Weight and Back Pain | Sciatica

January 16 | drsingh

Obese business executive having back problems


Excess weight is linked to myriad well-known health problems: high blood pressure, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and stroke. The stress and deterioration it causes to the knees and hips are also commonly understood. What is perhaps less widely considered is the link between being overweight and back pain. A leading cause of disability, back pain strikes more than half of all Americans at some point in their lives. Chronic back pain is estimated to cost the country around $600 billion annually in medical treatment and lost productivity.

Lower Back Pain

Back pain affects almost one-third of people classified as obese, according to the American Obesity Association. The lower back is especially susceptible to weight-related pressure that can cause misalignment and pain. The combination of back pain and excess weight can result in a vicious cycle—when pain limits mobility, it can be harder to reduce weight to alleviate the stress on the spine and joints. Understanding the role weight plays in back pain is an essential part of successfully addressing the problem.

Do you suffer from sciatica pain?

If you are having symptoms of lower back pain, shooting pain down your leg, and want to avoid surgery you may be interested in reading this blog: HERE

Diagram showing areas of pain when suffering from sciatica pain.

How Weight Affects the Spine

Obese women exercising, stretching out sciatic nerve.

Too much weight, especially around the midsection of the body, pulls the pelvis forward. That weight also increases the strain on back muscles and ligaments. Over time, those factors can pull the spine out of the optimal alignment, producing an unnatural curvature. However, obesity isn’t just a matter of adding mechanical stresses to the joints and back. Excess body fat also produces chemicals that contribute to joint damage. The combination can create a range of possible back problems.

Being overweight is particularly damaging to the spinal discs. Having weight in the unhealthy range increases the odds of developing degenerative disc disease by 30 to 79 percent. The pressure of excess weight can also cause herniation of the discs, triggering sciatica. Discs may also slip or rupture from too much weight. When this happens, the compressed spaces between the vertebrae can cause painful pinched nerves and piriformis syndrome (spasms of the piriformis muscle that can irritate the sciatic nerve).

In addition, obesity can trigger the development of osteoarthritis or exacerbate arthritis of the spine. On top of all of that, being overweight increases the risk of injury, which can add to the woes of increased wear and tear. Those who are overweight are 15 percent more likely to sustain a musculoskeletal injury, while those who are obese increase their risk by 48 percent.

Protecting Your Back

Even small changes to your weight can make a significant difference to your back. Working toward achieving a healthy weight will start producing positive results with even a modest weight loss, because every four pounds in weight loss removes 16 pounds of pressure from your spine. According to one study, each 11-pound weight loss also reduced the chances of developing osteoarthritis by 50 percent. If you feel that your current weight is contributing to your back pain, the time to act is now.

At Singh Rehabilitation, we know the profound impact back pain can have on your ability to function and enjoy your favorite activities. We work with patients of all ages and levels of fitness to identify the root cause of their pain and develop an individualized treatment plan to improve mobility, stability, flexibility, and strength. We don’t just treat symptoms—our goal is to achieve long-term wellness and freedom from pain.

When weight and lifestyle are a factor in back pain, a multifaceted approach is necessary to produce sustainable progress. Singh Rehabilitation uses a unique combination of physiotherapy and chiropractic treatment to align your musculoskeletal system, correct movement patterns that can contribute to pain and injury, and enable your body to heal itself. Our holistic approach addresses both the physical and mental aspects of your well-being, incorporating prevention, treatment, and education to give you the tools to reach your goals.

You don’t have to put up with back pain and the limitations it puts on your ability to enjoy life to the fullest. Whether your problems are the result of (or worsened by) excess weight, injury, overuse, or some other underlying issue, Singh Rehabilitation can help you pinpoint the cause and work toward healing. To find out more about our treatment options or to schedule an initial consultation, contact us here

Choose Your Location Newport Beach | Anaheim Hills

Book An Appointment


Chelsea, Professional Hawaiian Dancer

Professional Basketball Player, Orange County

International Soccer Player, Orange County

Very detailed oriented.

C. Maggette

Very knowledgeable of the movement of the human body.

A. Miller

Makes you feel like family.

A- Red

Takes time to explain what is causing the pain and how we are going rehab it

K. Nguyen

Book An Appointment

All visits are by appointment only.