It may come as no surprise that excess weight can impact your health in a number of ways, but those who suffer from chronic back pain may be surprised to find that excess weight may be the source of their back pain. Those who suffer from back pain and have struggled to maintain a healthy weight may benefit from bariatric surgery.
Bariatric surgery can help with weight loss when diet and exercise alone are not enough. To learn more about bariatric surgery and reduced back pain, schedule a consultation with Tijuana, Mexico surgeons Fernando Garcia and David Vazquez.
How Does Weight Impact Back Pain?
Those who are overweight are generally at greater risk of developing back pain, as well as muscle strain and joint pain, than those who maintain a healthy weight. Obesity can cause the spine to tilt forward, causing stress to the back, as the body tries to compensate for carrying extra weight in the torso. In some cases, this can cause the spine to curve, further aggravating back pain. Lower back pain is of particular concern for those who carry extra weight in the stomach area as this extra weight causes the pelvis to push forward, which in turn strains the lower back. Carrying excess weight can also make it difficult to exercise, potentially causing the back muscles to weaken from lack of use.
Back Conditions Related to Obesity
Those who are significantly overweight may develop certain back problems due to excess weight, or pre-existing back conditions may be made worse. Back conditions caused or aggravated by obesity include:
- Sciatica: Sciatica is a condition in which pressure on the sciatic nerve causes radiating pain from the lower back down through the legs.
- Herniated disc: A herniated disc describes a condition in which a rubbery disc between the spinal bones pushes outward, often resulting in back pain.
- Pinched nerves: One or more nerves in the back may become pinched due to a herniated disc or simply from the pressure of carrying excess weight.
- Bulging disc: A bulging disc is similar to a herniated disc except the disc between the spinal bones does not evenly bulge out.
- Arthritis of the spine: Carrying excess weight can aggravate arthritis of the spine due to the strain obesity puts on joints throughout the body.
Bariatric Surgery and Reduced Back Pain
Back pain caused or exacerbated by obesity may be reduced by losing weight. Unfortunately, some people are not able to achieve a healthy weight through diet and exercise and, in some cases, back pain may be too severe to exercise. In such circumstances, bariatric surgery may provide a solution.
There are different types of bariatric surgery, and they all help with weight loss by restricting the amount of food the stomach can hold, physically limiting the amount of calories that can be eaten, and reducing absorption of calories by reducing the length of the digestive tract. The different types of bariatric surgery include:
- Sleeve gastrectomy
- Roux-en-Y gastric bypass
- Laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding
- Duodenal switch with biliopancreatic diversion
Schedule a Consultation
If you are significantly overweight and suffer from back pain, bariatric surgery may be right for you. To find out if you're a candidate for bariatric surgery, we invite you to schedule a consultation with Dr. Garcia or Dr. Vazquez.