Chronic Pain More Common in Obese Patients, Study Indicates
Aside from increased risk of diabetes, heart disease and your sister constantly asking if you tried that Jillian Michaels workout DVD yet, it seems obese patients have another potential consideration- more frequently feeling chronic pain.
A vast study including more than one million participants found a higher incidence of chronic pain in patients who are obese compared to those who are not, and the heaviest individuals studied reported the highest levels of chronic pain. The study, published in a January issue of the medical journal Obesity, found that issues like “lower back pain, tension-type or migraine headache, fibromyalgia, abdominal pain and chronic widespread pain” were found in higher numbers among the obese participants.
Data was culled from a Gallup poll done by phone between 2008 and 2010, and subjects were categorized by BMI as low to normal weight, overweight, obese I, obese II or obese III. Researchers found in a given time slot that overweight participants were found to be 20 percent more likely to report pain, with 68 percent reporting in the third group, 136 percent in the fourth group and and 254 percent in group five, which was obese III.
According to LiveScience, while chronic pain conditions were accounted for, they did not entirely explain away the link between obesity and chronic pain:
But those conditions didn’t account for all of the reasons for the pain-obesity link. The researchers statistically accounted for any musculoskeletal disease, which is often linked to obesity due to the extra strain on joints from the weight. “What we found is that the weight-pain link persisted, suggesting that there are other factors driving the association,” [researcher Joan] Broderick told LiveScience.
Depression, inflammation and genetics were all suggested as potential causes for higher rates of chronic pain linked to obesity.