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441 US 130,

East Windsor, NJ 08520

(609) 336-7518

09AM to 05PM EST

Can Weight Loss Cause Back Pain?

Are you tired of coping with persistent back pain? That makes you unable to do basic daily activities. 

If this is the scenario, you are not alone.

Back pain affects a wide audience worldwide, and one of its causing factors is weight loss. Are you wondering? “Can weight loss cause back pain?” Well! Weight loss takes center stage as a primary goal for many individuals. While losing weight has many advantages, it can also have unintended effects, such as back pain.

Back pain after weight loss is a matter of serious concern. As long term negligence can turn back pain into something more devastating. Therefore, if you ever notice back pain as a symptom of weight loss. You must visit a nearby weight loss management clinic to avoid severe consequences.

Today we will bring to light the reasons behind weight loss, back pain, its causes, and lifestyle adaptations you can make to get rid of it.

Enjoy Reading!

Understanding Weight Loss and Back Pain

Lower back pain and weight loss are two health factors that often coexist as people seek to lose weight. The change in their body mechanics affects back health. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, lower back pain has a worldwide prevalence of around 7.6-37%. It mostly affects people around the age of 45-60. In some cases, weight loss could be a cause of this pain.

Connection Between Weight Loss and Back Pain

Weight loss impacts the body’s alignment. This alignment change produces a major effect on your back. While you’re losing weight, the shape of your body suddenly changes. This change can disrupt posture and the alignment of the spine, causing back pain. Some of the major causes of back pain while weight loss include:

Connection Between Weight Loss and Back Pain

Muscle Loss and Back Pain

Exercising intensely, such as weight lifting, running, or other high-intensity activities, can put substantial pressure on your back muscles. During weight loss increased pressure is placed on the muscles. It can result in overexertion and microtears in the muscle fibers. Two important risk factors for muscle loss and back pain are:

  • Poor Spine Alignment: According to the National Spine Health Foundation. If your core muscles are fragile. They may have trouble supporting your spine adequately during these activities. The absence of stability results in poor spine alignment. This could raise the possibility of back pain.

  • Muscles Strain: Less intake of calories during weight loss makes your muscles weak. These weakened muscles can also be the cause of strain or discomfort in the back.

back pain while losing weight

Rapid Weight Loss

Coming to the point: Can weight loss cause back pain

Fast Shedding pounds might cause backache due to several related reasons. Some of them include:

  • Lean Tissue Reduction: Rapid weight reduction causes the loss of body fat and lean tissues. The lean tissues provide support and stability to the body. Loss of lean tissue could compromise the integrity of the spine, causing back pain.

  • Variations in Body Mechanics: Losing a considerable amount of weight shifts your body’s center of gravity. This alteration may alter your body’s movements. It can put extra stress on your back, causing aches.

Rapid Weight Loss


Weight loss involves calorie deficits and physical activity. If you don’t maintain proper fluid balance dehydration can occur in the body. Here’s how dehydration can impact backaches during weight loss:

  • Joint Lubrication: Dehydration in the body can affect the synovial fluid in the spine. Inadequate synovial fluid can cause increased friction and discomfort in the back area.

  • Muscle Tremors: Loss of hydration may provoke muscle cramps and spasms, particularly when exercising. This involuntary muscle tremor may strain the back muscles worsening the pain.

  • Limited Mineral Distribution: Water is necessary for nutrient delivery throughout the body. Dehydration can impair nutritional supply to spinal tissues which harms the body and causes back discomfort.

how dehydration can impact backaches during weight loss

Nutritional Considerations

Malnutrition has a significant role in back pain while losing weight. Some of the major causes include:

  • An Absence of Vital Minerals: It is extremely important to maintain a balanced diet during weight loss. The lack of certain minerals like calcium, vitamin D, and magnesium can weaken bones leading to bone diseases that contribute to back pain.

  • Low Disc Cushioning: Good nutrition supports the health of the intervertebral disc. This disc acts as a shock absorber between the vertebrae. Malnutrition may reduce the strength of this disc, leading to back pain.

  • Inflammation: Insufficient food intake and malnutrition can contribute to systemic inflammation in the body. This chronic inflammation may aggravate back pain, leading to arthritis further affecting the spine.

  • Energy Levels and Posture: A poor diet during weight loss can cause fatigue and muscle weakness. This muscle weakness greatly influences your posture. Moreover, poor posture puts further stress on the back muscles which can cause back pain.

Can Weight Loss Cause Back Pain

Impact of Exercise

More than the required physical activity may disrupt muscles and ligaments. As a result, the alignment of your lower back changes. This change can cause back pain. The factors involved in causing back pain are:

  • Heaving Training: Overtraining your body without giving much time for recovery and rest places undue strain on the muscles. It can hurt back muscles, resulting in pain and even injury.

  • Muscle Imbalance: Focusing on one group of muscles while exercising may cause muscle imbalance. The overwork of one muscle and no work of the other puts the back under pressure, causing back pain.

Improper Warm-Up Before Exercise: Skipping warm-up exercises can raise the risk of back pain and damage to other body parts during exercise.

lower back pain from weight loss

Underlying Conditions

Sometimes, back pain occurs due to an underlying condition that is already present in the body. Identifying these conditions makes it easy to distinguish the actual cause of back pain.  Some of the common underlying conditions associated with back pain are:

  • Herniated Disc: In some circumstances, losing weight causes complicated disc herniation. It destroys the outer layer of the disc. This destruction puts pressure on the interior sticky material. Which can lead to back pain.

  • Physiological Factors: Sudden weight loss can cause stress and anxiety. It may manifest as a symptom such as back pain. Stress increases muscle tension in the spine. It may result in back and neck pain.

  • Osteoporosis: In the journey of weight loss, bone disorders like osteoporosis occur. It decreases bone density. This decreased density puts pressure on the spine. Which gives rise to back pain.

Back Pain after Losing Weight

Can Weight Loss Cause Back Pain?

Yes, in some circumstances reducing weight can cause back pain. When a person loses a substantial amount of weight quickly. The body’s alignment and posture can shift. It puts extra strain on the back muscles and spine. The strain can trigger back pain. Furthermore, losing weight may result in decreased mass and support around the spine. It makes the back more prone to discomfort and pain. Additionally, rapid weight can cause malnutrition and bone weakness, which further damage the back. To manage the risk of back pain after losing weight, maintain a balanced approach to weight loss including good nutrition and activity.

Lifestyle Changes to Cure Back Pain

Till now you have got the answer: Can Weight loss cause back pain?

Maintaining a healthy way of living goes beyond weight loss. It has a major impact on overall well-being, including back pain management. Here are some fundamental lifestyle modifications that can be beneficial to treat hip and back pain after losing weight:

  • Sustain a Nutritious Diet: A balanced diet provides your body with the nutrients it demands which is beneficial to maintain spinal health. Incorporate a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats in your dietary regime. Hydration is also necessary for joint and spinal health.

  • Physical Activity: Staying physically active keeps your muscles strong. It also increases flexibility and supports a healthy spine. Involving in low-impact exercises such as yoga, and swimming can minimize the risk of lower back pain from weight loss.

  • Lifting Techniques: Using proper lifting techniques while handling heavy weights may help to reduce strain in the back.

  • Adjust Your Posture:  According to Harvard Health, poor posture can lead to back pain. Hence, maintain good posture while sitting, standing or even lying down. The use of ergonomic furniture may also promote neutral spine positions.

  • Quit Tobacco Use: Smoking may hinder blood circulation and restrict oxygen delivery to the spine. It may potentially cause back and hip pain after weight loss. Avoiding it is good for spinal health.

Diagnosis of Back Pain after Losing Weight

In the case of back pain with weight loss, you should seek medical assistance right away. According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, the following are the best diagnostic methods to know the cause of back pain while losing weight:

  • Physical Examination: A Physician will examine your back to rule out any potential problems.

  • Neurological Assessment: EMG and nerve conduction investigations can be used to check nerve function and identify nerve-related issues.

  • Diagnostic Imaging: An X-ray, MRI, or CT scan of the back can aid in the elimination of underlying causes of back pain such as inflammation or infection.

  • Final Diagnosis: The outcomes of all the diagnostic techniques are thoroughly analyzed to validate a diagnosis.

When to Seek Professional Guidance

It is advised to consult a healthcare professional before starting any weight loss program, especially if you’re experiencing back pain. At Prime Health of New Jersey, we offer customized guidance to our patients related to their health concerns. It is our utmost preference to adopt safe and effective methods for our patients to manage their back pain. While meeting their weight loss goals.


Key Takeaways

  • Can weight loss cause back pain? Yes, losing weight can cause back pain in some cases. But mostly, back pain is not a symptom related to weight loss.
  • Sudden weight loss puts extra stress on the spine, which can worsen back pain.
  • Engaging yourself in low-impact exercises can reduce back pain, while still promoting weight loss and overall health.
  • Having a balanced diet, refraining from prolonged sitting, and proper hydration are keys to managing back pain symptoms while losing weight.
  • In cases of persistent back pain, consulting an expert healthcare advisor can be helpful.


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Dr. Farhan Malik Primary Care Physician
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