Doctors usually recommend that you lose weight to relieve back pain. But sometimes rapid weight loss can actually cause back pain. Today we’ll look at why this happens and what you can do to prevent it.
1. Inadequate nutrients
When you’re on a diet, you usually begin to decrease your amount of calories. Depending on the diet – for example Keto – you may even cut out entire food groups. It’s important to ensure that your diet provides the necessary nutrients to keep your body running smoothly.
In particular, you may suffer back pain if you cut out grains and fruits entirely, as they contain some key antioxidants and compounds for your muscles and spine to function well. Muscles that don’t receive proper nutrition will become weak and spasm, making your back ache.
2. Decreased bone density
Depending on your diet, you may also be decreasing your bone density in an unhealthy way. Many diets – especially those that offer quick in-a-day results – rely on water loss. Weight loss from the loss of water and minerals quickly makes your bones less dense, causing bone weakness and possible misalignments. You should try to keep your bone density high, as weak bones can cause pain.
3. Overuse injuries
If your weight loss plan involves lots of physical exercises, be cautious. You should build up your fitness level slowly. In addition, you should know how to use any exercise equipment and learn proper form so that you’re not pushing or pulling your body in unnatural positions. Generally speaking, regular physical activity is a great idea, but overuse injuries can overstretch your muscles and weaken your physical form, causing pain.
4. Reduced muscle tone
You should also be cautious about how much muscle you’re losing. Your weight loss plan should not require you to stay sedentary. If you don’t keep up muscle tone, your body will lose both its strength and cushioning. This can cause pain because you need muscle support to hold up your back. In addition, without cushioning, you may feel like sitting is uncomfortable.
Water loss is a big problem when it comes to diets. Sometimes diets that promise quick results rely on water loss to see pounds being shed. It’s important that you always stay hydrated. Water is a key part of how nutrients are carried throughout the body. Specifically, your discs need to stay hydrated in order to stay spongy and help with shock absorption. In addition, your muscles need water so that they function and don’t cramp up. No matter what diet you choose to follow, make sure you’re drinking water throughout the day.
Strategies to prevent back pain during weight loss
If you notice back pain as you’re losing weight, it’s important to take a step back and figure out why your back pain is occurring. Depending on the reason, you’ll be able to take the correct course of action. In general, you should follow these guidelines for safe and healthy dieting to prevent back pain:
1. Follow a balanced diet
Whatever diet you’re on, you should be getting all the key nutrients, including calcium, protein, fiber and antioxidants. You should never be cutting out entire food groups – unless instructed by your doctor – as this can cause you to miss out on key vitamins or minerals. When in doubt, you can also consider taking vitamin supplements so that any gaps in your diet can be filled this way.
If you’re looking for some back-friendly recipes to get the nutrients, try some of these anti-inflammatory recipes.
2. Exercise regularly but safely
In a word, don’t overdo it. If you’re excited about losing weight, that’s great. Focus on creating a healthy exercise plan involving 3-5 workouts a week. You should also use the correct form and safe equipment. If you’re just starting an exercise plan, you should consider hiring a personal trainer to learn the ropes. In addition, if you’re lifting weights, make sure you’re not doing too much, too fast.
Concentrate on correct form and movement so that as your strength builds, you will avoid injury.
Finally, don’t go the other extreme either. Diets that profess a sedentary lifestyle aren’t good for your health because they involve water and muscle loss, instead of fat loss.
3. Build up your lumbar muscles
Keeping your lumbar muscles strong is a key element of avoiding back pain. In addition, many of these muscles are involved in other physical activities, which means this will help you exercise better. Specifically, you should focus on your abs, lower back and buttocks so that your back is well-supported. Incorporate back-friendly stretches, as well as core strengthening exercises for best results. Improving muscle mass can also help with pain arising from a lack of cushioning as well.
4. Drink enough water every day
The rule of thumb is 8 glasses of 8 ounces a day, but this varies according to your weight and sex. Don’t avoid drinking water because you hope for a lower number on the scale. Drinking water is essential for keeping your body healthy and your muscles andspine hydrated. It’s better to try to lose fat than water or muscles.
5. See a chiropractor
Finally, if you continue to struggle with back pain during rapid weight loss, it’s a good idea to talk to an expert chiropractor. A professional chiropractic clinic – such as Better Health Chiropractic & Physical Rehab in Anchorage – can help diagnose your back pain and find solutions specific to your situation. In addition, a chiropractor will create a customized care plan to ensure that your diet, exercise, supplements, therapies and adjustments are all relieving your back and creating long-term pain solutions.
About Dr. Brent Wells
Dr. Brent Wells, D.C. is the founder of Better Health Chiropractic & Physical Rehab and has been a chiropractor for over 20 years. His practice has treated thousands of patients from different health problems using various services designed to help give you long-lasting relief.
Dr. Wells is also the author of over 700 online health articles that have been featured on sites such as Dr. Axe and Lifehack. He is a proud member of the American Chiropractic Association and the American Academy of Spine Physicians. And he continues his education to remain active and updated in all studies related to neurology, physical rehab, biomechanics, spine conditions, brain injury trauma, and more.