Dr. Ronald Tolchin, Medical Director at Baptist Center for Spine Care, says back pain in overweight patients is relevant, because it deals with what the spine is designed to carry.
“When you have an abnormal load, because you have increased weight, it goes forward and it pulls you forward. That strains the back muscles, so in order not to go forward and fall forward you work the back muscles to stand erect. But that puts more stress on the discs, and the bones, and the joints around the spine,” he explains.
Why is back pain in overweight patients so relevant?.> Well that is great question, it really deals with what the spine is designed to carry, what kind of loads, when you have an abnormal load because you have increased weight, it goes forward and it pulls you forward, that strains the back muscles, so in order to not go forward and fall forward, you work the back muscles to stand erect, but that puts more stress on the discs and the bones and the joints around the spine, and what happens there is they start to wear out sooner, they’re not designed for that kind of weight, just like if someone were overweight and they have normal knees, they put too much stress on those knees, they wear out sooner same thing with the spine, there are small little joints in the back of the spine called facet joints, that wear out and the discs start to dehydrate and tear.> This is at the end of the day not just gravity, is it not, if you have something that’s supporting a certain amount of weight, look my grandfather was a construction expert, he knew all about it, you have weight, and if you have a weight bearing that’s pulling this way, you’re pulling against something that’s holding the weight,- right,- you can’t stop that, gravity does that.> Gravity always takes us in that direction, and in order to fight it, we need to use the muscles, and we need to put more stress on the spine if you’re overweight, and that’s throughout the day.