The Link Between Weight and Chronic Pain

The Link Between Weight and Chronic Pain

Each morning, you get out of bed cautiously to figure out how much your chronic pain is going to impact your day. On good days, you can move around and enjoy life a little, but on the bad days, life isn’t all that cheerful.

Making matters worse, you’ve gained some weight, and the added pounds are only exacerbating an already challenging situation.

This connection between chronic pain and weight gain is a familiar one for many and one that we see often at No Mercy Sports Medicine. To give you an idea, Dr. Moisés Irizarry-Román explores this connection a little further here, as well as how he can help on both fronts.

A word about chronic pain

When medical professionals discuss chronic pain, they’re referring to pain that lasts for three months or more. While this is a simple and effective numerical rule of thumb, chronic pain can be slightly more complex than that. 

For example, if you’re diagnosed with a degenerative form of arthritis, the moment you receive that diagnosis, you can start the clock on your chronic pain.

Chronic pain is also widespread — more than one in five Americans deals with chronic pain on a daily basis, and 8% of the adult population reports high-impact pain that comes with serious functional limitations.

The bottom line is that if you’re dealing with ongoing pain that’s having an impact on your quality of life and ability to function, you can very much define that as chronic pain.

Why chronic pain can lead to weight gain

The connection between chronic pain and weight gain isn’t a direct one, but there is a strong link that can be tied to several circumstances, including:

You can’t physically move around

Many people with chronic pain end up gaining weight because they’re unable to move around as they once did. For example, if you develop osteoarthritis in major joints like your knees, you might have to give up certain activities, such as anything that involves running or jumping.

Chronic pain, depression, and stress eating are a common combo

Between 35% and 45% of people with chronic pain also experience depression. This depression can lead to stress eating and subsequent weight gain, which is very common.

Certain pain medications can lead to weight gain

Another connection between chronic pain and weight gain includes certain medications that doctors often prescribe to combat chronic pain. For example, one study found that antidepressants and antiseizure medications, such as gabapentin, can lead to weight gain. 

Solutions for dealing with pain and weight gain

If you’re struggling with both challenges — chronic pain and extra pounds — we understand that addressing both is critical. To start, we focus on the pain because it’s important that you’re comfortable, first and foremost. 

We tend to take a long view when it comes to pain management and recommend sustainable solutions that might include:

Once we get you comfortable, we can focus on losing the extra pounds you’re carrying. To do this, we offer comprehensive weight management services that guide you through a healthy weight loss process that will leave you feeling even better.

If you have chronic pain and you’ve gained some weight, we want you to know that we can help you get back on track toward a healthier, pain-free life. Please contact our office in Miami, Florida, by calling 305-614-6757 or by using our online messaging form to schedule a consultation.

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