When you see some someone who is overweight or morbidly obese, what is your first instinct? Sadly, many judge the individual or even fat shame them, and that includes healthcare professionals. It is never right to judge anyone in any situation. You don’t know individuals backstory unless they choose to share that information. Many individuals who are overweight may have an underlying medical condition that affects the endocrine system. 

The opening statement of this week’s blog is to remind people that judgmental behavior is not okay in any situation. We understand there are patients who can’t control their weight due to medical conditions. In this week’s blog, we will discuss how body weight can cause body aches and nerve interference and identify what we can do to help.

How Are Patients Classified as Overweight?

Whenever patients visit their primary care physicians, vitals are taken. Vitals include blood pressure, pulse, oxygen levels, respirations, temperature, height, and weight. When height and weight are recorded, the computer automatically calculates body mass index (BMI).

BMI determines an individual’s body fat percentage and includes a chart that identifies if the individual is within normal range, underweight, overweight, obese, or extremely obese. Let us be the first to say that BMI is not an accurate method to determine bodyweight classification.

Imagine a 6’3” 295 lb. male bodybuilder with 5% body fat. This man is muscular, and he works out 6 days a week for 60 minutes. His diet consists of healthy carbs, fats, and protein. He eats no processed foods and drinks large quantities of water every day.

If this man went to the doctor, his BMI would be calculated as obese. Nothing about this male is characteristically obese. Always remember that muscle weighs more than fat.

So, if BMI isn’t the best way to classify someone as overweight or obese, what is? The best way is consulting with patients about their physical activity and their dietary habits. Are they working out a few times a week or do they live a sedentary lifestyle? Are they consuming the appropriate foods and watching the calories they eat per day or are they consuming greasy foods and foods rich in toxic chemicals? 

If they are living an active lifestyle, eating healthy foods and are still overweight, there may be an underlying condition affecting the endocrine system. If they live a sedentary lifestyle and consume a poor diet, determining weight classification becomes accurate. 

How Does Bodyweight Affect the Body?

Other than medical complications associated with obesity such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, etc., think about how the body is affected structurally. There are two things we want to discuss how bodyweight affects the nervous system. 

First, let’s refer to our blog, “Toxic Treats & Pharmaceutical Follies.” The foods we eat and some drugs we take can become toxic to the body and affect the nervous system. If the body isn’t getting the appropriate amount of vitamins and minerals needed for proper function, the nervous system will steadily decline. For more information, check out the blog at www.drlarrywilkinsspinalcare.com.

Second, the toxic foods that we eat have no nutritional value and are high in sugar, sodium, or artificial flavors. Over time, constantly eating foods with no nutritional value likely will increase bodyweight. This occurs more rapidly with a sedentary lifestyle. 

Imagine lifting a large, heavy, unproportional box. Chances are lifting the imbalanced weight may be difficult to handle right? That is what the human spine and each vertebral disc deal with when they must sustain a heavier bodyweight.

The human spine is the protective hardcase to the nervous system. Each vertebral disc acts as a shock absorber and endures every movement the body makes. Increased bodyweight affects the curvature of the spine, forcing vertebral discs to take on more pressure, which can result in disc injuries.

Spinal curve changes and disc injuries negatively affect the nervous system. When spinal curves shift, it stretches nerve roots beyond their threshold and bones become misaligned. When a disc(s) is injured, disc fluid leaks and presses on nerve roots. To learn more about spinal curves and disc injuries refer to our 2023 blogs. There are many topics about spinal conditions and disc damage. 

What Can We Do to Help?

Although there are chiropractors who specialize in nutrition and physical fitness, at our facility, we don’t focus on that as much. However, we do recognize their importance. Our focus is re-educating the nervous system and removing nerve interference by providing routine spinal adjustments. In time, the pain will be gone, and internal organ function will be restored. 

Two other services that we provide in our facility are non-surgical spinal decompression and neuropathy management. It is common to see disc injuries in overweight or obese patients. Our non-surgical spinal decompression program helps patients avoid surgery and become pain-free.

One condition that the toxins we consume can cause is neuropathy. Neuropathy is a debilitating disease that has a poor management rate with drugs or surgery. Our neuropathy management program helps patients live the normal life that they thought they would never see again. 

Everything else is in the patients’ hands. Even though we don’t specialize in nutrition and physical fitness, that doesn’t mean we lack knowledge of proper nutrition and physical fitness. There is no need to go hardcore. Start simply and slowly work your way up. Start by modifying your diet. Cut out processed foods, junk food, and sugary drinks from your diet. Consume more vegetables, fruits, lean meats, healthy carbs, and healthy fats. Just changing your diet will show positive results. 

Once you have a nutrition routine down, start a light intensity workout routine. You don’t need to go to the gym every day for 2 hours. Working out 3-4 times a week for 60 minutes is perfect. Don’t just do cardio either. Work all muscle groups equally. Not only will you lose weight, but you will look leaner. 

Don’t be afraid to seek additional support either. We highly recommend a nutritionist. They will evaluate the foods you like and dislike and will be able to make an eating plan for you. If you think you would benefit from a personal trainer, go for it. They are relatively inexpensive and will help incorporate a better exercise routine. 

The bottom line is that we are not trying to shame anyone. We are reaching out as health professionals and are giving advice on how to be a better you in the 2024 calendar year. If you have any questions about weight management or the other services we offer, please feel free to call us at (724) 547-3377 and check out our website at www.drlarrywilkinsspinalcare.com for more blog content. 

Yours In Health,

Larry E. Wilkins, DCBrian M. Steinert, DC