture, causing a forward tilt in the pelvis and lower back. This pulls the spine out of its proper alignment and places strain on the lower back. In the long term, poor posture from obesity can contribute to low back pain from spinal nerve compression, disc degeneration, spinal stenosis, and other spinal conditions.

Chronic Inflammation

Obesity is known to increase inflammatory markers, which causes chronic low-grade inflammation throughout the body. This type of inflammation contributes to the development of chronic pain disorders, including low back pain. 

While obesity can contribute to back pain in any area of the spine, lower back pain is the most common. This is because the lumbar spine is more flexible than the cervical or thoracic spine. It also must support more weight than the rest of the spine, which subjects it to greater impact. 

Florida Wellness Medical Group is here to help free you from chronic lower back pain with multiple treatment options, from physical therapy and chiropractic care to massage therapy, acupuncture, and more. Schedule your appointment today!

New Year’s Resolutions to Help Chronic Pain

Chronic pain can sabotage your exercise routine, hinder your daily routine, and diminish your quality of life. But, with the New Year upon us, there’s no better time to reinvigorate your pain management strategy. 

Consider these resolutions to help your chronic pain and bring you relief in the months ahead:

Hone in on Your Stress Levels. 

Stress is an enemy of chronic pain. Stress has been linked to worsened pain symptoms in people with chronic pain. So, lowering your stress levels may increase your pain relief in the New Year. 

Try these stress-busting strategies:

  • Meditate – even a short, five-minute meditation can instantly lower your stress levels. 
  • Practice gratitude by starting a gratitude journal. 
  • Listen to music to unwind when you’re feeling tense
  • Laugh more often – laughter reduces the physical symptoms of stress. 
  • Connect with friends, community members, and loved ones. 
  • Step outside for a quick mood-boost. 

Reconsider Your Sleep Routine. 

Do you get enough high-quality sleep each night? Many people don’t. Unfortunately, sleep deprivation worsens pain sensitivity and hinders the body’s natural recovery process. So, sleep is crucial on your path to chronic pain relief

Prioritize sleep in the New Year by:

  • Practicing a breathing meditation to relax before bed
  • Sticking to a consistent sleep schedule
  • Putting away all devices an hour before bedtime
  • Avoiding big meals, alcohol, and caffeine close to bedtime

Refresh Your Exercise Routine. 

While it can be challenging to exercise with chronic pain, doing so is essential to ease inflammation, maintain mobility, and support your body’s healing process. Focus on low-impact exercises that don’t cause flare-ups, such as swimming, aerobics, walking, and yoga. Aim to exercise for at least 30 minutes, five days per week. 

We’re here to help you find relief from chronic pain in the New Year. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!

How Serious is a Spinal Headache?

Many types of headaches are common, including tension headaches and migraines. Spinal headaches, on the other hand, are an intense type of headache that occurs as a complication of spinal taps or spinal anesthesia. 

Having a severe headache can be uncomfortable and concerning. In this article, we’ll discuss how serious spinal headaches are and what to do if you experience symptoms of this headache type. 

What Exactly is a Spinal Headache?

A spinal headache occurs when cerebrospinal fluid, or CSF, leaks out of the spinal cord. CSF protects and cushions the brain and spinal cord. It also carries nutrients that the brain uses for various important processes. 

With a spinal headache, the amount of CSF surrounding the brain decreases. This alters the pressure around the spinal cord and forces the tissues and nerves around the brain to stretch. This triggers a severe, dull, or throbbing headache pain that may worsen when you sit, stand, strain, cough, or sneeze. 

Other common symptoms of a spinal headache include:

  • Nausea
  • Neck pain
  • Neck stiffness
  • Dizziness
  • Light sensitivity
  • Vision changes

Though less common, some people experience tinnitus (ringing in the ears) or radiculopathy symptoms (tingling and numbness) in the arms from spinal headaches. 

Are Spinal Headaches Serious?

Although spinal headaches can be very painful, in most cases, they go away without professional medical treatment. At-home care includes over-the-counter pain medications, drinking plenty of fluids (including caffeinated drinks), and lying down. Additionally, the CSF leakage that triggers spinal headaches generally isn’t dangerous. 

However, if you experience a spinal headache that lasts for 24 hours or longer, contact your doctor. You may need medical care to alleviate the headache, and a formal evaluation can ensure that your symptoms aren’t a sign of a more serious problem. 

Contact the team at Florida Wellness Medical Group to learn about our treatment options for persistent headaches and neck pain. 

 

Could My Diet Be Making My Chronic Pain Worse?

Chronic pain affects an estimated 50 million adults in the United States. With many possible causes of chronic pain, it’s often difficult to treat and may diminish patients’ quality of life. 

Lifestyle factors can play a significant role in chronic pain, including your diet. Certain foods could worsen your pain, while other foods may provide relief. Read on to learn more about the link between your diet and chronic pain. 

How Your Diet Can Affect Chronic Pain

The primary link between diet and chronic pain is inflammation. Certain foods are known to cause or worsen inflammation, while others provide anti-inflammatory benefits. Given that many cases of chronic pain are rooted in inflammation, consuming an anti-inflammatory diet may naturally improve your pain. 

Foods That May Worsen Chronic Pain

When consumed regularly or excessively, certain foods can worsen chronic pain by increasing inflammation. These foods include:

  • Red and processed meat
  • Fried foods including French fries and donuts
  • Foods containing added sugar, including candy, jelly, and soda
  • Trans fats, which are often found in margarine and non-dairy coffee creamer
  • White bread and pasta
  • Processed baked goods and pastries

Additionally, certain cooking methods can worsen inflammation, including deep-fat frying and grilling. 

Anti-Inflammatory Foods

Foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin C, polyphenols, and prebiotics or probiotics are naturally anti-inflammatory. 

  • The best sources of omega-3 fatty acids are fatty fish (including salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring, anchovies, and striped bass), nuts, and seeds
  • The best sources of vitamin C are citrus fruits, bell peppers, strawberries, and tomatoes.
  • The best sources of polyphenols are whole grains, olive oil, dark chocolate, green tea, coffee, berries, leafy greens, broccoli, carrots, apples, and red wine
  • The best natural prebiotics are onions, garlic, asparagus, bananas, and Jerusalem artichokes
  • The best natural probiotics are fermented foods including yogurt, kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut, kombucha, and pickles

The experienced team at Florida Wellness Medical Group can help you overcome chronic pain with a variety of advanced therapies. Schedule your appointment today!