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Excess Weight Increases The Risk Of Pain, Physical And Mental
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Excess Weight Increases the Risk Of Pain, Physical And Mental

People who are above their normal or prescribed weight are at an increased risk according to a new study published in the journal Obesity. That study, which looked at more than one million people found that not only did obesity increase the risk of pain but chronic pain was also shown to cause an increased risk of becoming obese as well. The researchers did not come up with any conclusion of how excess weight caused pain, but did come up with several additional theories.

Excess body weight, especially in women, is associated with an increase in certain hormones as well as inflammation. That inflammation is likely to be the key cause of the increase in pain. While the study found pain in nearly all areas of the body, excess weight was most associated with back pain as well as pain in the hips, knees and ankles. In an unrelated, orthopedics study, researchers found that not only did obese patients with pain or injury in those areas of the lower body need surgical interventions, including joint replacement more frequently, they were also less likely to have positive recovery results.

Doctors are concerned with their obese patients because treating their pain can be so difficult. First, they have to uncover the cause which is usually their weight, but may also have underlying issues as well. Then, they have to find a viable solution to help relieve some of the pain. Current dosing standards for certain medications are not effective for the severely obese, but most doctors balk at dosing by weight. And, giving medicine is only a stop gap measure for most people who must address the real cause of their pain and lose some of their excess weight. Before they can do that, though, doctors must rule out structural issues or malformities that are likely to be missed on commonly used diagnostic tools. Some doctors are finding it difficult to read X-rays clearly with their most severely obese patients making it likely that some ailments might be missed.

Losing weight sounds like a good solution until you factor in both the excess body weight and the chronic pain that these patients are feeling. Exercise usually helps with pain, but it is hard to convince someone of that fact when they are in misery. Chronic pain coupled with obesity usually leads to a sedentary life which in turn increases the risk for even more diseases in a vicious cycle which is difficult if not impossible to stop.


Street Talk

Good article. I am seeing some of these issues in my husband, who is a diabetic in his 50s.

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  about 1 decade ago
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