The Effects of Weight Gain and Weight Loss on Spinal Alignment
Many factors can affect the alignment of our spines: lifestyle, gravity, and injuries are some of the most common. Another factor that affects spinal alignment is body weight and body composition. How much weight a body carries on its skeletal structure can impact the alignment of the spine and other joints, just as the amount of muscle on the body can also influence spinal alignment. Understanding the relationship between weight gain and loss can help us to streamline our lifestyles and create a balance that helps to support proper spinal alignment.
How Weight Loss Can Affect Spinal Alignment
It’s common for those who are carrying extra weight to suffer from back pain and other discomforts. Back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain, and pain or numbness in the legs and arms are typical ways that the body responds to extra weight. That’s because extra weight has some predictable effects on the body.
Extra Weight Can Compress The Spine
One of the most painful effects of carrying extra weight on the body is the effects that it has on the spine. Additional weight on the body can tax the structure of the body—that’s the bones and joints. This is because the bones and joints, the frame of the body, are carrying more weight than the structure can easily accommodate. This can compress the discs of the spine, which are the soft, jello-like in between the vertebrae.
Extra weight can cause a higher likelihood of slipped and herniated discs, which can be both painful and debilitating. Extra weight can compress the spine and also reduce flexibility, mobility, and agility in the body.
Extra Weight Can Crush Nerves
As an indirect effect of carrying extra weight on the body, the nerves of the body can become crushed. Nerves are extremely delicate, and when other parts of the body are strained (like muscles, joints, tendons, and ligaments), the nearby nerves can become inflamed as a result. This can lead to a variety of symptoms because so many of the body’s functions are controlled by nerves.
When nerves are crushed, inflamed, or bruised, symptoms like indigestion, numbness, tingling, sharp pain, aching pain, abnormal heart rate or heart rate variability, and a host of other conditions can arise.
Extra Weight Can Increase the Effects of Gravity
Gravity already affects the body every day by pushing every cell of the body downwards. This occurs most prevalently when the body is standing upright, and it can make it difficult to maintain correct posture. In fact, the effect of gravity is what usually causes people to round their shoulders and develop slouched posture to begin with.
Carrying extra weight can seemingly increase the effects of gravity, adding more intensity to the downward force that it produces. Carrying extra weight can lead to more rounded shoulders, forward-head posture, and a host of other postural problems.
Extra Weight Can Reduce Circulation
Extra weight in the body can reduce the circulation of blood in the body. This is because high body weight often coexists with higher-than-normal levels of cholesterol, which is a fatty substance that travels through the veins and arteries, impeding flow. When this happens, vital nutrients and oxygen in the blood are delivered at a reduced rate across the body. Detoxification can also occur at a slower rate because toxins being transported and removed from the blood are impeded by the presence of cholesterol.
Additionally, simply the presence of extra weight on the body can reduce circulation. When the body is carrying more weight than its frame can comfortably support, the weight can be distributed onto other parts of the body, including muscles and soft tissue. This can cause pockets of reduced flow, particularly when the body is not moving.
Extra Weight Can Decrease Lymphatic Flow
Just like with blood flow, extra weight can decrease the flow of lymphatic fluid in the body. This means that detoxifying the body at a cellular level can be difficult. Cellular detoxification is how the body maintains its equilibrium and health, and if this process is impeded, the body can be more at risk for disorders and diseases.
Reducing Body Weight Can Change the Body’s Spinal Alignment
In a case where the body is holding more weight than its structure can healthfully support, reducing body weight can be very beneficial. Because excess body weight can increase the effects of gravity, it can be very hard on the spine. The spine has a delicate, jello-like cushion between each of the vertebrae called “discs.” When the body is carrying extra weight, these discs can easily slip out of their encasement, causing sharp shooting pain, numbness, tingling, and achieving.
Additionally, extra body weight can disfigure the body’s spinal alignment over time. Extra body weight can be too heavy for the spine and structure of the body to support without becoming malformed. As a result, the spine can become misaligned, discs can become herniated or slipped, and chronic pain can arise.
Reducing body weight can help to change the body’s spinal alignment for the better, as it can remove additional pressure that is preventing the spine from coming into alignment. Advanced spinal alignment treatment can be even more effective when the body is not carrying substantial extra weight.
Treating Spinal Misalignment
When the body is carrying extra weight, it’s still possible to treat spinal misalignment. Unfortunately, it can take longer and be a more intensive process. This is because extra weight can act as a stabilizing force on the body, keeping the posture locked in a certain position. It’s still possible to see significant improvement from spinal alignment treatment, but it can require more treatments at a higher frequency.
Losing extra body weight can actually accelerate the intensity and speed at which the spine can realign. By adding a weight loss protocol to your lifestyle at the same time as seeking treatment for your spinal alignment, you can experience transformational results in your health. Losing extra weight can lead to an increase in energy and mobility, a decrease in pain, and a more effective spinal alignment plan.
Chiropractic Care in Huntsville and Decatur, Alabama
Ready to feel the full range of benefits that come with chiropractic care? Dr. Adam Shafran and his team have over two decades of experience treating car accidents, falls, back pain, neck issues and more – so you know you’re in great hands. At our practice we create individualized treatment plans for each patient based on their needs and goals. Unlock your body’s resilience against stress, disorder or disease today by booking an appointment with us. Call now!