Obesity causes Pain

Bio-mechanical relation of normal body weight, obesity and pain


It is an uncomfortable feeling or sense (perception) which indicates that something is wrong in the body.


 It is a symptom of poor nutrition. Obesity is a state in which there is generalized accumulation of excess fat in the body leading to a body weight of more than 20% of required weight.

Obese v/s Normal 

Obesity has become one of the greatest problems of this world today. Since 1980 15% of the population were`obese; by the year 2000 that number jumped to 27% i.e.; 77 million clinically obese !
According to World Health Organization (WHO) report, at least 17% of male and 15% of female in India is obese. Those numbers have increased 10% in just past 4 years and still growing at beyond epidemic rate. 61% people of U.S is overweight and that number, too has doubled since 1980.

Now, how you come to know whether you are an Obese or not?

The scientific basis of obesity measurement is expressed in terms of Body Mass Index (BMI).
This is calculated in the following way :

BMI = Weight in Kg/(Height in meters)2
The BMI has to be compared with the following ranges :
Underweight –                                                      below 20 score
Normal           –                                                          20 – 25 score
Overweight = Grade I –                                            25 – 30 score
Obese = Grade II –                                                    30 – 40 score
Very overweight = Grade III –                               over 40 score

Typically someone who is obese also suffers from fatigue & arthritis. Excess weight can strain the joints, leading to osteoarthritis, especially in the hips and knees. So obesity can mainly cause low back pain, Knee pain and ankle sprain.

Here is the mechanism (Bio-mechanical aspect) to describe how obesity can cause pain :

The Center of Gravity (COG) of the human body is the balancing, equilibrium or pivoting point of the body. In the anatomical position it is located anterior to the second sacral vertebra.

           Center of Gravity & Line of Gravity
Center of Gravity & Line of Gravity

The Line of Gravity & distribution of body weight

The Line of Gravity (LOG) of the body is an imaginary vertical line passing through the center of gravity. The line passes behind the Cervical vertebrae, in front of the Thoracic vertebrae, behind the Lumbar vertebrae, behind the Hip joint, in front of the Knee joint, one to two inches in front of the Ankle joint. It helps define proper body alignment and posture using various superficial landmarks. 
 The upper body weight then transfers from Hip joint to Femur, Knee joint and Tibia to the Ankle joint. Here the Arch of the Foot again divide the body weight in 2 equal halves, anterior part and posterior part.
Now, anteriorly the weight goes to the Phalanges and get divided into 6 parts, i.e. 4 phalanges, 1 great toe and 1 Sesamoid bone at the base of the great toe. So each of them carries 1/24 of the total body weight. Therefore when a person becomes obese, the weight increases mostly in the frontal half of the body.
 This fact explains the displacement of the center of gravity and the line of gravity of a person leading to abnormal posture. Hence obesity leads to undersigned and mandatory abnormal weight bearing over all the weight bearing joints which will surely make you suffer with pain sooner or later.

How to manage Obesity and treat Pain

Obesity is generally a genetic condition but it can be prevented by doing regular exercise, a proper diet plan and daily life modification whereas physiotherapy intervention are needed to control pain.

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