If you struggle with low back pain that is not associated with an injury, you may be pondering the cause. Carrying excess weight, especially central obesity, is a likely culprit for your pain. There are several approaches that can help you shed the pounds while decreasing pain.
Start With Your Diet
Depending on how much excess weight you carry, even simple changes in your diet can result in dramatic weight loss. One of the challenges people face is their back pain can make them more sedentary, even to the point of contributing to disability, which also contributes to gaining weight or having a harder time losing weight. The best strategy is to work on changing your diet and using calorie restriction. As you shed excess weight, you will find it is easier to be more physically active. Start by using a diet/fitness tracker that will give you a calorie limit for the day. Be diligent about logging your food and staying within your calorie limit.
Work On Your Posture
If you have a full-length mirror, this is the easiest way to determine what is wrong with your posture. Look at yourself when you are standing and again as you walk. Some people will find their excess abdominal weight pulls them forward, so they compensate with an anterior pelvic tilt or "swayback" posture. One way to help correct your posture is to invest in a back brace. Although this is not designed for long-term use, it can be helpful in the beginning. The back brace will force you to keep your back straight as you stand or sit. You should alternate using the back brace with periods of being more mindful of your posture. When you are sitting or standing, actively engage your abdominal muscles. Do this for several seconds at a time to strengthen your abdominal muscles and aim to work on these core exercises for longer periods.
Invest In Physical Therapy
The best investment for both pain reduction and long-term mobility will be physical therapy. It is difficult to determine the exact problems that need to be worked on without consulting a professional. Although weight may be a problem, there are likely other issues that also contribute to back pain. For example, weight can contribute to pain in other joints, especially the weight-bearing joints. To compensate for pain in other areas, you may walk differently, such as placing less of your weight on one side. During PT sessions, your therapist will instruct you on different exercises to perform that not only strengthen your core muscles but also strengthen your legs and hips to help correct other gait problems.
Unfortunately, excess weight is a frequent cause or contributor to low back pain and it is not always easy to lose weight. Making simple changes to your diet and working on your posture is the first step to reducing back pain.
For more information about back pain treatment, contact a doctor like Wayne Isaacson MD.
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