Effects of Obesity on Back Pain & Other Orthopaedic Conditions
Posted on January 17, 2013
Obesity is a major problem in this country—it has all kinds of physical, mental, and emotional effects. A serious effect of obesity is the increased risk of injuries to various body parts, including the spine, lower back, shoulders, knees, ankles, and feet.
One study done by doctors Keith Baumgarten, Walter Carlson, and Eric Watson, called “The Effect of Obesity on Orthopaedic Conditions,” summarizes the effects of obesity on the musculoskeletal system, particularly areas like the lower back, knees, and feet related to sports medicine.
How Obesity Affects Orthopaedic Conditions
The study covers the spine and lower back, shoulders, knees, and ankles and feet.
Spine & Lower Back
Although the relationship between obesity and low back pain remains controversial, persistent obesity (especially in the abdominal region) is associated with low back pain in women. Also, obese patients with low back pain have more of a disability, and those with a lumbar disc herniation are more likely to have radicular pain (a common form of which is sciatica) and neurologic signs.
Obese individuals are at a higher risk for rotator cuff tendonitis and are more likely to need surgery. Obesity can also affect the performance and results of shoulder arthroplasty, a surgical procedure which involves replacing a joint in the shoulder with a prosthetic implant. The surgery is usually needed for serious physical joint damage or to reduce arthritis pain.
A lot of pressure is put on the knees during sports, and heavier athletes have knee injuries more often. The disability due to knee injuries is also greater in more obese individuals. Not only this, but knee arthroscopy procedures, which are done to treat damaged interior joints) are more difficult when performed on more obese patients—and obesity can negatively affect the outcome of ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) tears.
Ankles & Feet
Obesity increases risks in ankle and foot surgery, and it also presents problems with wound healing, as well as increasing the risk of:
- Deep venous thrombosis (formation of a blood clot in a deep vein, mostly in the lower legs)
- Wound infections
- Diabetes mellitus and peripheral vascular disease, which can adversely affect surgery
In conclusion, obesity negatively affects orthopaedic conditions and treatment outcomes, and according to the study, “initiatives to lower the incidence of obesity could decrease the prevalence and improve the outcomes of orthopaedic diseases.”
Treatment for Obesity in Rockville, Maryland
Advanced Spine & Wellness Center provides services that can help combat obesity, including a weight loss program. We offer:
The Ideal Protein diet can help you lose weight, and chiropractic, physical therapy, and acupuncture can help with pain relief, increased range of motion, posture improvement, etc.
Contact us today to learn more about our weight loss and other services!