Back pain while losing weight. Navigating the topic of weight and weight loss in today’s world can be a little tricky. Companies are constantly trying to sell us “magic” detox teas and pills, guaranteed to help us break that plateau. Our social media feeds are full of fitness models sharing “what they eat in a day” and their “fitness routines”. On the flip side, the body positive movement is in full force. Celebrities and influencers share their “flaws” and open up about their insecurities as a form of empowerment. Leaders of the movement are sharing their pride in who they are and opening up the acceptance conversation.

But even with a more engaging social conversation, there are still things being missed. One of those topics consists of some of the side effects that can occur when a person is losing weight and getting healthy. A specific side effect worrying some is back pain while losing weight. When we have more fat on us, it acts as a cushiony layer that insulates and keeps our insides in place. But when we lose that fat, those insides shift and we can find ourselves in more pain and discomfort than normal. When a person loses weight the curves in the spine may change and overall biomechanics will change. People may also increase their activities, which will cause greater stress and pain to the musculoskeletal system.

So how do we deal with this pain? What are the causes? How is it managed? Keep reading to learn more!

The Why

Our bodies, in general, are continually subjected to weakness and degeneration. This is especially true of our bones, muscles, tendons, and other connective tissues. Factors such as aging, smoking, and a generally unhealthy lifestyle tend to contribute to that structural weakening. That structural weakening can cause problems including spinal deviations, muscular imbalances, and decreased bone density. These issues may affect your alignment and posture and cause even further injuries and spinal problems. In addition to that, incorrect exercising and improper lifting form can add extra strain on your back. That extra strain only contributes to your pain and discomfort.

Weight Worries

If you’ve ever worried about your weight, I’m sure you’re familiar with the calories in vs calories out weight loss concept. Weight loss is the result of reducing the number of calories you consume in conjunction with an active lifestyle. Often times, this calorie reduction combined with “quick fix” weight loss foods (such as shakes and bars) results in an inadequate amount of nutrition in your body. Weight loss achieved in this manner stems from a significant amount of water and mineral loss – which in turn decreases a person’s bone density.

Weaker bones can cause spinal misalignments, which is why many experience back pain while losing weight. In addition, as we increase our physical activity, through overtraining and specific muscle overuse, even more back problems can occur. And as we lose fat, we are also losing the cushioning effect of that body fat in areas like our stomachs, buttocks, and hips. Reduced cushioning can cause discomfort and affect our spinal alignment. Think of it as mailing a care package. If you send a friend an empty box with a candle and their favorite candy, there’s chance damage will occur. But adding packing peanuts or newspaper will limit that damage. However now, our once lightbox is now clogged and congested with extra fluff…

What Causes Back Pain While Losing Weight?

 One: Malnutrition

We have recently discussed the Keto Diet and Whole30 Program. Keto and Whole30 are diets that remove entire food groups in hopes to burn body fat and learn about intolerances respectively. They promote a specific cut of carbohydrates and a reduction of sugar. While following one of these rigorous programs, one may suffer from a lack of nutrients found in whole grains, starchy vegetables, and fruits. Our entire body may be affected by this kind of malnutrition and we suffer as a consequence. Muscles aren’t able to function properly, they tend to spasm or weaken, and they often become strained. These muscles then can’t support our spines as effectively as they would if they were nourished appropriately.

If your diet or lifestyle restricts certain food groups, you should be taking appropriate actions to supplement the nutrients your body needs. For a generalized understanding, click here, but as always, make sure to discuss your concerns with your doctor!

Two: Dehydration

Low carb diets are considered to be diuretic diets. This means they increase your water loss as a means to drop weight quickly. While this isn’t the worst thing in the world, it is easy to become dehydrated if you aren’t careful.

This is an issue because our bodies are roughly 70% water. Our spinal discs rely on water to maintain both their height and their ability to absorb shock. Being dehydrated means there isn’t as much fluid available for those spinal discs. Dehydration can lead to speedy disc degeneration, bulging, or even herniation. Our muscles also need fluids in order to absorb electrolytes. When our muscles are dehydrated, they begin to cramp and get stiff.

If a low carb diet works for you, by all means, continue with it. However, just make sure you are getting enough water to keep your body running as effectively as possible! For more information on dehydration and how to tell if you are dehydrated, click here.

Three: Loss of Muscle Tone

There are some diet plans out there that are so extreme, that dieters are advised to avoid strenuous activities. This is simply because the body has to adjust to using less fuel. And adding exercise too early could lead to exhaustion and frustration and falling off the wagon. This enhanced sedentary state can cause a rapid loss of weight through muscle tone. The muscles in our lower back and abdomen, work together to support our torso and spine alignment. As these muscles weaken, posture begins to suffer. And when our posture suffers, we tend to feel strain and soreness throughout our back neck and shoulders.

Four: Over Exercising

On the opposite end, there are programs that focus more on physical activity than calorie counting. These plans involve high-intensity and regular exercise to help burn fat. However, sometimes we take the exercising a little too far and end up putting our health at risk.

There’s a reason we need to eat. And it’s true what they say about food being fuel. Our body needs calories for energy and repair. We need energy to walk, talk, think clearly, and get through everything on our daily to-do lists. We also need calories to get through these strenuous workouts. When we put in the grind but give our muscles less fuel to work with, we become more susceptible to strain and injury. We have to be careful about the workouts we do and give our bodies enough time to recover before the next workout. Because our backs are so involved in every movement we make, it tends to be one of the first parts of the body to feel pain and discomfort.

Chiropractic Care for Back Pain

Taking the steps to get healthy and make lifestyle changes is already hard enough. Getting deterred from back pain can, unfortunately, cause some rough patches in the process. For some, losing weight is a necessity. For others, it may be a choice. The Internet is a wonderful advancement in technology, but it is also full of trendy crash diets and bad advice that actually get you further from a healthy life.

If you’re overwhelmed, take a deep breath. Focus on plans that are nutritionally dense and keep you hydrated. If you are experiencing back pain on a rapid weight loss diet, it could be a warning sign that your body is not getting enough nutrients. Or it could mean you are working out too hard and not giving your body enough time to recover. To talk about your back pain and diet concerns, contact us today to schedule an introductory chiropractic session. We can discuss your wellness routine and nutritional needs as part of my initial chiropractic workup for you as a new patient to our practice.

* This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Please contact a medical professional for advice.

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