You may have already made a New Year’s Resolution to lose weight in 2019. But if you haven’t made that commitment and you experience back pain, you may want to reconsider. Read the tips below on how losing weight can help you relieve your back pain.
Bulging bellies are becoming the norm at an alarming rate. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that more than one-third of US adults are obese. Those extra pounds you’re carrying around can lead to back pain because of the strain excess weight puts on your body.
The following tips can help you control back pain—and your weight—in a healthy way.
How Your Discs Are Like a Tire
Being overweight puts extra pressure on your intervertebral discs, which can ultimately accentuate your spinal curves and increase your risk of injury. Imagine a jam-packed car. Now imagine that the tires of the car begin to bulge and weaken from supporting too much weight. This is what can happen to your discs when you’re overweight.
Be Smart about What You Chew
Eating unhealthy foods—and too much of them—can lead to weight gain. Even over eating healthy foods can cause weight gain! The pounds not only add up on the scale, but on your back, too, putting unnecessary pressure on your spine. A balanced diet filled with fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean protein, and nutritious fats can help you lose weight and maintain a healthy body weight.
The More You Move, the Better You’ll Feel
Exercise can help you manage back pain, and of course, your weight. Find a workout buddy to keep motivated or schedule your workouts as you would a meeting: Stay committed. Stop exercising and contact your doctor immediately if your back pain gets worse or you develop new symptoms.
Develop Healthy Sleep Habits
While you sleep, your body regulates important hormones, such as cortisol. But if you don’t sleep well or enough, your body produces too much of the hormone cortisol, which may cause your body to store more abdominal fat. A 2008 study in the journal Sleep showed that there is a significant risk of becoming obese if you’re a short sleeper (less than 8 hours a night). Lack of sleep can also lead to unhealthy choices, such as poor eating habits.
Stress can exacerbate weight gain and back pain. For example, you may find yourself eating a mountain of cookies rather than carrots when you’re stressed—so do something relaxing that you enjoy every day. Soothe your stress by treating yourself to a massage or spending an afternoon reading a book.
Do It for Your Health
Keeping all these tips in mind can help you reduce or relieve back pain and maintain a healthy weight. More importantly, developing new habits can help you to be healthier. Really, isn’t good health one of the things that matters most?