Does Weight gain cause Back Pain?

Back pain is linked to Weight gain. According to the American Journal of Epidemiology, overweight and obesity increase the risk of low back pain. Maintaining a healthy weight helps in preventing back problems and reduces stress on other joints as well. Whether you are in London or any part of the world, just a few pounds of weight loss can make a big difference to your back pain.

Back pain and Weight gain

1 pound of weight gain causes 4 pounds of pressure on your spine

2 kilograms of weight gain causes 8 kilogram of pressure on your spine

1 stone of weight gain means cause 50 pounds of pressure on your spine!

What is weight gain?

Weight gain means it is an increase in your body weight. The causes are:

      • Increase in the bulk of your muscles
      • Amount of fat in various parts of your body
      • Excess fluid causing water retention

According to the American Journal of Clinical nutrition,  One pound of our fat tissue contains 3,500 Calories. This means by eating 500 fewer calories, we can lose a pound a week. At the same time if we take more than 3500 extra calories, we will gain a pound in weight.


1 pound of weight that we gain puts about 4 pounds of extra pressure on our spine.

This significantly increases the risk of lower back pain

How to know your ideal weight? 

Back pain caused by weight gain. BMI Calculator


To estimate your ideal weight, use something called a Body Mass Index. It is a standard measure used all over the world.

Here, we take your Body weight in kilograms and divide the weight by your height in metres.

To make it easy, there is a chart that you can use to look up your BMI for your weight and height. It will also show if you are in the ideal weight, overweight or Obesity category.


BMI Chart for Back pain to calculate your ideal weight, overweight and obesity

BMI Chart gives you a quick idea of where you are on the chart. This Body Mass Index can be used by all adults of any age, weight and height. It gives you the normal range for your weight and height. The weight is given in pounds on the left hand side and in kilograms on the right hand side.  The height is given in centimeters and feet below the chart.

The green band shows the ‘healthy weight’ for your weight and height. The yellow band shows the BMI that indicates ‘Overweight’ The pink band is in the ‘Obesity’ range.

If your BMI is:

18 – 25 – Shows a Normal & Healthy weight

25 – 30 – Overweight at risk of Back problems

> 30  – Obesity – Back pain & Degeneration

How does Weight gain affect your Back pain?

Back pain and BMI in Men


      • 125 lbs (9stones) to 169 lbs (12 stones)


      • less than 125 lbs (9stones)


      • 169 lbs (12 stones) to 200 lbs (14 stones)


      • exceeds 200 lbs (14 stones)
BMI range in women shows how the body shape alters with weight gain

As you can see here, your spine is this central support for your body to provide strength, flexibility and movement. Your spine has three natural curves that are in balance to distribute your body weight. This provides perfect alignment with the strong and flexible muscles in your back. During the later years there is gradually gaining weight and the shape of these natural curves are altered.


 10 extra pounds on your abdomen, puts an additional 100-pound strain on your back

Can belly fat make your back hurt?

Yes, belly fat can certainly make your back hurt. The main cause of your back problem is in your front; not in your back. The muscles and fat around your belly are right in front of your back. Belly fat causes potbelly and this changes the curvature of your back. Belly fat pulls your spine forward causing stress on the bones, muscles, ligaments and the soft cushions (discs). Belly fat that sticks out farther away from the spine can cause severe strain on joints at the back of the spine leading to arthritis reports a study from the University Hospital Zurich in Switzerland.


“Further your belly sticks out greater the backpain”

How does weight gain cause back pain?

When your body weight increases, the spine becomes tilted and develops an unnatural curve. There is more stress on the small joints of your spine call the ‘facet joints’. The chemicals released from the excess body fat, damages the lining of these facet joints leading to inflammation and later arthritis.

Further increase in bodyweight squeezes the soft tissue cushions (discs) between the bones of your spine. These discs become inflamed and undergo wear and tear (Degeneration). The risk increases by 30 to 79% due to weight gain Overweight and obesity causes the disc to rupture due to the excess weight and sticks out into the spinal canal causing pressure on the spine nerve. This leads to back pain and leg pain called sciatica.

How to lose weight with back pain?

Excess weight is the cause of your back problem and exercise and losing weight will help you in relieving the pain. Weight loss requires you to take fewer calories and make healthy changes in your diet. Take small tiny steps and be comfortable in what you are doing.

There are two ways to lose weight that back problems:




Step 1: Choose low-impact exercise like walking and water exercises. 

Step 2: Weight loss requires at least 60 to 90 minutes of cardiovascular exercise each day for a good result. Break your exercises into small bits – 10 minute walk following breakfast lunch and dinner.

Step 3: Consider Physiotherapy exercises for low back pain. These are small simple exercises that can be done in the initial stages of your backpain and do not pose any risk of aggravating your backpain.



Step 1: Watch for unhealthy eating patterns. A food diary is very useful in noting down these unhealthy eating habits. Write down everything that you eat and drink especially when you’re watching TV or at times of stress.

Step 2: Try and see if you can make small changes in your diet. If you’re eating out five days a week, try changing and reducing it to 2 to 3 days a week.

Step 3: Try to reduce calories that do not give you the necessary nutrients for the growth and well-being. These include candies, soft drinks, sugary drinks and most fast foods.


My Advice:

Here at Spine Surgeon, we have both Online and Direct Consultations.

If you wish to avail a consultation:

Whatsapp/Text: 07956 381 383

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