Understanding How Your Spine Works
Imagine your spine. Now imagine your spine with complete freedom to move, bend, and stretch inside your healthy, flexible body. But if you add extra weight to the upper part of your body, your spine will begin to feel the pressure of the poundage. Gaining weight will make it difficult for a spine to move freely because the extra weight compresses on the vertebrae of a spine, which can ultimately lead to chronic back problems.
During a lifespan, more than 80% of Americans will experience lower back pain at some point. Many medical professionals believe that the three primary reasons for escalating back pain problems in the U.S. are attributed to obesity, labor intensive jobs, such as construction, and wear and tear from age. The spine is designed to carry the weight of the spine, but will begin to breakdown, per se, when a person reaches obesity level. Humans are considered at the obesity level when their BMI (body mass index), exceeds the normal weight. To calculate your BMI, click on the link provided by the Center of Disease Control.
What does Weight Gain Actually Do to the Spine?
Think of it this way: the upper body and its weight is supported by the spine. A spine is made up of more than thirty bones (vertebrae), which are stacked in sequence on top of each other. The cartilage (discs), flexible connective tissue, is wedged between the vertebrae and prevents the bones from grinding on one another. Excess weight puts unsurmountable pressure on the spine, causing the cartilage to weaken over time.
The lumbar (or lower) region of the back is most vulnerable to back conditions. Even though we can count on aging with “father time” to make us more susceptible to ailments as we grow older, if a person is obese, it is most certain they will suffer from chronic back pain as they age. In order to combat weak muscles and bones in the lower region of your body, it is important to eat right and exercise. When our bodies gain extensive weight, symptoms such as degenerative disc disease, rheumatoid arthritis, spinal stenosis, and osteoporosis can occur
Taking Back Control with Weight Loss Goals
1. Make it a goal to lose the excess weight. Say it out loud and give your self thirty days to make progress. Even losing 10% of your weight gain can help relieve back pain.
2. Try a high protein diet so that you can burn more calories. And note, Protein is very important, but don’t forget, so are carbs, fats and calories.
Successful Sources of Protein (as listed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture)
Smart Carbohydrates include:
- Whole grains
Pick protein sources that are multi nutrient-rich and low in calories and fat content, such as:
- Lean meats
- Low-fat dairy products
3. Exercise routines are important when staying fit. If you can commit to 15 minutes a day of exercise, you will see results in your overall mood, stress levels and weight loss goals. It’s important that you maintain a healthy routine so that you can track your progress.
Just think, 15 minutes a day of exercise and changing your diet to a healthy nutritional program could save you a whole lot of back pain due to weight gain. Of course, the more you exercise, the more weight you will lose, so ultimately, it’s up to you. How healthy do you want your spine to feel?