The Relationship Between Chronic Pain and Obesity

The Relationship Between Chronic Pain and Obesity

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  • Chronic pain and obesity have both become growing health concerns, affecting millions of people worldwide.
  • A number of research studies have found a correlation between the two conditions, which may help physicians better understand how to prevent chronic pain in overweight or obese patients.
  • The pain management specialists at American Spine explain the relationship between chronic pain and obesity.

An article published in The Journal of Pain Research and MD Magazine found there is strong evidence indicating pain and obesity are related to each other. The study further suggested obesity might be a potential “marker of greater functional and psychological complications of chronic pain.” Additional studies found the two conditions share commonalities in the form of other health conditions like osteoarthritis, migraine, low back pain, and vitamin D deficiency.  

Many physicians, like the ones at American Spine, understand excess weight can make chronic pain more problematic and lead to greater physical disability and psychological distress. Prolonged pressure being applied to joints in the spine, knees, and ankles can exacerbate pain symptoms and incapacitate patients completely.

As if that wasn’t reason enough to main a healthy weight, the study also found low levels of vitamin D may be more common in those who are overweight or obese. Vitamin D deficiencies increase a person’s risk of poor skeletal mineralization, achiness in the joints and osteoarthritis. A vitamin D deficiency combined with excess pressure on joints could lead to a much-needed joint replacement surgery or chronic joint pain.

If surgery is required, researchers discovered obese patients were more likely to ingest strong opioids than normal-weight patients after undergoing a surgical procedure. This could lead to medication dependency or addiction.

Although there is a chance excess weight won’t cause chronic pain and vice versa, the takeaway from this blog may be that maintaining a healthy weight and adequate vitamin D levels may reduce the likelihood of developing chronic pain. Call the team at American Spine today to discuss chronic pain prevention, management and treatment.  

At American Spine, we are dedicated to treating chronic pain and spine conditions. Offering the latest in minimally invasive spine surgery and other effective treatment options, American Spine is the leading pain physician group of California. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call us at (951)-734-PAIN (7246).

The advice and information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace or counter a physician’s advice or judgment. Please always consult your physician before taking any advice learned here or in any other educational medical material.