Childhood Obesity Leading to More Back Pain.

Childhood obesity is a growing problem in our country and around the globe.  Diabetes, heart disease, metabolic syndrome and now back pain are linked to childhood obesity.

A study presented in November 2009 at the Radiological Society of North America shows that researchers have been able to to demonstrate a link between an increased body mass index (BMI) for children and disc changes in the lower back.  According to Dr. Judah Burns, the study’s primary author, “We observed a trend toward increased spine abnormality with higher BMI.  These results demonstrate a strong relationship between increased BMI in the pediatric population and the incidence of lumbar disc disease.”

In the study children who had experienced back trauma or similar injuries that could cause back pain were removed so as to provide a more direct link to obesity being a the determining factor for disc deterioration.

As a provider I can say this is something we are seeing on a day to day basis.   When in Chiropractic school we were told that disc degeneration generally started happening in peoples late thirties and beyond.   Personally I have seen signs in many patients of disc degeneration well below the age of 30 and even in some under the age of 20.

Increased weight especially in the stomach region causes more extension in the spine thus putting more pressure on our discs and vertebrae to support our weight.   This in turn causes faster degeneration of the spine.   Whether adult or child reaching a healthy BMI is essential in treating for low back pain along with chiropractic care.


Burns J, Erdfarb AJ, Schneider J, Ginsburg D, Taragin B., and Lipton ML. Radiological Society of North America. “Overweight Children May Develop Back Pain and Spinal Abnormalities.” Science Daily

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