Osteoarthritis & Body Fat: what's the real story?

It’s been believed for some time that being overweight is no good for a whole range of different aspects of health. In fact it’s pretty common for people with joint pain to despair over the prospect that if only they lost a little weight things might not hurt so much, but is this true?

The leading contributor to joint pain – Osteoarthritis – is usually described as the process of wear and tear joints go through away under the burden of everyday life. In fact, theres a pretty significant belief within society that heavy impact on the body is likely to hurt or at least contribute to harm in the future. If that were so it would be reasonable to expect that the heavier you are, the more wear and tear there’s likely to be. The good news is the latest science is telling us this isn’t the case.

The more we learn about osteoarthritis the more we find that damage to our joints, the kind that results in osteoarthritis, is caused by inflammation and not from impact. It’s been identified that fatty adipose tissue, the kind that gives you a gut, is not in fact just an inert storage of excess energy but in fact has the capacity to act like an organ all of it’s own and helps perpetuate inflammatory processes. So that means you can be overweight and inactive, leading a sedentary life - even in order to protect yourself against physical stress - and still have a significant risk of osteoarthritis, life can be cruel right?

But wait, there is a trustworthy solution! Whilst unabated obesity can put you at high risk of osteoarthritis, along with a whole bunch of other health problems, losing weight alone is not the only fix. In fact diet-only weight loss has been shown to have an inferior effect on inflammation and only diet and exercise combined has been proven to be the most effective treatment strategy. And if you do lose weight, the good news is that losing an amount around 10% of your body mass can provide very impressive reductions in pain.

So if you’re looking to combat osteoarthritis, either preventatively or as a treatment strategy for your pain, the best person to seek is an experienced health professional who can prescribe you the right advice to get your body on track to being better. It’s never too late, every body adapts, you just need to start.