Everett Chiropractic Center Blog

September 20, 2011

Obesity Linked to Neck, Back, Shoulder Pain – A New Study out of Norway

Click here to learn how you become obese.

This is from the InjuryFree enewsletter I get every few weeeks. It’s another story about the importance and the impact of being inactive and overweight. I will emphasize what I think is most important with BOLD letters.

* From Ian Waldron @ InjuryFree.com
* September 16th, 2011

Get moving, America. A recent Norwegian study shows that people with a high body mass index (BMI) are at significantly higher risk of developing neck and back pain.

A study conducted by the Norwegian University of Science and Technology looked at the relationship between body weight and musculoskeletal pain, particularly in the neck, back, and shoulder regions. The study found that those suffering from obesity have a 20 percent higher risk of suffering from chronic pain as well.

“The spine is designed to carry the body’s weight and distribute the loads encountered during rest and activity,” explain two authors, Christopher P. Silveri, MD and Susan Spinasanta, from SpineUniverse.com. “When excess weight is carried, the spine is forced to assimilate the burden, which may lead to structural compromise and damage (e.g., injury, sciatica).”

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 44 million Americans are now considered obese – a 74 percent increase since 1991 – and 17 million of whom also suffer from diabetes.

“Obesity and diabetes are among our top public health problems in the United States today,” says Tommy G. Thompson, Secretary of the United States Department of Health and Human Services. “The good news is that diabetes and other chronic illnesses can be prevented with modest lifestyle changes.”

Those conducting the Norwegian study found that over an 11-year period, there was a 10 percent increase in low back pain and 20 percent increase in neck pain in the approximately 15,000 men and women who participated.

While the sources of back, neck, and shoulder pain can be attributed to just about anything these days, experts agree that increases in exercise and improved diet can combat many of the causations.

“A moderate exercise regimen of one to two hours/week is sufficient to considerably decrease the risk of developing low back and neck/shoulder pain, most of which are occupation related disorders,” say the authors of the study. “Another important highlight of this study is the clear indication that body weight is a potential risk factor for backache.”

With 44 million Americans at risk for developing these, and potentially more serious, symptoms and disorders, the CDC has a tall order. But the professionals at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology are somewhat optimistic.

“This is a definitely controllable factor by working out correct diet patterns in terms of the right type and quantum of nutrition. Thus, physical exercise could be the answer to neutralize the impact of excess body weight on the threat of chronic back pain.

The authors of the study suggest that a “moderate regimen of one to two hours” each week could have a significant impact on your pain. If your workplace offers on-site exercise/fitness programs, be sure to utilize them to the fullest! Otherwise, go for a walk, jog or run and put some healthy food in your cupboards!

[Did you see the Post on the Mayo Clinic Research recommending employers include onsite Tai Chi classes as part of their wellness program. It might be wise to think through the implications of that last sentence about jogging or running… not everyone has a body that is ready for that. But Tai chi? If you can stand on one leg and you can walk, you qualify. Whether you use Tai chi to manage stress, relax, tone and strengthen, limber up, regain balance or coordination, improve your posture or rehabilitate an injury is up to you – it will do all of that much much more. Workplace Tai Chi classes are available by calling (425) 348-5207 or emailing DDilday239@aol.com if you are in the Everett area. If you are elsewhere in the world use this link to find a qualified teacher: Practical Tai Chi Chuan International

And if you are wondering what difference it makes, keep in mind that not all tai chi is equal and not all tai chi teachers are the same.]



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