Obesity: Causes of Back Pain

Obesity may be a cause of back pain, particularly low back pain because the added weight can cause added strain on the ligaments, tendons, and discs of the back. Excess body weight, particularly in the abdomen, can cause strain on back muscles, which must work harder to counteract the downward pull of that weight to keep the spine upright.

Who is Obese? Before going further into how obesity causes back pain, we must know how to differentiate an overweight a person who is obese and who isn't. Considering your weight and height and Body Mass Index are two of the easiest measures to compare yourself to those of the mythical "ideal" or "normal" or "healthy" Consider that there will be no perfect measure of size and weight because these measures may not take into account a person's build (people could have a short but powerfully built (muscular) frame) and physical fitness. That being said, lets look at weight and height, and BMI.

Height and Weight. Who is the ideal weight (measured in pounds) for each height (in feet and inches)? HealthCheck Systems http://www.healthchecksystems.com/heightweightchart.htm offers a great resource to measure the normal range in pounds for people according to the type of body frame that you have (small, medium, and large frame). How do we know what type of body frame we have. HealthStatus http://www.healthstatus.com/calculate/fsz has a great resource for calculating your frame size. Factors that will go into determining your frame size include gender, height, wrist circumference, and elbow breadth.

Body Mass Index. Body Mass Index is a rough formula for determining your percentage for body fat based on an individual's weight and height. To measure this index, you are going to have to know your height (in inches), and mass in kilograms (kg) or pounds (lb). Here are some formulas you can use to determine your BMI:
  1. BMI=mass(kg)/height(m)2
  2. BMI=mass(lb)X703/height(in)2
  3. BMI=mass(lb)X4.88/height(ft)2


Though BMI may not be the end all bariatric measure of how "fat" you are or at risk you may be for diseases such as stroke or cardiovascular disease, it can give doctors and their patients a pretty good rough assessment. The correlation between BMI and health problems such as pulmonary problems, cardiac problems, diabetes, and lower back pain further bolsters the case for BMI being a pretty good tool to evaluate the health of patients and their risk for future health problems.

Other measures you may use to determine how healthy you are is the target heart rate calculator test, and tests to measure your body fat percentage. A person with a BMI <16 is considered severely underweight. BMI 16.0-18.5 Underweight. 18.25 is considered normal. BMI 25-30 is considered Overweight. 30-35 obese. 35-40 very obese. A person with a BMI greater than 40 is considered severely obese.

Here are some things to consider in evaluation BMI after calculating it. first, BMI does not fully take into account a person's frame and muscular build. That being said, it is a pretty good indicator of how healthy you are, and you may be able to use it to track your development when beginning and/or continuing a diet and fitness and exercise program. People with a high BMI are at a greater risk for Type II Diabetes, colon cancer, breast cancer, endometrial cancer, sleep apnea, osteoarthritis, gallbladder disease, Dyslipidemia (high bad cholesterol), and Hypertension (high blood pressure).

Next, find out how obesity could be the factor, or one of the factors causing your back pain, and some programs available to lode weight.