Roughly 1 in 7 Americans has diabetes, a disease that can affect every part of the body, even the spine. In fact, there’s new research from an Australian study suggesting people with diabetes are more likely to develop both back and neck pain than individuals who don’t have insulin and/or blood sugar regulation issues. While a definite link between diabetes and back pain wasn’t found, the results do provide an incentive to take steps to protect yourself against diabetes-related back pain. If you’re experiencing severe or long-lasting back pain you suspect may be related to diabetes, make sure to see your physician or a Beverly Hills spine surgeon for an accurate diagnosis and treatment.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Weight is a factor in both back pain and diabetes—more specifically, type 2 diabetes, the most common form of diabetes. Make an effort to stay or get within your normal weight range. Excess weight can also contribute to issues with back pain and diabetes by:
- Affecting circulation
- Reducing motivation to be more active
- Elevating blood pressure—lower back pain has been linked to high blood pressure, and elevated blood pressure can also affect blood sugar regulation
Get Regular Exercise
Exercise in all its various forms can increase your spine’s flexibility and take pressure off your spine if you pay attention to posture and form as you bike, swim, walk, or work out. Exercise also keeps your blood flowing and your weight in check, which are two things that can prevent diabetes.
Follow a Healthy Diet
Another factor diabetes and back pain have in common is the impact of the foods you eat. Ideally, you should strive for a diet that’s a healthy mix of fruits, veggies, lean proteins, low-fat dairy products, and nutritious snacks. You’ll also want to avoid excessively sugary foods, processed foods, and unhealthy or excessive fats and carbohydrates.
Avoid Bad Habits
Bad habits can affect all aspects of your health, so it should come as no surprise that certain habits are best avoided if you want to protect yourself against both diabetes and back pain. Some of the worst habits to avoid include:
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Smoking—cigarette smoke has chemicals that can affect circulation in and around the spine, and smokers are 30–40 percent more likely to develop type 2 diabetes
- Prolonged sitting
- Poor posture
See Your Doctor Regularly
Even if you don’t have diabetes or back pain right now, it’s always good to visit your doctor on a regular basis so any issues can be detected and addressed early. Keep in mind it’s entirely possible to have diabetes and certain spine-related problems without having noticeable discomfort or symptoms.
As for the results from the study, researchers discovered that individuals with diabetes who were evaluated were 35 percent more likely to have issues with lower back pain, and they were nearly 25 percent more likely have neck-related discomfort. Because both diabetes and back pain are common, it’s important to be proactive about maintaining optimal health in general, which means doing your best to adopt and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
If you’re experiencing severe back pain or you have any other questions or concerns about your spinal health, the pioneering professionals at The Spine Institute are here to help. Our spine experts are industry leaders in every aspect of spine care, including prevention, non-surgical treatment, and state-of-the-art surgical techniques such as spinal fusion alternatives. Beverly Hills residents are encouraged to call one of our friendly representatives today at 310-828-7757 to schedule a consultation.