“Obesity affects every aspect of a people’s lives, from health to relationships.” – Jane Velez-Mitchell
One of the perennial realities of the holidays for most Americans is weight gain. It’s the subject of jokes, complaints, and discussion year after year. And it is a perceived problem for both men and women.
Tis the Season to be Eating
However, while we may indeed gain some weight during the traditional holiday season It may not really be as bad as we often think according to Stanford University,
“Despite our worst fears, the average American really only puts on one pound during the holiday season — which doesn’t sound like much, unless you gain that extra pound year after year.”
And that is where the real problem lies.
In fact, according to WebMD,
“The weight gain comes after the holidays, when people don’t drop that one little pound. A study of 195 adults showed that — from late September to early March — the majority put on 1.06 pounds in six months’ time. A year after the study began, 165 of the participants were weighed again.”
The real problem is when our “minor” weight gain continues year after year, or worse, month after month regardless of whether it’s the holidays nor not. This type of residual weight gain is what can eventually lead to an otherwise healthy individual becoming overweight or even obese.
And it is this cumulative weight gain that can then lead to physical issues including chronic pain.
Studies reported on by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) indicate this.
“Increased mechanical stresses on the body in obesity are believed to result in an increased risk of musculoskeletal and joint pain. A number of studies have shown a positive correlation between increased BMI and increased musculoskeletal pain, particularly of low back pain and lower limb pain.”
One way that obesity leads to chronic pain is the extra body mass that puts a heavier load on bones and joints.
Continual “overloading” of joints can lead to excessive wear and cause tissues to begin breaking down over time. The connective tissues and cartilage such as the meniscus can even alter their shape or rub in ways that cause pain. In addition, excessive weight can cause poor standing and sitting posture, as well as a dysfunctional gait.
Diet, Exercise, and Avoiding Chronic Pain
What we eat can help not only weight loss but in decreasing the inflammation caused by excess weight.
An anti-inflammatory diet is one that is heavy on vegetables including dark leafy greens in particular, along with plenty of fruits, whole grains, fish, legumes, which include nuts, beans, and seeds.
But simply adding these food types is not quite enough. It’s critical to avoid processed foods, along with processed sugar and red meat. Reducing or eliminating these from your diet has been found to be helpful in decreasing inflammatory pain in the body.
We know this can seem somewhat elementary, but it warrants being repeated: diet alone is not sufficient to lose weight and maintain a healthy weight.
The issue for some people with chronic pain is that the thought of exercising or working out can make them cringe. However, regular exercise has been shown to help with reducing the inflammation associated with joint pain and can even increase your pain tolerance. In addition, it can strengthen the muscles around joints while also increasing the blood flow. All of this can minimize joint pain.
When chronic joint and muscle pain is causally linked to excess body weight, a conscientious diet program combined with a consistent exercise regimen will help to both decrease the extra body mass while relieving the chronic pain.
So, pursuing exercise by starting “small” and building up is critical to dealing with this type of pain. As the Mayo Clinic puts it,
“Exercise can help you improve your health and fitness without hurting your joints. With your current treatment program, exercise can:
- Strengthen the muscles around your joints
- Help you maintain bone strength
- Give you more energy to get through the day
- Make it easier to get a good night’s sleep
- Help you control your weight
- Enhance your quality of life
- Improve your balance
Though you might think exercise will aggravate your joint pain and stiffness, that’s not the case. Lack of exercise actually can make your joints even more painful and stiff.
That’s because keeping your muscles and surrounding tissue strong is crucial to maintaining support for your bones. Not exercising weakens those supporting muscles, creating more stress on your joints.”
There are certain situations, however, when even attaining your ideal weight doesn’t bring relief from all chronic pain. That’s when a visit to Pain and Performance Solutions is recommended.
Living Pain-Free With Pain and Performance Solutions
When dealing with chronic pain, the first step in recovery and, ultimately, pain relief is when we get to know you and your pain issues. Once you make your first appointment, we’ll want to learn about your present discomfort as well as any history of pain.
After providing you with a full examination, we can determine which form of treatment is needed to help you on your road to recovery. Because our bodies will try to compensate for pain, you may find you can move on with your day. However, by shifting that pain around to compensate for your discomfort often leads to other areas of pain.
Getting chronic pain relief with therapies such as Active Release Technique® can only begin when we can understand where your pain started. That could mean it started previously with another injury you might have sustained.
Your trust in us is key, as is your honesty. Ultimately, getting your body working properly and healthy is the only way to achieve total recovery. So, don’t hesitate to reach out. We are here to help and will answer any, and all questions that you may have.
You can reach us at (707) 636-4404 or by filling out our online contact form.