Bariatric Surgery for Back or Joint Pain

Back or joint pain affects over 100 million people in the United States. Americans dole out $600 billion a year in medical treatments and lost productivity because of back and joint pain.

Back and joint pain is a common symptom of morbid obesity. The excess body weight of a morbidly obese person increases the stress on the back and joints, reducing the ability to move or even relax without pain. The more painful it becomes to move, the more difficult it is to maintain or reduce body weight — a vicious circle that can further promote the morbid obesity causing the pain in the first place.

But there’s a solution for this pain — bariatric surgery. Let’s take a closer look at how bariatric surgery can help a morbidly obese person manage back and joint pain and live a healthier, fuller life.

It is worth all the effort and change, the sky is the limit with your health and the new you.

When my knees began to hurt, I knew it was time for that change.

Now, I am back to myself, the person I was about 9 years ago. This has been the best decision I have made in a long time, the transition was not nearly as hard as I expected it to be.
Katie W.

How can bariatric surgery help people with back or joint pain?

Although weight loss is a great way to relieve painful pressure, exercise can further irritate a joint. That’s why bariatric surgery is a common solution to reduce or cure back or joint pain for the morbidly obese.

In a study sourced by the Bariatric Times, 81 percent of patients with pre-existing pain reported an improvement in pain after undergoing adjustable gastric banding. In another study examining patients who underwent Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, 75 percent reported improvement or resolution of symptoms.

A study conducted at University of Southern California concluded similar results. Out of the 38 morbidly obese patients with low back pain who underwent gastric bypass surgery, researchers found:

  • There was a 44 percent reduction in back pain
  • Quality of life increased 58 percent
  • Disability related to lower back pain decreased 24 percent

In general, the group found a direct association between weight loss due to bariatric surgery and pain intensity. Patients who lost more weight had greater improvements than those who lost less weight.

Barix Clinics provides our bariatric surgery candidates with assistance to confirm insurance coverage of their weight loss procedures. We offer pre-surgical medical exams and post-operative recovery spaces, nutritional counseling and medical checkups to help ensure the greatest opportunities for long-term success.

Barix Clinics bariatric surgery candidates can also access support groups and counseling to help the transition into their new lives.

What is joint pain?

Joints are the structures that form connections between bones and provide us with the support we need to move. Damage to joints can interfere with this movement and cause a lot of pain. While joint pain can affect any part of your body, the most common complaints are in knees, shoulders and hips.

The severity and duration of the pain can vary by individual – but as humans age or gain weight, their chance of joint pain increases.

If you’re suffering from joint pain as a result of morbid obesity, you are not alone. The National Institute of Health reports that “Overweight and obesity increase the risk by two to four times for clinically important joint pain increase over 2 years compared to normal weight...Obese persons suffer from multi-site pain, and morbidly obese are over twice as likely to report consistent, severe pain symptoms than normal weight individuals.”

What is back pain?

Put simply, back pain is a result of the way bones, muscles and ligaments work together in backs. It can range from a dull, constant ache to a sudden sharp pain.

Because a morbidly obese person often has “abdominal adiposity” — that is, significant extra weight around the stomach and abdomen — additional stress is put on the muscles and bones of the back, leading to back pain. This pain could be a result of a variety of conditions, such as discs between the vertebrae, ligaments around the spinal cord, nerves of lower back muscles or spin inflammation.

Are people who suffer from morbid obesity at greater risk of back or joint pain?

In short, yes. Human spines carry and distribute a body’s weight during rest and activity. When people carry excess weight, they force the spine to hold the burden (which leads to damage). At the same time, a lack of exercise (often the result of pain caused by mobility) leads to poor flexibility and weak back muscles – further harming posture and creating pain.

Because excess weight puts additional pressure on all parts of the body, joint pain is common for individuals who are morbidly obese. According to the John Hopkins Arthritis Center, being only 10 pounds overweight increases the force on the knee by 30 to 60 pounds with each step.

Bariatric surgery may be the solution to back or joint pain problems. Learn more now.

What are common back or joint pain symptoms?

As the name suggests, the most common indicator of a joint issue is pain. There are, however, other symptoms, such as:

  • Limping
  • Joint swelling/tenderness
  • Stiffness
  • Loss of joint range of motion

Similar to joint issues, back problems often produce shooting or stabbing pain. Other key signals include:

  • Muscle aches
  • Limited back flexibility
  • Pain radiating down the leg

What happens if you leave back or joint pain untreated?

Back or joint pain is often the symptom of a larger underlying problem. If left untreated, it could lead to more complex issues:

  • Arthritis
  • Osteoporosis
  • Herniated or slipped discs
  • Sacroiliitis
  • Gout

Back or joint pain isn’t something you have to deal with.

Still wondering is bariatric weight loss surgery is the right solution for back or joint pain? Listen to Jamie’s story. At only 24 years old, she found herself dealing with weight-related health problems, including back pain — which she knew would get worse as she aged.

"Although I was only 24 when I had the surgery, my extra weight was already beginning to take a toll on my health,” Jamie says. “My blood pressure and cholesterol were elevated. I had problems with my back. I knew these problems were just going to get worse. [After surgery] I look in the mirror and I can't believe it's me. I'm so much happier and healthier."

If you’re still suffering from back or joint pain, you aren’t alone. Barix Clinics can provide you with weight loss surgery solutions and help you need to improve your quality of life. To learn more, contact us today.

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