Osteoarthritis and joint pain usually go hand-in-hand with aging. Just as your skin begins to break down with time, so does the protective cartilage and other tissues, such as the bursa in your joints. But other factors are involved in joint pain, including how much stress you put on your joints. The heavier you are, the more stress your joints must bear.
In fact, one study found that more than 90% of morbidly obese women and men had joint pain. Osteoarthritis affected the knee in 63.1% of those patients, while the hip was involved in 40.8%.
If you have joint pain, our team of providers at Modern Wellness Clinic in Las Vegas, Nevada, takes time to identify all of the factors that are involved in your discomfort so that you can get relief. If you’re overweight or obese, we help with a medically supervised weight loss program. Following is information on how and why your body-mass index (BMI) affects your joints.
The extra stress of extra pounds
About 32 million people in the United States have wear-and-tear related osteoarthritis, while another 1.5 million have the autoimmune disease rheumatoid arthritis.You're more likely to develop osteoarthritis if you're overweight. Carrying extra pounds can worsen both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
It doesn’t take much weight to stress your joints, either. That's because gravity and even the way you hold your body compounds the effect of your weight.
For instance, if you’re just 5-10 pounds overweight, every time you stand up or walk, gravity alone quadruples that weight to 20-40 pounds. If you hold your body at an angle, that could put even more stress on your joints.
Fatty tissue creates inflammation
It’s not just the stress of extra pounds that wears down your joints. Adipose tissue (i.e., fat) releases proinflammatory factors such as interleukin (IL)-6 , tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), and macrophage chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1). Inflammation in your body spreads to the tissues in your joints and breaks them down.
Cartilage doesn’t regenerate itself, so it’s important to protect it while you have it — no matter how little or how much there is. Losing that extra fat helps turn down the inflammation and protect your joints.
Obesity makes you slower
Another problem with being obese is that you’re carrying so much extra weight that it’s hard to be active enough to lose it. In fact, if you try to lose it on your own, you may get so discouraged that you stop.
Our team works with you at your current fitness level to help you gradually add in more and more activity as you become stronger and your weight lessens. If movement is hard for you at the moment, you may benefit from simple activities such as:
- Chair yoga
Swimming has the added benefit of allowing your joints to move and lubricate themselves without stress. The water makes your body buoyant so you can move freely and easily.
Losing weight helps your joints
Just as carrying extra pounds stresses your joints, losing that weight lessens the stress. Remember how gravity turns your 10 pounds of excess weight into 40, or your 50 extra pounds into 200? Losing 10 pounds means you take 40 pounds of stress off your joints. Losing 50 pounds takes 200 pounds off your joints.
The less fatty tissue you have, the fewer proinflammatory factors you produce so that your joints remain healthy for as long as possible. And, of course, once you “lighten up,” it becomes easier and easier to become more active, shed the pounds more quickly, and give your joints a break.
Is obesity one of the factors in your joint pain? Find out why your joints ache and get the customized care you need, including weight loss and lifestyle tips and guidance. Contact our office by phone at 702-463-9159 today or use our online booking form.