Is Obesity A Risk Factor For Pain Conditions?
Being obese is not a cosmetic problem. In a world where the media and society hold beauty and fitness to very high standards, an overweight or obese person can easily feel left out, depressed and suffer from low esteem.
Televisions and fashion magazines are full of pictures of thin models, actors, and athletes with lean abs, glorifying some almost impossible ideals to a point that makes a normal person feel inadequate. You can imagine how an obese person must feel to be exposed to this kind of environment.
Apart from the emotional factors, obesity comes with many health factors. Obese people are usually in pain more often when compared to normal people, even if they are healthy. Obesity and pain go hand in hand. The heaviest people report the highest rates of pain.
Obesity leads to pain because of the excess mechanical stresses and its pro-inflammatory condition. Pain results in obesity because of low physical activity and eating for analgesic effects.
Researchers have discovered an indirect relationship between individuals who are obese and pain. Many chronic conditions that are known to cause pain are commonly diagnosed in people who are overweight and obese.
These conditions are:
• Back pain
• Type 2 diabetes
The assumption is that obesity increases one’s risk for these conditions and these conditions are marked by pain.
A recent research study that was done in the United States showed that obesity and pain were persistent even after the researchers tried to explain the influence of other health problems that could cause pain.
In a research carried out by the Gallup organization (2008-2010) through information collected by telephone surveys, many of the participants were white and had a minimum of a high school diploma.
Each individual who participated in the survey was requested to give his or her accurate weight and height. In relation to that information, 36.8% of the individuals in the study had a normal BMI (Body Mass Index) while 38.3% were overweight at 24.9%, which is obese.
The participants were asked if they had felt any pain, the day before the survey was conducted. They were also asked if they had back, knee, neck, or leg conditions that had caused them any pain in the last 12 months or if they had any other condition that caused them continuous pain.
They were also asked about the existence of other types of medical conditions including asthma, depression, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and depression.
The researchers realized that the more a person weighed, the higher the chances of experiencing pain.
• When compared to normal people in the survey, individuals who had a BMI of 25 and 29 had 20% more pain.
• Individuals with BMIs of 30-34 had 68% more pain.
• Those who had BMIs of 35-39 had 136% more pain
• Those with BMIs over 40 had 254% more pain.
The researchers surmise that a person who is obese has excess fat that prompts physiological processes that lead to inflammation, which is closely associated with pain.
It is also a fact that those who are overweight are more likely to suffer from arthritis because of long time excess strain on the joints from the extra weight.
A different idea could be due to depression, which has been proven to be associated with pain. Depression, obesity, and chronic conditions also have some genetic effects, indicating genetics could be partly to blame.
Researchers agree that the relationship between chronic health problems, pain, and obesity are complicated.
In some instances, it could be that a person who has arthritis is not able to move around often which makes them gain weight much faster. In other individuals, it could be that being overweight may strain the joints, which may cause joint problems that result to pain.