Obesity and Neck Pain: Are They Linked?

Obesity and Neck Pain: Are They Linked?

Obesity isn't the top cause of neck pain, but there's no doubt that carrying extra weight affects the delicate vertebrae in your neck and can lead to serious pain and chronic neck problems.

At iMed Regeneration Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Jason Keller, DC, and medical director Patty Beecroft, MD, frequently help people with weight-related neck pain. As chiropractic specialists, we support every aspect of your health, from easing the pain to supporting a healthy weight loss plan.

If you have questions about your neck pain, call our office. In the meantime, here's what you should know about obesity and neck pain.

Obesity can lead to neck pain by:

Placing excessive pressure on your spine

Your spine is designed to balance and align your body so you can move while causing minimal stress on your musculoskeletal system. The natural curves in your spine, good posture, and strong abdominal and back muscles work together to maintain a strong, properly aligned spine.

When you gain weight in your abdomen, back, or neck, the extra pounds place additional pressure on your spine. Your spine changes its position to compensate for carrying the weight. This shift causes muscle strain and abnormal spinal curvature, and throws your spine out of alignment.

Your lower back bears the brunt of the excess weight because it supports your upper body. But when your weight throws your lower back out of alignment, the impact travels up your spine, affects your neck, and causes neck pain.

Causing poor posture

Gaining weight in your abdomen and neck changes your posture. This creates a special problem for your neck because it supports the weight of your head.

On average, the human head weighs almost 12 pounds. When poor posture makes you bend your neck down, that weight is magnified, and your head places five times more pressure on your neck than normal. As a result, you develop a painful neck strain and muscle knots.

Worsening rheumatoid arthritis

Did you know that the neck is the third most common site for rheumatoid arthritis? Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory disease that develops when your immune system attacks the synovial tissues lining your joints. 

The tissues become inflamed, and without treatment, the ongoing inflammation damages the vertebrae in your neck, causing pain and instability.

Obesity contributes to and worsens rheumatoid arthritis. When you're overweight, the fat cells release biochemicals that cause bodywide inflammation. The extra inflammation makes rheumatoid arthritis progress at a faster rate. 

Obesity also makes the medications used for treating rheumatoid arthritis less effective.

Relieving obesity-related neck pain

As a chiropractic practice, we focus on the whole person. That means we specialize in nutritional counseling and helping you develop a diet and exercise plan that supports healthy weight loss.

Chiropractic care also eases your pain by realigning your spine and correcting your posture. We use special exercises along with education to improve your posture. 

We also have extensive experience using gentle chiropractic techniques for your neck, such as cervical mobilization, drop techniques, and therapeutic massage.

If you need relief from neck pain, call us today or book an appointment online.

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