Do you experience back pain, knee pain and continually tell yourself you need to lose weight? When you’re trying to get control of your weight, there can be a lot of barriers that hinder your ability to either lose or maintain the desired weight. Those factors could include, time, back pain, knee pain or just pain in general or even embarrassment but for many people, the first hurdle is just knowing how to get started. There are many individuals and medical professionals that can help you in your journey towards a healthier lifestyle, including your doctor, a registered dietician, as well as your family and friends. Another medical professional who can partner with you in working towards your health goals is a licensed physical therapist. Physical therapists can help you develop a plan of care that is specifically designed to fit your needs including pain therapy due to weight related stresses or other factors.
It is said that many obese-related chronic diseases affect the health-related quality of life of obese individuals. Obese individuals’ physical functions are most commonly affected by orthopedic problems that impede joint mobility and interfere with gait and other activities of life such as climbing steps, lifting groceries and getting into and out of the bathtub. A study comparing obese/non-obese individuals demonstrated a 13-fold increase in the incidence of knee osteoarthritis (OA) among the heaviest subjects. Studies have also demonstrated that hip-joint replacement at younger ages is positively associated with body weight and hip contact stress. However it is noted that those individuals who lost between 10 and 12 pounds reported an improvement in knee pain and experienced improvement in their ability to perform daily activities including the ability to walk upstairs with more ease and quickly.
There are many health benefits that physical therapists attempt to address in order to assist in weight management. A few to consider are flexibility, strength, endurance and balance/coordination.
How many times have you been sitting on the couch watching TV and when you get up to go to the bathroom your legs and knees are stiff? Flexibility keeps the joints and muscles ready to move overcoming the stiffness that often is found in sedentary lifestyles. Flexibility also has a positive impact on having correct posture.
Are there times when you dread climbing stairs or have pain when lifting heavy objects or have difficulty getting out of a chair? Strength effectively helps you move against gravity and helps you be able to climb stairs, lift heavy objects or even get out of a chair.
Do your kids ask you to go outside and run around with them but after a few seconds you found yourself quickly out of breath? Endurance is a huge factor in maintaining a healthy heart and lungs giving you the ability to move quickly and for extended periods of time with sufficient energy.
Are you a klutz? Do you find yourself falling down regularly of losing your balance? Balance/Coordination helps prevent injury by avoiding the risk of falling. It is what allows you to step out on a curb, put on shoes or even walk on uneven surfaces without falling.
Physical therapy not only increases your flexibility, strength, endurance and balance; it also improves your mobility and motion. How does pain-free movement sound to you? Pain free-movement is critical to your everyday quality of life including your ability to make money, pursue leisure activities, run around with your kids or grandkids and much more. Movement is an important factor in physical activity and physical activity is crucial to preventing obesity. Being mobile and having the mobility to participate in many different physical activities is important for physical independence. Studies suggest that walking alone significantly reduces the risk of hip fractures, knee pain, heart attacks and stroke.
What is most important to know is that there is a place for you, and getting active and healthy is not about a cookie cutter approach. Working alongside a physical therapist can positively impact obese related aches and pains as they play a key role in promoting healthy lifestyles, wellness and injury prevention. At Oklahoma Physical Therapy our Physical Therapists routinely work with patients in designing treatment plans to meet the patient’s goals, challenges and needs. Doing physical activities that you can enjoy will help make you more consistent in sticking with them, and we at Oklahoma Physical Therapy would love to help you find ideas and techniques to assist you in your weight management.