The risk of issues such as type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, elevated blood pressure and cardiovascular disease are increased. But have you ever wondered if your paunch might also be hurting your back?
The spine is made from many vertebrae that sit one on top of another, joined at the back by facet joints. These joints are a little like snap-together modular flooring. Each one fits together beautifully, and is aligned in a way to support your spine and allow healthy movement. They, in essence, provide strength and structure while preventing your head or torso from spinning all the way around! Because of their design, we can walk upright, bend, twist and move safely.
However, a large waist girth alters the physics. It’s like carrying a heavy sack of potatoes on your front. The additional continuous pressure tips the pelvis forward and drags the attached vertebra with it. It increases the forward curve in the lower back, and one vertebra then pulls on the next. The postural distortions can often be seen by the eye. These changes alter the pressure applied through the facet joints, and can trigger muscle tension – increasing the risk of pain, injury and degeneration.
People usually gain weight from a poor diet, lack of exercise, poor sleep and stress. When a person consumes more calories than
their body burns, the excess energy is stored as fat, and some of this is deposited in the abdominal area.
A large hanging belly, also known as the panniculus, can occur following pregnancy or significant weight fluctuations. It’s often called an apron belly, and can hang from the top of the pubic area to the knees. The apron is made solely of excess skin and fatty tissue deposits. When combined with the weakened abdominal muscles that are common post-pregnancy, this apron can be pronounced.
For many reasons, it’s important to address a big belly. Strengthening the abdominal muscles may provide back pain relief, but it’s also important to protect yourself from future illness and discomfort by reducing your belly size. Your chiropractor can assess your posture, discuss treatment options for back pain and advise on ways to lower stress and achieve a healthy weight.