Can Weight Loss Cause Back Pain?

woman grabbing her back because of back pain in gym clothing
Back pain can be physically uncomfortable and prevent people from completing daily activities. Surprisingly, weight loss or gain may contribute to chronic back pain. Gaining an unhealthy amount of weight or shedding pounds rapidly are risk factors for back pain. This article will look into how weight changes influence one's back and the steps that you can take if you encounter painful symptoms.

What is Back Pain?

Back pain is a common issue that affects people of all ages and activity levels. It can range from mild discomfort to severe and debilitating pain. Back pain is most often caused by issues with the vertebrae, discs, and muscles in the spinal column—the part of the body that connects the head to the hips.

It can also be caused by injury or underlying medical conditions such as degenerative disc disease, osteoarthritis, or slipped discs. Other factors like heavy lifting and physical inactivity can also contribute to back pain. In some cases, back pain can be accompanied by other symptoms such as joint pain, numbness, tingling, or weakness in the legs or arms.

Dealing with chronic or acute back pains can be difficult. However, being aware of the various causes and treatments can help. Proactive steps to improving health and well-being can help reduce or get rid of the pain altogether.

Surprisingly, weight loss also plays a role in both contributing to and combating it. Learning more about this connection could help alleviate your symptoms.

Can Weight Loss Cause Back Pain?

woman burning fat through exercise in the gym with ropes

Although back pain is not frequently reported by individuals attempting to lose weight, it can occur. There are many potential causes of back pain that can be brought on by the process of weight loss due to the physical stress placed on muscles, bones and joints.

Losing weight may produce changes in posture or create an uneven distribution of strain throughout the entire body leading to muscle fatigue, soreness, and eventual backache.

Other causes of weight-loss induced back pain could include dehydration from reduced caloric intake, an injury sustained during exercise, an existing medical condition being made worse due to decreased muscle mass, or simply straining when consistently lifting heavy weights or performing intense workouts.

How Can Weight Loss Cause Back Pain?

Weight loss can have beneficial effects on health, but incorrect or rapid weight loss methods may lead to acute or severe back pain resulting from increased strain on the discs and vertebrae.

Unexplained weight loss or persistent back pain should be discussed with a doctor. Additional testing, such as blood tests and physical assessments with a physical therapist may be required to make an accurate diagnosis.

If your back pain is due to excess body weight, then losing that extra weight through healthy dieting and increased physical activity may help alleviate your symptoms.

However, even with successful weight loss, you should remain mindful of any potential issues that could arise from carrying around too much extra weight for too long—like blood clots or high blood pressure or sugar levels—and seek regular medical advice if needed.

With the right approach and attitude, you can make steady progress in your weight loss journey while minimizing any associated risks!

Causes of Back Pain

woman in sports clothing having back pain

Back pain is a common issue that can be caused by a variety of factors. Poor posture, heavy lifting, and degenerative disc disease are some of the most common causes of back pain.

Poor Posture and Sitting Habits

Poor posture and habits when seated can have a large influence on your health and may be a source of back pain.

You should sit up with your feet flat on the floor, avoiding to cross or bend your legs excessively. Taking regular breaks from seating can allow you to preserve muscle activity and avoid stiffness and discomfort.

When vertical, maintain good posture with your shoulders back and torso open to spread pressure across the body. Following these simple instructions can assist in preventing the cause of numerous back pains.

Heavy Lifting

Back pain can result from improperly lifting heavy objects. When doing so, one should maintain a straight back and use their legs to lift, not their back. Taking breaks between lifts can allow the muscles to recover. If any pain or unease is experienced while lifting, it should be stopped and medical help should be sought. Proper precautions must be taken before engaging in any strenuous activity to ensure safety.

Degenerative Disc Disease

Degenerative disc disease affects spinal discs, causing pain, stiffness and limited movement. This condition can be due to age, injury, excess body weight or lack of physical activity.

Treatment for degenerative disc disease usually includes lifestyle changes such as regular exercise, proper nutrition and weight loss if needed. Other treatments may include medications, physical therapy and even surgery in more severe cases.

If you are experiencing any symptoms related to degenerative disc disease it is important to seek medical advice from your doctor or physical therapist so they can provide you with an accurate diagnosis and create a treatment plan that works best for you.

Spinal Cord Compression

Spinal cord compression occurs when the spine is subjected to increased pressure, which can be due to various causes such as an increase in body weight, lifting heavy objects, or diagnosed medical conditions like cancer or arthritis.

Symptoms of spinal cord compression may include severe pain in the back and neck, numbness and tingling in the limbs, and difficulty walking. In some cases, it can even cause loss of bladder or bowel control.

Diagnosing spinal cord compression typically involves a physical exam and imaging tests such as X-rays or an MRI. Treatments for this condition vary depending on its severity but can include lifestyle changes such as weight loss, physical therapy, medications, bracing, and surgery in more serious cases.

If you are experiencing any symptoms related to spinal cord compression it is important to seek medical advice so they can provide you with an accurate diagnosis and create a treatment plan that works best for you.


Osteoarthritis (OA) is a degenerative joint condition which can occur in people of all ages. It arises when cartilage in the joints erodes, resulting in pain and limited range of motion. Possible causes include aging, obesity, or physical activities that put extra pressure on the joints. Symptoms of this condition include joint ache, puffiness and immobility.

While there is no cure for OA, there are a number of treatments available to help manage symptoms. These include lifestyle changes such as maintaining a healthy weight and engaging in regular physical activity to reduce stress on the joints; medications such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs; and injections of corticosteroids or hyaluronic acid into the affected joint.

In more severe cases, surgery may be recommended. If you think you may have osteoarthritis it is important to seek medical advice so your doctor can provide an accurate diagnosis and create a treatment plan that works best for you.

Risk Factors for Back Pain Related to Weight Loss

Excess body weight can put additional strain on the spine, which can lead to back pain by compressing the discs and ligaments. Weight loss is therefore an important component for health and wellness goals.

Additionally, rapid weight loss or heavy lifting associated with weight loss can put strain on the spinal column, leading to injury or pain. People with pre-existing conditions such as degenerative disc disease may be at higher risk for back pain when losing weight.

People attempting to lose weight should exercise caution and consult with a medical professional if they have unexplained or severe back pain. A physical exam, as well as blood tests, may be recommended to evaluate causes such as blood clots, high blood pressure or abnormal sugar levels.

Weight management is key to many wellness goals, and understanding how it can affect your back can aid in staying healthy. Excessive weight loss or weight gains can also pose risk; further information will be provided on the potential dangers.

Unhealthy Weight Gain or Loss

Unhealthy weight gain or loss can have serious consequences on the body, including back pain. When people gain excess weight, the extra pounds put additional stress on their spine and joints, leading to pain in various parts of the body. Gaining too much weight can also cause a person’s posture to be misaligned, which can result in chronic neck and back pain.

On the other hand, when people lose too much weight rapidly they may experience severe joint and muscle pain due to lack of adequate nutrition. Eating a balanced diet is essential for maintaining healthy bones and joints, so it is important to ensure that one is not losing too much weight too quickly. Additionally, rapid weight loss can cause dehydration which can lead to further discomfort in the lower back area.

It is important to maintain a healthy bodyweight for overall health as well as reducing risk of back pain. People who are struggling with their weight should consult with a doctor or dietician before starting any new diets or exercise routines.

Through proper diet and regular physical activity, individuals can stay at a stable body weight while avoiding unnecessary strain on their spine and joints that could lead to chronic pain later on.

Diagnosing the Source of Back Pain Related to Weight Loss

doctor standing next to a MRI scanner

Uncovering the cause of back pain linked to weight loss? It’s not as complicated or mysterious as you think – often all it takes is a comprehensive physical examination and, in some cases, a couple of simple blood tests. Get to the bottom of potential hidden issues like diabetes and high blood pressure too!

An X-Ray or MRI may be necessary if there is suspicion of degenerative disc disease or spinal damage to get a better view of the spinal area and its surroundings. For those that experience severe back pain, consulting with a physical therapist to evaluate overall mobility and create a customized exercise program may be beneficial.

If unexplained weight loss is determined to be the cause of back pain, further testing may need to be done to rule out any serious medical conditions such as pancreatic cancer or blood clots. Doctors will also want to make sure that any rapid weight loss has not caused dehydration, which can further worsen joint and muscle pain.

In all cases, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional before beginning any kind of weight loss journey so that all potential risks can be addressed and managed effectively.

Weight loss can positively impact overall health, however, it is advisable to consult a healthcare professional before starting any weight management journey. A physical examination by a doctor will be able to identify and address the root causes of back pain related to weight loss.

Physical Examination by a Doctor

When it comes to back pain related to weight loss, consulting a doctor for a physical examination is the first step. During this kind of check-up, your doctor will ask about any symptoms you have been experiencing and may take some measurements like body mass index (BMI).

They may also perform basic tests such as checking your blood pressure and sugar levels. After examining you, your doctor will be able to diagnose any underlying issues and recommend a course of action.


An MRI is a special kind of imaging test that uses magnets and radio waves to create pictures of the inside of your body. It can be used to diagnose problems with the spine, bones, and joints.

During an MRI scan, you will lie on a table while a machine takes images of your body. The images are then sent to a computer so doctors can look at them more closely.

An MRI can help doctors identify any serious conditions like spinal cord or disc problems that could be causing back pain related to weight loss.

CT Scans

CT scans (or computed tomography scans) are a form of imaging that uses special x-rays to create detailed pictures of the body. They can be used to look at your organs, bones, and tissues.

During a CT scan, you will lie on a table while an X-ray machine takes multiple images from different angles. The images are then sent to a computer so doctors can see them more clearly.

CT scans can help doctors spot any problems with your spine or other areas that could be causing pain due to weight loss.

Treating Back Pain Relating to Weight Loss

woman visiting a therapist for her back pain

Back pain related to weight loss can be difficult to deal with, but there are some steps you can take to help manage it. Here are some of the best recommendations for treating back pain when you are losing weight.

Exercise and physical therapy

Exercise and physical therapy are important for treating back pain related to weight loss. Exercise can help strengthen the muscles in your back, which can help support the spine and reduce pain. It is also a great way to keep your body healthy and fit.

Physical therapy is another option to help relieve back pain. A physical therapist will work with you to create an exercise program tailored to your needs. They can also teach you proper ways of lifting and carrying objects, which can help reduce strain on your back muscles. Physical therapists may also provide massage to relax tense muscles and provide relief from pain.


Medications can also be used to help treat back pain related to weight loss. Your doctor may recommend a type of pain reliever or anti-inflammatory drug, such as ibuprofen or naproxen, to help reduce the pain and swelling.

In more severe cases, your doctor may prescribe stronger medications like muscle relaxants or opioids. It is important to talk to your doctor before taking any kind of medication for back pain as some can have side effects.

Surgery for severe cases of back pain

In some cases, surgery may be necessary to treat back pain related to weight loss. This is usually only recommended for people who have not responded to more conservative treatments such as medication and physical therapy.

Surgeries used to relieve back pain caused by weight loss include laminectomy, discectomy, spinal fusion, and artificial disc replacement.

  • During a laminectomy, a surgeon will remove part of the vertebrae to reduce pressure on the spinal cord.
  • A discectomy involves removing herniated or bulging discs that are putting pressure on nerves in the spine.
  • Spinal fusion surgery is when two or more vertebrae are fused with screws and rods.
  • Artificial disc replacement is when a damaged disc is removed and replaced with an artificial one.

It is important to talk to your doctor before considering any of these surgeries to treat back pain related to weight loss.


In conclusion, losing weight can cause back pain. To help ease the pain, it is important to exercise and do physical therapy. Your doctor may also prescribe medications or suggest surgery for more severe cases. It is important to always talk to your doctor before starting any new treatments for back pain related to weight loss. Taking care of your body, staying active, and eating a healthy diet are all great ways to ensure you stay in good shape as you lose weight.

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