July 17, 2024

F1000 Scientist

Health to Life

Is That Beer Belly Causing Your Back Pain? The Truth May Shock You

3 min read

If you’re like most of us, you probably have a little extra padding around your middle that you’ve been meaning to get rid of for a while now. But did you know that extra weight might actually be causing your back pain and sciatica?

In fact, when most people go to see a doctor about back pain, the first thing they are usually told is to lose some weight.

Extra weight can put added pressure and stress on your back and spine. This will cause your posture to change for the worse and for the weight to be spread unevenly through your spine.

This causes the discs in your back to bulge, which place pressure on spinal nerves.

Alternately, the added weight may also cause your muscles to strain to support you. This will ultimately result in muscle imbalances, which again will throw the way stress and pressure moves through your body out of balance.

So, you probably know you need to lose some weight, either for the back pain or for other reasons, but what can you do about it? Especially when you’re suffering from sciatica and basic exercises seem almost impossible?

Well, the easiest thing to do is to adjust your diet. Drinking more water is a very easy thing to do and it can help you with both weight loss and back pain at the same time.

Water will help your liver function better. Your liver works to burn extra body fat, but when you are dehydrated it actually shifts to help with kidney function. By drinking your eight glasses per day, you can help to improve liver function.

Not only that, but drinking plenty of water will help you feel fuller longer. When your stomach is full of water, you won’t get those hunger pangs that drive a lot of us to eat those foods we know we should avoid.

From a back pain point of view, water is the primary component in your inter-vertebral discs. Without the proper hydration, these discs cannot stay full of fluid and help to cushion the vertebrae adequately. By drinking your water you can make sure that your discs are healthy and have all the fluid they need.

Another important consideration about diet is that a lot of foods that cause weight gain and obesity are also linked to inflammation. Inflammation around the soft tissues of the back and nerves can contribute to back pain or sciatica.

These foods that cause inflammation include foods that are hight in saturated fats and trans fats as well as high glycemic index foods. Common examples of these foods are cakes, pastries, fried foods, red meats, and other things we commonly associate with fast foods.

You also want to try to eat more foods that combat inflammation. These foods are high in Omega 3 fatty acids, vitamin D, and antioxidants. You can find these in foods like salmon, berries, organic eggs, and other fruits. Not only will a lot of these foods help to ease your inflammation and reduce back pain, but they will also help to shed those pound.

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