Obesity, Low Back Strain and Lordosis

Obesity may increase back strain or lordosis.
Obesity may increase back strain or lordosis.. Image Source / Image Source / Getty Images

Obesity, Low Back Strain and Lordosis

The lowest part of your spine (your sacrum, to be exact) is connected between your two pelvic bones in the back. Because of this connection, the spine is brought along when the pelvis moves forward, back, up or down, or as it rotates.

Obesity, particularly carrying a large amount of weight in your mid-section, may pull your pelvis forward. This increases the curve in your back and contributes to lordosis, an exaggerated low back curve.

Tightened back muscles and back strain may result, and you may experience pain, stiffness, tension, or difficulty moving the affected area.

The act of sitting only makes this situation worse, as it contracts the hip muscles that bring the pelvis forward. By breaking up your work day with desk stretches, you can decrease or prevent back pain; this also helps address the tendency to be sedentary, which promotes weight gain.

Another, more direct way to counter the effects of a large belly on the health of your back is to foster awareness of your postural alignment, and in particular, your pelvic position. Body awareness can help you use core strength exercises to your advantage in developing and maintaining hip flexibility and a neutral spinal alignment. These are two key elements of a balanced, adaptive low back that play an important role in keeping you protected from injury and pain. A core strengthening program may also help you get through your basic daily activities without straining your back.

Taking the necessary steps to get down to a healthy weight is the primary goal for many of us. Not only can it help reduce back pain, but it can lower your risk of a number of very serious diseases. Your primary care physician can help you get and stay on a safe, effective weight loss program, so don't hesitate to ask her for guidance.


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Peytremann-Bridevaux I, Santos-Eggimann B. Health correlates of overweight and obesity in adults aged 50 years and over: results from the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE). Obesity and health in Europeans aged > or = 50 years. Swiss Med Wkly. May 2008.

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