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October 13, 2018
Man attempting weight loss with back pain

Battling Weight Loss When You Have Lower Back Pain

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Lower back pain is common among those with increased body fat

If you are suffering from any kind of lower back pain, and you're looking to start your weight loss journey, you might find yourself wondering if it’s even possible. After all, how is anyone expected to get a decent workout in, let alone work out on a regular basis, with crippling back pain?

With over 31 million Americans suffering from chronic back pain, and the suggestion that 1/3 of American adults are obese, it’s a wonder if anyone feels good these days. The problem is, your extra weight may be contributing to your back pain. But if you feel you are so debilitated because of your back pain that you can’t work out, how are you supposed to lose weight and get healthy?

Today we’re going to explore ways to end the self-fulfilling prophecy that you cannot lose fat, get strong, and stay healthy with low back pain, despite the fact that a heavy exercise regimen might be out of the question.

Ways to Lose Fat While Suffering from Lower Back Pain

1. Manage Back Pain For Weight Loss

The best thing you can do for yourself while trying to lose weight with lower back pain is manage the pain with your back pain specialist.

Back pain can be extremely limiting and not just in a physical sense. If you are someone that has been “dealing with” low back pain for years now, it can be easy to succumb to negative thoughts such as giving up when it comes to weight loss. After all, if you don’t feel well because you’re in pain, how are you going to stay motivated to lose weight?

Research shows that the first line of defense when it comes to dealing with low back pain should be pain management. This includes medications (if needed) but also helpful methods such as:

Dry needling

Instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization

Massage

Myofascial release

Individualized exercise routines

If you find yourself riddled with lower back pain, and in the Fulton area, check out 360 Physical Therapy & Wellness. We know how frustrating it can be if your goal is weight loss but you feel stuck because of pain. We also understand that pain and the ambition to get healthy can be just as much a mental battle as it is a physical one. So, contact us today and see how we can help you get on the right track to managing your pain so your weight loss journey can truly begin and you can focus on getting healthy rather than “dealing with pain” every day.

2. Watch What You Eat For Weight Loss

Nutrition plays a key role in how much fat you lose during your weight loss journey. In fact, it is often said that you can’t out train a bad diet.

Eating unhealthy foods more often than not can lead to weight gain. In addition, the extra weight you carry around because of your unhealthy eating habits puts extra pressure on your spine, which can cause you to have lots of lower back pain.

If you take the time to manage the foods you’re eating on a daily basis, you’ll notice that not only are you losing weight, and that your back is starting to feel better, but that your mood is better, your sleep is better, and your productivity is better too.

One of the best ways to get a handle on your eating habits, without committing to an extreme fad diet or making yourself miserable is to participate in what is known as intermittent fasting.

Here are some things you should know about intermittent fasting before deciding whether to give it a try:

Eating Windows. Intermittent fasting involves restricting your eating window to a set time each day. For instance, you may decide to fast for 16 hours and eat your normal meals during the 8-hour window that works best for you (e.g. noon to 8pm). The amount of time you fast and the hours in which you eat are entirely up to you. Just remember, the point is to not eat for more hours than you do eat.

Calories Count. Though intermittent fasting is less restrictive than most diets, calories still count. After all, if you 3,000 calories worth of carrots every day, despite carrots healthy, you’ll still gain weight. Though you don’t have to count every calorie you ingest if you don’t want to, it’s important to be mindful of what you do eat.

Optimal Health. In addition to losing weight because you give your body time to digest food properly and rest in between eating windows, intermittent fasting has been known to help improve immunity, brain function, and other cellular and metabolic processes.

In the end, intermittent fasting is a unique approach to better nutrition. It’s also a great way to promote healthy living without having to restrict yourself too much or irritate your already hurting back.

3. Sleep More For Weight Loss

When you sleep at night, your body regulates the hormone called cortisol. Cortisol is responsible for helping your immune system stay strong and keep your metabolism on track. However, if you fail to get enough rest, your body loses control and cannot regulate the cortisol released into your body. This can cause your body to store more abdominal fat than is needed.

In fact, it has been suggested that the less you sleep, the more you eat. Not to mention, when you feel tired during the day, you’re more likely to make poor food choices because you’re exhausted and you’re looking for a pick me up (which is typically unhealthy).

Aim to get a solid 7-9 hours of sleep per night so that your body can break down the unnecessary fat stored in your body. You’ll see that waking up each morning you feel refreshed and ready to take on the day – making only healthy choices that aid in your weight loss.

Not to mention, you may find your back pain decreasing when you get adequate rest because you’re giving your body enough time to heal itself.

4. Stress Less For Weight Loss

Stress and physical pain have a complex relationship that even now is hard to understand. But what experts do know is that while stress may not necessarily cause low back pain, it definitely holds the potential to make it worse.

When people stress out, they tend to tighten their muscles and create tension. This tension, when it lasts for extended periods of time, oftentimes begins to ache and turn into chronic pain.

People tend to hold tension in different parts of the body, such as the:

Hips

Jaw

Shoulders

Neck

Lower back

The connection between stress and pain shows us how the mind can have a powerful effect on our physical well-being. It further shows us that sometimes, while we may not think we can do something (such as become healthy and lose weight because we have chronic pain) that it’s really just the mind having an overpowering effect on us.

If left unchecked, stress that causes an otherwise healthy person to experience a lot of pain may lead to more stress and pain. This perpetual cycle puts that person at risk for being unable to enjoy the simple things in life, such as staying active, enjoying friends and family, traveling, and much more. It also has the potential to feed into that person’s desire to lead an unhealthy lifestyle and forget trying to lose weight.

The good news is, once we understand this connection, and begin to identify moments when stress is exacerbating our pain, we can begin to overcome this self-fulfilling prophecy that we cannot enjoy life and lose weight with low back pain by using our mind over matter.

Final Thoughts

Dealing with lower back pain is never fun for anyone, no matter how minor the injury is. And as someone that has lived with chronic low back pain for a long period of time, it can be easy to give up on simple things such as getting healthy. Especially when your pain makes it nearly impossible for you to exercise your body.

The good news is, if you have lower back pain that is preventing your from exercising the way you want so you can achieve your weight loss goals, there are plenty of other ways to improve your wellness so you can get back to enjoying your life.

If you live in the Fulton, Maryland area and want some guidance when it comes to managing your lower back pain so that you can begin your weight loss journey, contact us at 360 Physical Therapy & Wellness. We will work with you on an individual basis to find the underlying cause of your pain, rather than just treat the symptoms. We’ll then develop a plan that will help you treat the cause of your pain, get back to doing the things you love, and prevent future recurrences.

Take charge of your life and realize that you don’t have to live in pain. You also don’t have to forgo losing fat because of your painful condition. Everyone has the ability to make small changes for the better and achieve a happy, healthy lifestyle that’s free of pain.

October 13, 2018
Man attempting weight loss with back pain

Battling Weight Loss When You Have Lower Back Pain

Lower back pain is common among those with increased body fatIf you are suffering from any kind of lower back pain, and you're looking to start […]
April 20, 2018

Dancing the Disease Away

Dancing the night away is an age-old remedy used to scare stress or heartache away. When something goes wrong, we get our best clothes on, head […]
March 28, 2018

How To Get Ahead Of The Curve

Years ago, at a routine check-up, my doctor informed me that I have a common condition called Scoliosis. It’s so common, in fact, that between six […]
November 18, 2017

Wellness – The Ultimate Long-Term Goal

As a physical therapist, I have the awesome responsibility of getting someone back to the things that they enjoy doing most. Having injured my lower back a few years ago, I understand what it is like when a routine part of your life is halted due to an injury or unfortunate event. I love to exercise, and my lower back injury forced me to stop weightlifting almost completely. So at that exact moment in time, I wasn’t really concerned about the injury itself but more so what the injury would keep me from doing.