How Weight Loss Can Reduce Chronic Pain
January 4, 2021
When asked about their New Year's resolutions, many people strive to lose weight come January. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 42% of American adults are considered obese, and healthcare researchers have found that an additional 32% of Americans are overweight. With nearly three-quarters of American adults overweight, it's no surprise that weight loss is a goal for many this 2021.
Benefits of Weight Loss for Chronic Pain
Adults who are above the average BMI, or body mass index, are at a higher risk of developing numerous health problems, such as diabetes, stroke, heart disease, and even chronic pain. When embarking on a weight loss journey, it's important to remember that losing weight doesn't just improve one's physical appearance; it also reduces the likelihood of developing health issues. In the case of chronic pain, weight loss can help achieve the following:
Lessen The Body's Physical Demands
Excess weight places significant strain on bodily structures, such as bones, muscles, and connective soft tissues. Over time, this stress increases one's risk of developing physical ailments like bone fractures, spinal problems, back pain, and tears to ligaments and tendons. Such conditions could be disabling and elicit moderate to severe chronic pain that may require treatments, such as medication, therapy, or surgery.
Reduce Systemic Inflammation
Increased fat concentrations place additional pressure on the body's cells, tissues, and organs, which can elevate systemic inflammation. Typically, inflammation is the body's natural reaction to injury and disease and can help commence the healing process. However, when the process is prolonged, chronic, physical and pain-inducing injuries are common. Furthermore, inflamed cells can precipitate tissue damage. If not properly addressed, serious and potentially life-impeding ailments, such as cardiovascular diseases, immunological disorders, and even cancer can occur.
Tips for Weight Loss
With substantial health benefits associated with weight loss, it's no wonder why so many Americans resolve to lose weight during the New Year. That said, it can be difficult to know where to start or how to maintain a program that works and produces results. If you're interested in sticking with your goal, consider the following tips:
Seek Professional Help
Many weight loss efforts fail because participants enter them haphazardly. If weight loss is a serious goal for you, you should consult with a healthcare professional. A doctor or nutritionist can evaluate your health and offer tailored recommendations based on your age, height, physical health, and general well-being.
Set Realistic Goals
In most cases, significant weight loss does not happen overnight. While fad diets or detoxes may sometimes claim participants can lose dozens of pounds in a month, it's important to remember that this type of weight loss is typically not sustainable. As such, it's important to set realistic and attainable goals that will keep you motivated throughout the year. This may mean setting many small goals, such as a 4-lb weight loss per month, instead of a 50-lb goal for the entire year.
Practicing Healthy Habits
Healthy habits are key to a successful weight loss program. It's important to consume nutritious foods, drink plenty of water, get enough sleep, and engage in physical activity that will get your heart rate pumping. Because diet and exercise needs may vary from person to person, it's strongly recommended to consult with a healthcare professional for advice on what portions and exercise regimen will work best for you and your lifestyle.
It's easy to grow discouraged when you've been exercising or following a diet plan consistently without seeing a significant decrease. That's why it's recommended that you document your progress monthly, or even weekly. Added up, the total amount of weight loss or inches lost can show how much you've actually progressed and keep you motivated to continue your journey.
Treat Your Chronic Pain
While obesity may be common in the United States, it's imperative that the issue not be ignored. Obese and overweight individuals are at a higher risk of developing health issues, such as chronic pain. For individuals already suffering from chronic pain, added weight can make the pain worse. This pain can be discouraging for those who may want to begin an exercise program but whose chronic pain may impede them from doing so. If you're motivated to lose weight and help reduce your chronic pain, contact Greater Austin Pain Center. Our Austin pain management experts will walk you through your treatment options and do our best to help you return to an active lifestyle, which can have several benefits, including reducing chronic pain even further.