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Why Am I Experiencing Back Pain After Bariatric Surgery?

Man experiences back pain after weight loss, but Dr. Higa has recommendations for avoiding and treating back pain after major weight loss.

One of the great benefits of weight loss associated with bariatric surgery is the improvement, and often elimination, of joint pain in various areas throughout the body. Patients who once had hip, knee, ankle, and foot pain may no longer experience these chronic conditions and may find themselves able to perform activities that they once thought were no more extended possibilities for them. However, this weight loss may lead to low back pain for some. This is not uncommon, and it can be addressed with relative ease.

Why Might You Experience Low Back Pain After Losing Significant Weight?

One of the essential parts of the body that one can strengthen is the core. The core includes the abdominal and back muscles in the trunk of your body. As important as they are, these are also some of the most neglected muscles in the body, especially when we suffer from obesity. The extreme pressure that obesity puts on the abdomen and other ligaments, tendons, and joints can often make them weak. Further, most obese patients live a relatively sedentary lifestyle, causing their core musculature to be inadequate. As we begin to lose weight, there is a degree of muscle wasting, which can further weaken the core. As such, once some of our patients have lost a significant amount of weight, their bodies may be weak and unable to support them properly.

What’s the Solution?

While the discomfort of back pain is undoubtedly frustrating and can lead to a lack of will to continue losing weight, the solution is relatively straightforward and lies in improving core musculature. For patients with significant discomfort, we will prescribe home exercises that can easily and quickly start to improve the core strength. Patients can also begin yoga or Pilates, which focus strongly on core strength and flexibility. For patients with significant discomfort, physical therapy may be the answer. A physical therapist can guide you with intensive core exercises that can be performed both in therapy and at home.

Notably, the post-bariatric exercise program is tailored to help you maximize your weight loss and minimize pain and discomfort. Following the recommended program gives you the best opportunity to avoid postoperative back pain or a loss of musculature as you lose weight. In the end, we will work together to mitigate some of the adverse effects that years of obesity may have caused and help you regain a lifestyle of health and wellness.

For more information or to contact our office, we encourage you to give us a call or fill out the form on the contact page here. If you are having significant abdominal or chest pain or any other signs that you may be having a medical emergency, please dial 9-1-1 immediately or visit your closest emergency room.

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