Obesity and Chronic Pain
As if there weren’t enough reasons to lose weight, consider the fact that, from mild to severe, people struggling with obesity are also suffering from the ongoing physical pain that comes with it. Excess weight is something that the body has to carry 24 hours a day, and many people aren’t able to physically adapt to the strain that comes along with obesity. Overweight individuals not only put physical stress on their back and joints, but they are also damaging their inner organs with inflammation.
LOWER BACK PAIN
Doctors and surgeons alike refer to obesity as a disease. It is a medical condition linked to things like heart disease and diabetes. Only those suffering from this disease can fully understand that obesity is also just as responsible for lower back pain. This pain can range from acute to chronic and in various degrees of severity. People that are overweight often find themselves developing conditions such as osteoporosis, degenerative disc disease, spinal stenosis, and rheumatoid arthritis, to name a few.
The spine is responsible for carrying body weight. The more weight that there is to carry, the heavier the burden is on the spine. Bone strength hits its peak at around age thirty; after that, bones begin to weaken. The area of the spine that is most affected by obesity is called the lumbar region, or the lower back, and it bears the most weight from the abdominal area. Excessive body fat also compromises the waist or pelvic region.
It is essential that people of all sizes get the right amount of exercise regularly. Poor exercise habits weaken the muscles that are needed to support the spine and pelvic bones. A strong core helps to support the spine, but not enough support from these muscles can cause a curvature of the spinal column.
KNEE AND JOINT PAIN
There is a direct correlation between obesity and the likelihood of knee dislocation. With obesity on the rise in the United States, hospitals are seeing more and more obese patients with knee problems. Even those having minor knee pain should see a doctor because there is an increased risk for developing a severe injury, which can be permanent. There is also a potential for leg amputation due to complications from a dislocated knee.
The knees allow the legs to bend when a person is walking or running. Leg flexibility allows more support to the spine by reducing the weight that it carries when a person is physically active. The knees bear 2.5 to 7 times more than the weight of an individual. Spaces between the bones which make up the knee joint contain connective tissue called cartilage. Excess weight in obese people adds extra stress to the joints when active, resulting in friction between joints.
Too much friction causes the cartilage to deteriorate. Once enough cartilage wastes away, the bones have no cushion between them. A lack of cartilage causes direct contact between bones, sharp pain, and potential fractures in the affected area. The pain escalates and becomes unbearable. The potential for dislocation dramatically increases throughout this process. Even worse, there is an essential artery behind the knee that becomes at risk for damage. Known as a vascular injury, the wrong kind of damage to this artery could lead to a leg amputation.
In short, inflammation is the immune system’s response to an infection or tissue damage. Once an infection is detected, the immune system responds by utilizing white blood cells and various hormones to reverse the situation. They are known as inflammatory mediators, and these substances work together to dilate blood vessels so that more blood can reach the infected area. The result is a visible redness and swelling on and around the infected area. However, when there is an ongoing infection, inflammation can disrupt the immune system and lead to chronic diseases or even organ failure.
Think of inflammation as a furnace. When it gets too cold, turning on the furnace heats the house, thus removing the discomfort of being cold. However, when it is allowed to run for too long, temperatures become too high and have the opposite effect by doing more harm than good.
Recent research suggests that obesity is a chronic inflammatory disease. Fat cells produce and release specific proteins that trigger inflammatory responses. Excess inflammation can lead to long term, or even permanent diseases such as diabetes, organ failure, heart disease, and cancer.
Obesity is an epidemic – but Bariatric Surgery can help.
In the United States alone, it is prevalent in just under 40% of the population. Obesity leads to other preventable diseases and, nationally, racks up hundreds of billions of dollars in medical expenses every year. The physical pains that come with being overweight are the body’s way of saying that things must change. Don’t live with chronic pain caused by obesity when Bariatric Surgery can help you win the battle against it!
The Bariatric Experts Weight Loss Specialists
The Bariatric Experts has recently relocated to Denton, Texas! Our new address is the Medical City Denton Professional Office Building, Suite 203, 3537 South Interstate 35E, Denton, TX 76210. This is convenient for people in the Dallas/Fort Worth area and easily accessible to those in West, East, North and Central Texas. Dr. Scott Stowers has been performing medical services in Texas for more than twenty years and is board certified. His stellar credentials include being a Fellow of the American Society for Bariatric and Metabolic Surgery. He uses the most advanced, minimally invasive procedures to ensure his patients recover fast and endure less risk during the surgery and healing processes. The majority of his patients are referrals from prior bariatric patients, a testament to his knowledge and skill as a surgeon. If you are considering Bariatric Surgery, do not hesitate to contact us for more information. We have financing options and offer assistance in navigating the insurance processes.