Yo-Yo Dieting Might Be Causing Your Lower Back Pain
Are you always trying out a new diet fad? Are you initially successful at dropping weight while on those diets, only to find those pounds back on your body a few months down the road? You may already know that this pattern of behavior is called yo-yo dieting, and that it can have negative psychological effects on your body, and boost your risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and gallbladder disease; but did you know that it can also cause lower back pain?
If you yo-yo diet and you've been experiencing back pain, read on to learn about diastasis recti.
What Is Diastasis Recti?
Diastasis recti is a condition in which the abdominal muscles separate due to a thinning of the linea alba. The linea alba is the tissue that connects the abdominal muscles together; if you think of your abs as a six pack, the linea alba would be the plastic band that holds all the cans in place.
This separation happens when pressure builds up behind the abdominal muscles, making it a common complication for women during pregnancy, but also a problem often seen in the body building community, as well as in people who repeatedly lose and regain weight.
How Does It Cause Back Pain?
Your abdominal muscles help to stabilize your trunk and spine. When their surrounding connective tissue weakens and they separate, their strength is compromised. And when your abdominal muscles aren't working to their fullest potential, you face posture problems that put a lot of strain on your lower back and spine.
How Do You Know If You Have Diastasis Recti?
If you're already experiencing back pain, make an appointment with a back pain specialist. They'll run ultrasonic imaging tests to determine if diastasis recti is the cause of your discomfort. In the meantime, you can perform a quick at-home check that is usually a good indicator of whether or not your abs have separated.
Separated abdominal muscles often bulge out at the center of the belly when put under strain. Lay down flat on your back and lift your head and shoulders slightly off the floor while examining your stomach. If you see a football-shaped bulge around your bellybutton region, you likely have diastasis recti.
How Is Diastasis Recti Treated?
Diastasis recti usually resolves itself over time, so there's a good possibility that the only care you'll need will be pain management and exercise instruction from your back pain specialist. If your condition doesn't improve, however, or if your back pain is accompanied by gas or bloating, your back pain specialist may request that you see your primary care doctor to rule out the possibility of a hernia.
Preventing Future Problems
Once your back pain is under control, it's important that you make efforts to stop weight cycling. Instead of fad dieting, try to make healthy lifestyle changes that will result in a slow and steady, permanent weight loss.
Do continue to exercise, but focus on routines that work the deep core muscles of your lower back as opposed to your outer abdominal muscles. Check with your back pain specialist for a list of deep core strengthening exercises that won't aggravate already-stressed muscles.
If you're a frequent dieter who has lost and gained weight several times, there's a good chance that your dieting is causing your lower back pain. In time, this condition will likely heal itself, but you can visit a back pain specialist like Hand & Orthopedic Rehabilitation Specialists to help ease your discomfort while your muscles recover. Above all, though, work on a healthier method of weight loss to prevent your diastasis recti from worsening or happening again after recovery.