ARTICLE: How Weight Loss Can Help With Pain Management





When patients and their doctors talk about pain relief strategies, one area often gets overlooked: weight management. While working on a weight management plan likely won’t offer instant relief, research seems to indicate there is a strong connection between carrying extra pounds and how much we hurt – and even modest weight loss can help turn things around.

If your doctor has never mentioned this to you, it may be because doctors often feel uncomfortable talking about weight in the exam room, especially when the visit is focused on a pain problem. Talking about body weight is often a delicate topic, and physicians may steer clear of the subject out of fear of hurting a patient’s feelings or coming across as insensitive. I know that I feel more comfortable discussing issues around weight when my patients bring it up first. And, starting a conversation about weight loss when a patient comes to you for help with their pain can give someone the impression that you are discounting the severity of their pain problem, overlooking other relevant factors contributing to the pain, or are somehow blaming them for having the problem, when none of these issues could be further from the truth. So, this can be a sensitive topic. A positive doctor-patient relationship, with a high level of trust, is often needed to get the ball rolling.