Obesity and Pain: Is There A Connection?
The pain of being obese has no match. It drags downs an individual’s confidence level. A large number of people suffering from obesity also suffer from hardships at work and in relationships. And that’s a pain of its kind. But, pain because of being obese or overweight is an alarming situation. In this post, I’m going to talk about pain and obesity, to be specific, chronic pain!
Did you know, obesity and pain have a close connection? Here, I’m not talking about the pain that most obese people face because of lack of confidence. Rather, it is about the aching they go through because of their bulky and weighty body.
Yes, that’s true. Extra pounds do cause body pain. This is because your bones and joints aren’t strong enough to bear that load. In some people, the amount of pain is unbearable.
Hello there. I’m Dr. Nisha Jain, M.D. and Chief Medical Officer at Pain Center and Slim n Skin. I have seen people coming to us seeking treatment for backpain and joint pain. In a majority of cases, the root cause of body pain is their weight, which surpasses the standard BMI level.
Obesity and Pain
Many studies have evidenced that people who are overweight and obese often report acute body pain. However, the weight and size aren’t always the reason for pain.
Bulky and massy people are an easy target of an array of medical conditions that may lead to body and back pain. Diseases like arthritis and diabetes type 2 are also common among people putting up with obese and overweight body.
According to a research done by WHO on a large sample, “39% and 19% of young adults worldwide are overweight and obese, respectively.”
In the US, 69%, the data presented was even more shocking. “Out of 9000 survey participants, 69% adults were either overweight or obese.” Among those sixty-nine percent people, most suffered from diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and many related medical problems, and evidently, chronic pain.
Pain conditions and pain complaints are common in people with obesity. The likelihood of pain complaint in morbidly obese adults, teens and children is four times high. The pain they get is not just limited to backpain. Headache, neck pain, fibromyalgia, abdominal pain, and muscle pain are the most commonly reported complaints by obese individuals. The intensity of pain rises as the BMI goes up.
Osteoarthritis, put simply, joint pain, is also a prevalent condition that haunts obese people. As per the National Center for Biotechnology Informationwebsite, there are over 27 million patients of osteoarthritis in the United States. Many studies document that there is a connection between joint pain and obesity. In fact, it is one of the major reasons behind the rising number of knee replacement in US. Meaning, increasing weight not only causes pain, but also weakens your joints.
Pain too causes Obesity!
Presenting a contradiction, some researches also evidence that long-term pain conditions can also cause obesity. Pain without a doubt is a stressful condition. And that there’s no denying that most individuals tend to eat more in stress. Pain is also a cause of lack of sleep, inactive lifestyle, and medicinal side-effects – that altogether may lead to weight and fat gain.
Reduced Pain Sensitivity
Reports indicate that obesity decreases pain sensitivity, specifically in abdominal area, arms, and fingers. What does that mean? Well, decrement of pain sensitivity connotes some serious damage to body structure happening and you have no idea about that, because you don’t sense any pain or you feel a slight pain that you ignore it.
Factors That Connect Obesity and Pain-
Rise in BMI or load on joints (bones) is a key factor that causes pain in obese or turning obese people, alongside increasing the risk of disk compression.
Depression:- Depression leads to overeating and inactivity, which cause obesity.
Sleep Deprivation:- This also is an outcome of depression. We have a brilliant article on Slim n Skin – Sleep Helps in Weight Loss! Here’s How – that talks about how getting good sleep helps prevent obesity. Lack of sleep causes obesity and sleep is often deprived due to pain (whether physical or emotional). Sleep is a very important factor in pain rehabilitation. So, the most important thing that needs to be fixed is your sleeping routine.
Lifestyle:- Inactivity is a prominent reason of pain and obesity. Teens follow a weird lifestyle – Eat, Sleep, Repeat – these days. Their physical activities are limited to school and college mostly. This lifestyle one way or another prepares a solid ground for obesity starting from teenage, young adulthood, and thirties and so on. Significance of active lifestyle is undeniable. Sedentary or no activity blocks or hinders the activity of joints – leading to chronic backpain in even in an early age.
As you can see, lifestyle habits are mainly responsible for setting your life in motion. Inactivity, overeating, and sleep deprivation have a huge impact on your body shape and weight. However, genetics too plays a crucial role in your shape and size, but it is up to you to maintain your BMI and avoid such situations from signifying into an incorrigible condition.
Pain can be rehabilitated, but the side-effects medications have on you are beyond repair. Similarly, good sleep is achievable with pills. However, what these pills will do in long term is unequivocally painful. Therefore, I always insist on natural ways and sources to rehabilitate pain and reduce weight.