The Role of Physical Therapy in Lower Back Pain Due to Obesity
The connection between obesity and lower back pain is a paradox that’s often not given enough attention. Numerous obese individuals suffer from chronic lower back pain, which can be debilitating and difficult to treat, often requiring powerful pain medication. What is the real connection between the two?
Why Obesity Leads to Lower Back Pain
Overweight individuals have to support more weight with their core muscles than a more fit person. With excess fat and weight, this creates more pressure and strain on these muscles, resulting in chronic lower back pain.
The excess weight also places a strain on the joints and ligaments, increasing the risk of injury. Additionally, the excess weight can also lead to osteoarthritis, a condition in which the cartilage in the joints becomes degraded, resulting in chronic pain.
How Physical Therapy Can Help Obese People with Lower Back Pain
Lower back pain in overweight individuals can be treated through conservative methods, including physical therapy. Physical therapy can be used to treat pain and help obese people improve their flexibility and strength. Let’s get into detail below:
- Physical Therapy Can Build Strength and Cardiovascular Fitness
Physical therapy can teach overweight individuals how to properly care for their body and how to move correctly, improving the strength of the core muscles and leading to increased flexibility, which can help reduce pain.
Physical therapy can also improve cardiovascular fitness, leading to better endurance and stamina, and increased range of motion, which can reduce pressure on the lower back.
- Physical Therapy Can Improve Posture and Alignment
Obese individuals often develop incorrect posture, which can cause chronic lower back pain. Physical therapy can be used to create awareness of posture, proper alignment, and safety techniques, creating muscle memory to improve posture and alignment between sessions.
- Physical Therapy Can Boost Metabolism and Help With Weight Loss
Physical therapy can help obese individuals lose weight and tone their muscles, which can help alleviate chronic lower back pain. It can also improve metabolism, which can lead to weight loss. While it’s not the main goal of physical therapy, it can be an added benefit if the treatment is combined with a healthy diet and regular exercise.
- Physical Therapy Improves Mobility
Physical therapy can also help improve mobility, which can help obese individuals get into better positions to sleep, sit, and even work. It can also help improve joint mobility and ligament flexibility, reducing the risk of injury and keeping the joints healthy.
Prevention Is the Best Cure
Although physical therapy is helpful for obese people with back pain, the best way to avoid lower back pain is to maintain a healthy weight. This can be achieved through a healthy diet and exercise. Furthermore, regular physical activity can help improve cardiovascular fitness and core strength, while a healthy diet can prevent excess weight gain.
Start a Healthy Lifestyle
Obese individuals are more likely to have chronic lower back pain, and physical therapy can be an effective way to treat the pain. Although it’s not a miracle cure, it’s an excellent way to treat lower back pain and keep it from coming back.
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