Losing weight could mean relief for chronic pain sufferers
Jan 25, 2016, 9:33 AM | Updated: Jan 26, 2016, 10:25 am
Add chronic pain to the list of health problems linked to being overweight. A study of more than 1 million Americans found a link between obesity and pain, even among people who were otherwise healthy, reports webmd.com.
Prior to the study, the general assumption was overweight individuals experienced more pain because they tended to also suffer from conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, back problems, fibromyalgia and more. The research found many obese people reported pain even if they had no other complicating factors.
The data is important because the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports 69 percent of American adults are overweight, and 35 percent can be categorized as obese. Not surprisingly, because obesity is linked to so many serious health problems, medical experts encourage overweight individuals to try and lose pounds whenever possible.
Less joint pain
Increased joint pressure from excessive weight is a common cause of chronic pain. As a result, the most common pain disorders related to weight are low back pain and osteoarthritis. Losing weight reduces the pressure on joints, which also lowers the pain level.
Recent research points to a link between inflammation and a host of serious ailments including heart disease, asthma, chronic pain and even depression. Many common vices such as sedentary behavior, poor diet, smoking and alcohol abuse all contribute to chronic inflammation. Better eating habits, regular exercise and weight loss can all help reduce inflammation and chronic pain that typically accompanies it.
Lower risk of heart disease
There are strong links between heart disease and rheumatoid arthritis, according to a new study published in Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases. The researchers learned that people with arthritis were 60 percent more likely to die from cardiovascular complications. In order to minimize the risk of heart disease, the research team recommended aggressive treatment to suppress arthritis inflammation. Of course, ways to reduce the inflammation include controlled diet, exercise and weight loss.
Reduced chronic pain
You’ve probably noticed the links among all these conditions. That is both part of the problem and the solution. In an article for Weight Watchers, Dr. Sean Mackay, chief of the Division of Pain Management at Stanford University School of Medicine, is quoted as saying, “There’s a pattern of negative reinforcement with chronic pain. Pain signals you to stop what you’re doing, which causes you to be less active, which leads to deconditioning, which leads to more pain.”
Mackay recommends consultation with an experienced pain management specialist and traditional weight loss methods such as diet and exercise. He also suggests that an attitude of optimism and keeping one’s mind occupied are key elements of overcoming chronic pain and the depression which often accompanies it.
If you are someone who suffers from chronic pain and have not found a solution, consider consulting with a medical professional that specializes in pain management and treatment. With research constantly finding new solutions, there are treatment options that did not exist even two or three years ago.
Dr. Alex Bigham is the owner and CEO of Novocur Pain Management Clinics and has over 18 years of health care experience in private practice and Ambulatory Surgical Center settings. Novocur offers advanced treatment options in a concierge type practice without the concierge price tag. Dr. Bigham appears frequently on local TV and radio programs to discuss the latest in Pain Management or related health topics.