What Can I Do To Reduce My Risk For Low Back Pain?
Low back pain (LBP) can have many causes such as genetics, acquired abuses, body type (especially obesity – body mass index or BMI >30), gender, as well as cultural aspects that predispose one to acquire low back trouble. So, the question remains, “what can I do to reduce my risk for developing low back pain?”
The answer, like the cause is – you guessed it – multifactorial. Since we can’t change our genetics, we’ll have to accept that one. But, we can change our BMI by keeping our weight to a reasonable amount. In an April 2010 study from Norway, 60,000 men and women provided BMI information and 20.9% of the men and 26.3% of the women indicated they had chronic low back pain. The authors found a direct relationship to a high BMI and an increased prevalence of LBP. Similar results attributing obesity to LBP were also reported in a meta-analysis published in January 2010 in the American Journal of Epidemiology (2010; 171(2):135-154).
So, what is “…a reasonable amount of weight?” When using the BMI, a BMI of 18.5 to 25 is considered “normal,” while 25-30 is described as overweight and >30 represents obesity. We should also mention anything LESS than 18.5 is considered underweight and that’s not good either as many nutritional needs of the body are compromised and too little weight can negatively affect bone health leading to osteoporosis and a myriad of other problematic health issues.
You may be wondering what a body mass index or BMI is, as it’s quite important and is quickly gaining respect in the medical world. In fact, it has been suggested to include the BMI along with the other “vital signs” pairing it up with blood pressure (BP), pulse, breathing rate, height, weight, and temperature. The BMI is a formula of height and weight and it’s a rough calculation of our total body fat, which is related to the risk of disease and death. However, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) it’s a little more complicated than that as people with greater muscle mass (such as a body builder) will have a higher BMI, suggesting they are overweight. At the other end of the spectrum, older individuals who have lost muscle mass may be still be overweight but their BMI will not reflect that.
The NHLBI reports 3 factors of importance when defining obesity and its many negative health effects, including the increased prevalence of LBP. The 3 factors are: 1) The BMI; 2) The waist measurement; 3) The presence of other negative health factors including: high BP, high LDL-cholesterol, low HDL-cholesterol, high triglycerides, high blood sugar, a family history of heart disease, physical inactivity and smoking cigarettes. If you have a waist size >35” for woman, >40” for men, AND 2 or more risk factors, simply put, you MUST lose weight! Even a small weight loss of 10% (such as 30# if you’re 300#), will help lower your risk of developing diseases associated with obesity such as heart disease, high cholesterol related diseases, stroke, certain types of cancers and type 2 diabetes.
We also realize you have a choice in who you choose for your healthcare services. If you, a friend or family member requires care for low back pain, we sincerely appreciate the trust and confidence shown by choosing our services and look forward in serving you and your family presently and, in the future.
This information is solely advisory and should not be substituted for medical or chiropractic advice. Any and all health care concerns, decisions, and actions must be done through the advice and counsel of a health care professional who is familiar with your updated medical history.