If you are an overweight or obese person, that very condition may be the cause of your chronic pain. If you’re not one of the 145 million Americans who is overweight or obese, then this article is not going to mean much to you. Chances are, you do know or even love someone who is overweight or obese and may be experiencing chronic pain. Perhaps you could help an overweight or obese friend or loved one by sharing this information with them, possibly eliminating their chronic pain.
The Link Between Excess Weight and Chronic Pain
This latest study conducted at the University of California, San Diego, by Lisa Johnson Wright, along with researchers at the University of Washington in Seattle and the Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System. The researchers looked at the influence of family history and psychological factors on those who were obese and in chronic pain.
The study showed that low back pain, tension or migraine headaches, fibromyalgia, abdominal pain, and higher than normal chronic pain were experienced more frequently by those folks who overweight and obese. Depression and family history were also determined to play a significant role in the link between chronic pain and overweight or obese folks. Most overweight and obese folks who suffer from chronic pain and have a sedentary lifestyle often suffer from depression.
Definition of Overweight and Obese
The terms overweight and obese refer to people whose weight may cause health problems. Folks who have a BMI (Body Mass Index) between 25 and 29.9 are considered to be overweight. Those folks who have a BMI of 30 or higher are considered to be obese. BMI is a correlation of the amount of body fat that may exist, it does not directly measure body fat. You can check out the facts for your self at the CDC website (www.cdc.gov/obesity/defining.html).
So if overweight or obese folks tend to experience more chronic pain due to their weight, then it only stand to reason that weight loss is the primary goal for these people. Sure, there are many reason people become overweight or even obese, but those reasons must never become the excuses for not losing weight. Some folks may just need to watch less TV and walk more. Others may need to change their diet and eat less. Still others may need more professional help from a doctor.
Accountability and Responsibility for One’s Weight
Personally, I think that being a part of a community which encourages weight loss, provides assistance for maintaining a healthy weight level, and provides support for people who occasionally fail is the answer. If that doesn’t work, consider the alternative, negative consequences of remaining overweight or obese. Coronary heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, various cancers, hypertension, stroke, liver and gall bladder disease are just a few of conditions brought on by maintaining an unhealthy weight level. And these are in addition to the chronic pain experienced.
Chronic pain and obesity cost the U.S. nearly $118 billion each year and even more in lost productivity. Obviously something needs to be done. Personal accountability for one’s weight and taking control of one’s environment is a first step. The negative consequences of remaining overweight or obese are just too costly to the individual person and to those around them. The ultimate outcome for overweight and obese folks can be positive and weight loss may be achieved. Maintaining a healthy weight level is going to be better for the individual person as well as all members of society.
American Heart Association; “Overweight and Obesity – Statistics,” 2009 Update