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Can My Weight Cause Lower Back Pain?

The holiday season can often bring parties, gatherings, events and food. Lots of food. If you’re suffering from back pain after the holidays you may be wondering can weight cause lower back pain?

can my weight cause lower back pain

Can Back Pain Be Caused by Being Overweight?

Scientists do not yet have a method for measuring pressures and loads on the vertebrae of the spine. However, computer modeling shows that increasing weight increases the pressure on the spine. In general, the impact of weight on the spine was greater in the lower back region than it was in the upper back or neck area. 2

With this increased pressure on the spine, those that carry more weight may be at higher risk of back injury. In addition, spinal changes that occur as part of the normal aging process may occur sooner for those that are overweight.3

It is therefore no surprise that a 2004 study1 of almost 8,000 Americans showed a correlation between back pain and weight. Based on survey responses, they study concluded that having an increased BMI (body mass index) increased the risk of lower back pain.

Can My Weight Cause Lower Back Pain?

Can Losing Weight Help With Back Pain?

Losing weight will reduce the pressure on your spine. This will minimize your risk for back pain and can potentially reduce back pain. For example, some people have found that weight loss eases their osteoarthritis symptoms.4

In addition, the increased physical activity and exercise in a weight loss program can also reduce back pain by:

  • Increasing core muscle strength
  • Improving flexibility and range of motion
  • Increasing the blood flow and nutrients provided to components of the spine5

This is why exercise is often included in a treatment program for people suffering from chronic low back pain.


Your weight could be contributing to your back pain.

If you suffer from chronic lower back pain and are overweight it wouldn’t hurt to lose a few of those extra pounds. Adding an exercise regimen to your routine can help shed those pounds and may also reduce your back pain. Sounds like a great resolution for the new year!

Please note that if exercising is painful for you, you may want to consult with a doctor before beginning a new regimen. Our doctors here at Saratoga Spine are available if you’d like to discuss your options. Feel free to contact us for an appointment at one of our locations in Saratoga Springs, Glens Falls or Plattsburgh, NY.


  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24239800
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23040051
  3. https://clinicalgate.com/causes-of-premature-aging-of-the-spine/
  4. https://www.webmd.com/osteoarthritis/features/lose-weight#1
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4934575/
*Please Note: Information on this site or any recommended sites should not be used as a diagnosis or a substitute for talking with your doctor. Always talk with your doctor about diagnosis and treatment information.
Blue Distinction Center for Spine Surgery