What is a healthy weight for your spine? We know there is plenty of information to be found online regarding what a healthy weight is. You’ve probably heard that excess weight can cause certain health issues, but did you know that it can stress your spine?
Being overweight or obese increases your risk of developing back pain, joint pain, and muscle strains. Your risk of developing lower back pain is heightened even more if you carry extra weight around your midsection as that weight pulls your pelvis forward, straining your lower back.
Carrying around extra weight can also put unwanted pressure on other spinal structures, like your discs. Overweight and obese people are more likely to experience sciatica or lower back pain due to a herniated disc or pinched nerve.
The complications of weighing in above a healthy weight are pretty bleak, but there’s a glimmer of hope. A lot of the conditions listed above can be mitigated by weight loss. In fact, losing weight can even help prevent some of these conditions altogether.
Finding a healthy weight for your spine
A common way to assess a healthy body weight is to calculate your BMI, or Body Mass Index. We recommend using the BMI calculator available on cdc.gov to determine if you are in the normal weight range for your height.
In addition to calculating your BMI, there are other physical signs that can help determine whether you are at a healthy weight. If you are at an unhealthy weight, you probably suffer from these symptoms:
- You are always tired. If you are overweight, your body has to expend more energy just to move.
- You do not sleep well. Cortisol, a stress hormone in your body, is supposed to drop at night allowing you to relax and sleep. If you can’t sleep, it could be a sign that you are eating foods that trigger cortisol to be released.
- You’ve been diagnosed with a health condition. Being overweight can lead to some serious health conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, gallbladder disease, and arthritis.
Keeping your weight in a certain range can make an impact on your overall health. There are a few quick lifestyle changes you can make to stay in a healthy weight range:
- Be active. Whether it’s a walk, lifting weights, or cleaning the house, being active in any form is good for your health.
- Substitute one meal a day with a healthier alternative. Small changes like swapping out processed foods like bread for whole grains like brown rice make a big difference. Try it for a few weeks, then increase it two meals a day.