Chronic pain-related weight gain

 

Weight gain and obesity is major problem in our society in general. However patients with chronic pain are even at greater risk than the general population for weight gain. To add insult to injury weight gain often worsens chronic pain. Therefore this is a problem that must be solved.

 

Anyone in chronic pain, especially patients with chronic low back pain, knee pain or total body pain is usually living a sedentary lifestyle because of the pain. Lack of physical activity let alone exercise decreases the basal metabolic rate (the rate we burn calories at rest) so burning less calories means more weight gain. It is not uncommon for patients who get injured on the job or develop chronic pain from a motor vehicle accident to put on 20, 30, 50 or even more pounds within a year of the injury. That extra weight adds stress on the spine and the

knees increasing pain. Research has shown that during walking the knees, hips and ankles bear 3 to 5 times a

person’s body weight. This means for every pound a person is overweight translates into 3-5 extra pounds onto

each hip, knee and ankle.

 

The combination of using nutrition as medicine for pain relief and weight loss for pain relief is an often overlooked

treatment for chronic pain. There are some instances that chronic pain can be completely relieved this way.

 

Gregory A Smith MD, GS Medical Center

Gregory Alan Smith, M.D.  GS Medical Center, Inc.