The rise in the rate of low back pain parallels a rise in the rate of obesity in the United States. More than one-third (34.9% or 78.6 million) of U.S. adults are obese, and two-thirds are overweight. Excess weight and obesity are concerns because of their connection to preventable chronic diseases that reduce quality of life.
Excess weight puts tremendous stress on your low back, which holds most of the body’s weight. If we imagine the low back as a fulcrum, lifting a 10 pound object requires a counter-force of 10 pounds. When we add in the 105 pounds of the average human upper torso, we see that lifting a ten pound object actually puts 1,150 pounds of pressure on the low back. Gaining 25 pounds adds another 250 pounds of pressure on the low back.
Many researchers attribute America’s expanding waistlines and expanding health problems to poor dietary choices such as; consuming excess calories, consuming large amounts of sugar and fat, and choosing refined carbohydrates. To lose weight and improve low back pain, choose to eat more of the following anti-inflammatory foods.
- Fatty fish
- Dark leafy greens
- Whole grains
Our sedentary lifestyle exacerbates poor dietary choices. The present day culture in the United States promotes long periods of sitting. Sitting for long periods, especially in a slouched position, creates muscle imbalances in the lower back. Studies show that sitting puts more pressure on your spine than lying down or standing up. Movement nourishes the spongy discs that cushion your vertebrae, keeping them healthier so they can do their work better.
Exercise doesn’t have to be difficult or time consuming, there are many simple ways to incorporate movement into your daily routine.
- Get a pedometer and aim for at least 10,000 steps per day
- Get up from your desk as frequently as possible, aim for every twenty minutes
- If you cannot get up from your desk, perform some simple stretches in your chair
- Do a few squats, lunges, planks, or pushups during the commercial breaks on TV
- Park as far away from the store as possible when you go shopping
So, making a few lifestyle changes and losing excess weight can have a large impact on your low back pain. For more ideas about how to achieve a healthy weight and reclaim your quality of life, please contact us.