Dealing with Back Pain Associated with Weight Loss

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A lot of people make weight loss plans in the winter and early spring, with the goal of getting lean and fit for the summer. Now that Memorial Day has passed, you might be checking in on whether or not you have achieved your weight loss goals. If you’ve been exercising and eating right for the last few months and have been able to shed some of the extra weight you have been trying to lose — congratulations! At the same time, you might have noticed that the weight loss has come with an unexpected side effect: back pain.

How Does Weight Loss Cause Back Pain?

It is common knowledge that carrying around extra weight can increase your risk of experiencing back pain, so many people are surprised when losing weight leads to chronic back pain as well. There are several reasons why you might be experiencing back pain as a negative side effect of achieving your weight loss goals:


  • Biomechanical changes. When you lose weight — especially if you lose a large amount in a short period of time — it can change the distribution of mass on your body, which can lead to structural and muscular imbalances. These imbalances can lead to spinal misalignments and back pain.
  • Inadequate nutrition. As you probably know, the key to successful weight loss is making sure that you do not take in more calories than you burn. However, a highly restrictive diet may not always contain all of the nutrients you need. For instance, if your weight loss diet lacks minerals like calcium and zinc, it can contribute to bone density loss. Having weaker bones can put you at greater risk for spinal misalignments and back pain.
  • Previous habits. Sometimes, back pain resulting from weight loss is the manifestation of health problems resulting from previous unhealthy habits that contribute to structural weakening, like smoking. In addition, even if you were taking in too many calories before you started losing weight, it is possible that your diet was missing key minerals supporting bone health. As a result, when you lose weight, your body may have a harder time adapting to the changes, which can lead to pain.
  • Improper form when exercising. Just like eating a balanced diet, regular exercise is one of the most important aspects of your weight loss plan. But even if you’re burning calories with vigorous exercise, you may be putting yourself at risk for back pain if you are lifting weights, jogging, or even walking with improper form.

What to Do About Back Pain While Losing Weight

If you’re experiencing back pain while losing weight, there are a variety of things you can do to address the causes. For example, structural misalignments and other imbalances may be corrected with spinal manipulation therapy. Also, if you are exercising with improper form, a custom orthotic may be an appropriate solution. In cases where your diet is enabling weight loss but preventing you from getting the proper nutrition, you may want to consult with a health care professional about taking dietary supplements.

Atlanta Chiropractic and Wellness offers all of these services. Our chiropractors can help you come up with a balanced, integrative plan that supports weight loss and prevents back pain. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!

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