Weight loss is a crucial factor in an bad back strategy! For anyone who wishes to alleviate and ultimately eliminate neck pain, back pain, and sciatica weight loss must be faced and dealt with. We offer an easy to understand, straight-forward program for anyone dealing with these complex and intimidating issues.
It is a fact that most of us will suffer from neck pain, back pain and/or sciatica at some point in our lives. In fact, for some bad back sufferers it is an ongoing problem, one that may put them out of commission completely, leading to complete and permanent disability. A “bad back” may be caused by a myriad of factors to include: tight muscles; muscle imbalance; herniated discs; weak muscles; pregnancy; and, even stress. In many cases, these injuries or conditions are the result of daily movement, things we do in our every day lives. Movements, such as reaching for objects, bending the wrong way, improper posture, attempting to do “too much,” etc often lead to problems. In some instances, back pain and sciatica may be caused by carrying heavy objects or carrying them improperly. One of the biggest issues related to what I refer to as the “bad back complex” or “back pain complex,” is excess weight. Excess weight may mean anything from carrying just a few too many pounds, to being clinically obese. Many of us struggle with weight issues throughout our lives and obesity, combined with any number of other factors, often exacerbates neck pain, back pain, and sciatica. Obesity and the resultant damage to the musculoskeletal system often results in pronounced, life-altering changes to the anatomy, morphology, physiology, and function of the spine, the associated nervous system, and the supporting musculature.
Alignment and the Spinal Curvatures: Walk, Walk, Walk!
If you are just a few pounds overweight, you may still be placing undue stress on your spine, pulling it out of its natural alignment and profoundly altering the curvatures of the neck (cervical), chest (thoracic), and lower back (lumbar), as a result. The best place to start to lose weight is with an intelligent, individualized, and medically approved, and in some cases medically supervised, exercise program. Cardiovascular exercise, at least 20 minutes a day, will improve and increase weight loss, also increasing muscle mass and improving muscle tone. Lean muscle burns at a higher rate than fat or fatty muscle, therefore, you will burn more calories and improve overall basal metabolic rate (BMR). Ultimately, extending your aerobic workout to 30 minutes will yield amazing results in short order. Not only will you witness a significant drop in inches, and pounds, you will experience an amazing, often total, relief from neck pain, back pain, and sciatica. Many people can find relief from the symptoms of a bad back simply by losing 5 or 10 pounds.
Back Pain? Touch Your Nose to Your Knees!
In addition to cardiovascular or aerobic exercise, stretch everyday for at least 10 to 15 minutes. Upon rising in the morning, stretch your back by slowly, and with complete concentration, bending forward and attempting to put your nose on your knee. Yes, I know, it is impossible right now but continue to do it, slow and easy does it, in the morning and before bed at night. Eventually, you will be amazed at how limber you become, particularly as you begin to reduce your “middle.” Muscle tone, and flexibility, will help reduce neck pain, back pain, and sciatica. Good muscle tone and strength will also reduce the incidence of injuries.
Tilt! No, Not Pinball…Pelvis!
Along with altering the curvature of the spine, forcing it out of alignment due to too much weight being carried forward, excess weight may also create a situation in which our hips (pelvis) tilt forward. The improper positioning of the hips also places pressure on the sciatic nerve, resulting in sciatica, in addition to lower back pain. Additionally, if the hips remain out of alignment, and the resulting pressure on the various joints, primarily the sacroiliac (sacrum to ilium) and the hip joint (femur/acetabulum) or socket, is not reduced and/or eliminated, profound and degenerative forces come into play, permanently altering the architecture of the joint and resulting in chronic pain.
Chronic Back Pain and Depression
It is difficult for many to empathize, much less understand, what a chronic neck pain, back pain, and/or sciatica sufferer experiences on a daily basis. The discomfort associated with a bad back, at times reaching fever pitch, may continue unabated for many years before the right bad back strategy is discovered and implemented. The real problem is that often the pain itself inhibits an individual from exercising and working out, which would help alleviate or eliminate the pain. Weight loss becomes an issue because of inactivity and the resultant sedentary lifestyle adopted as a pain relief strategy. Often, bad back sufferers simply give up, unable to confront or effectively deal with either issue, the obesity or the chronic pain. It is common for an individual to become depressed, leading to additional weight gain with overeating and a further reduction in activity and BMR.
Walk! Walk! Walk! Baby Steps Out the Door!
When feeling overwhelmed, take a walk! Walk to the corner store. Walk to the mailbox! Walk the dogs! Heck, walk the cat! Just make sure you walk! Don’t view your walk as exercise, look at it as an escape, private time, time with your thoughts, time alone. Change your focus and you will discover your walks getting longer and the neck pain, back pain, and sciatica, along with that nagging weight problem, and the resultant depression have simply walked right out of your life. Baby steps out the door! Baby steps down the stairs! Baby….You know the drill.
Having realistic goals and pursuits may actually make you feel better each and every step of the way. Focus on small goals, one at a time, and when you achieve them they will give you the added incentive to push on to the next. Always redefine and rest your goals in terms of your long term goals and strategies. Ultimately, you will achieve more if you simply focus on today.
The A.A. motto of “One Day at a Time!” may be just the mantra to help you through.
There are over 196,000,000 obese adults in the United States alone. That is a staggering fact, particularly when viewed in the context of the next fact, that more children and young adults are obese than at any point in our history. Ever! Of course, as we age bones lose density and muscles often become weaker. The age-progressive factors coming into play and putting pressure on the spine are myriad. Damage due to obesity is often irreversible, it is absolutely crucial to maintain optimal body weight and muscle tone. The above mentioned fact is but one more reason for initiating and maintaining an exercise routine. By becoming, then remaining, active our musculoskeletal system will remain healthy. The old adage that a healthy mind and a healthy body are inextricably linked is so obvious it barely needs to be stated.
Diet Is a Four Letter Word! Obesity, Diet, and Changing Your Focus!
While important, diet is actually secondary to a solid aerobic, cardiovascular exercise program. However, diet cannot be ignored, nor should it be. Along with exercising, at first simply walks, eventually leading to a more concerted program, the overweight individual suffering from neck pain, back pain, and/or sciatica must change his or her diet, incorporating more fruits and vegetables, reducing fats. Again, stay away from fatty and processed foods if you want to be successful. Diet is not about eating less, it is about eating smart! Of course before you enter into any diet and weight loss program, you should seek the opinion of a medical specialist familiar with the complex issues experienced by, and facing, an overweight or obese “bad back” patient. However you start, and wherever you begin, one thing is of paramount importance, this should always remain your central focus:
In the words of Winston Churchill, “Never, never, never, give up!”
Ultimately, the steps you take to relieve neck pain, back pain, and sciatic nerve pain or sciatica, come down to a few easy to remember steps. One, get started in an aerobic, cardiovascular routine, first slow and then building with success. Remember, walk, walk, and walk! Two, stay mentally focused and don’t allow the blues to get you down or stop you entirely. Remember, when feeling your worst, when in the most pain and feeling down, that’s the time exercise will do the most good. Endorphins are amazing little critters and a brisk walk when it pain will send a charge of those natural opiates racing through your blood stream, providing amazing relief in minutes! Finally, change your focus not your diet. Dieting is not the answer, eating habits are. There are several great programs out there, but a simple switch to fruits, vegetables, and low fat foods will yield amazing results without forcing you to eat less. Eat smart, not less! Finally, if you are overweight, obese or just packing a few extra pounds, you should begin exercising, at once. Any exercise routine should begin with stretching and end with stretching, in the middle you should be walking and engaged in an exercise routine to strengthen your core, spinal, and major back muscles, the abdominals, obliques, spinal erectors, latissimus dorsi, and trapezius, to name a few. Find what works best for you and relieve your neck pain, back pain, and sciatica once and for all. Take things as they come and remember, you have nothing to lose but the pain!
These are some of the programs I recommend. I hope they help you as much as they helped me! They are ordered in terms of preference! All three are great but number one is amazing! It works!
Good luck and let me know what you think! Any products on the side panel are super for back problems!
1) Get an ice-compression brace for the times when nothing else works for the pain…it will! I know, see the article and video above!
2) New Balance running shoes, they have awesome heel cushioning that makes such a difference when pain makes you count your steps all day long, just to make it through the day. I too know what it’s like to have to plan your steps all day long, just to make it through the day!
3) WalkFit Orthotics for the days when you can’t wear your New Balance but need cushioning and support. These really help!
4) Bone & Joint Natural Pain Reliever. They really helped me when nothing else did! I was amazed because I have never bought into the whole natural thing…but they work. They build up in your system and then, all of the sudden, you realize the pain isn’t as bad as it once was!
5) And others on the side panel, all good and all safe! All of the products are top-notch and help! The canes, walkers, and scooters, and I’ve used all of them at one time or another, are from the best suppliers I could find, and I did my research!
6) NEW! AlignMed is an awesome new product I discovered on Twitter, of all places! This product is fantastic! I love it!
See these blogs and lenses too:
Professor John P. J. Zajaros, Sr., The Bad Back Guy
I hold degrees in history and anthropology. Graduating summa cum laude, I was awarded a doctoral fellowship to study for my PhD as a fellow at one of the nations top consortiums for physical anthropology, made up of Columbia University, NYU, CUNY, the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH), and others. I commenced my doctoral studies and researched the spine and sacroiliac joint, reviewing and categorizing more than 15,000 modern and pre-Columbian skeletons to understand the age-progressive phenomena affecting humans as we grow older. Having had 14 major surgeries on my spine, I am in a unique position to understand the “back pain complex” as few others can, from the perspective of patient and scientist/researcher. I hope my articles help you better understand your “bad back/back pain” issues.