Chiropractic care to keep you fit, active and healthy


What extra weight does to our body

| By Dr Debbie Tan (Chiropractor)



Do you have a few extra kilograms on your body? Well here’s something you may want to consider.

There is a key difference in seeing being overweight as an appearance issue, and seeing being overweight as a medical issue. Having excess body weight has been linked to several different types of health conditions. They include having an increased risk of diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, certain cancers, hypertension and joint diseases such as osteoarthritis.1,2 It can also cause problems with breathing and sleeping.3,4 In addition, having excess body weight may also negatively impact on a person’s emotional wellbeing.5

A few kilograms isn’t going to cause harm, but will slightly increase your risk of certain diseases. The more we have on in excess, the higher the risk.

What we are going to focus today is on the impact the extra weight does to our body on a musculoskeletal level – the muscles, ligaments, joints, bones and nerves.

Let’s talk about the impact excessive weight does to our joints, for example – the knee. Very common we have people come into our office with knee pain. When a person is overweight, the knee pain is likely to have a longer time in recovery due to the force from the excess weight. Harvard University6 stated that “When you walk across level ground, the force on your knees is the equivalent of 1½ times your body weight. That means a 200-pound (90kg) man will put 300 pounds (136kg) of pressure on his knees with each step. Add an incline and the force is greater. The force on each knee is two to three times your body weight when you go up and down stairs, and four to five times your body weight when you squat to tie a shoelace or pick up an item you dropped.” Therefore, it is not surprising that, cases where patients suffer from osteoarthritis due to excessive weight translated to the muscles and joints, commonly occur.2

The above Harvard article6 also states: “There are two ways that being overweight raises your risk for developing osteoarthritis (the most common joint disorder, which is due to wear and tear on a joint). First, excess weight puts additional stress on weight-bearing joints (the knee, for example). Second, inflammatory factors associated with weight gain might contribute to trouble in other joints (for example, the hands).”

But have hope, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. A study that was done showed that a 5.1 kg decrease in weight over a period of 10 years decreased the probability of females developing symptomatic knee osteoarthritis by 50 %. Weight loss can be achieved through a low-calorie diet. However, exercise is also needed to improve movement, physical function pain and quality of life.7

If you are having joint pain and are looking to get started on your health journey, please contact us on the links above or contact your allied health professional.

  1. Gregory CO, Blanck HM, Gillespie C, Maynard LM, Serdula MK. Perceived health risk of excess body weight among overweight and obese men and women: Differences by sex. Prev Ned. 2008;47(1):46-52. doi:10.1016/j.ypmed.2008.01.008
  2. Wluka AE, Lombard CB, Cicuttini FM. Tackling obesity in knee osteoarthritis. Nat Rev Rheumatol. 2013;2012;9(4):225-35. doi:
  3. Piper AJ, Grunstein RR. Obesity hypoventilation syndrome: Mechanisms and management. Am J Respir Crit Care Med [serial online]. 2011 [2016 Jul 29];183(3):292-8. Available from: ProQuest.
  4. De Sousa, A. G. P, Cercato C, Mancini MC, Halpern A. Obesity and obstructive sleep apnea‐hypopnea syndrome. Obes Rev. 2008;9(4):340-54.doi: 10.1111/j.1467-789X.2008.00478.x
  5. Gall K, van Zutven K, Lindstrom J, Bentley C, Gratwick‐Sarll K, Harrison C, et al. Obesity and emotional well‐being in adolescents: Roles of body dissatisfaction, loss of control eating, and self‐rated health. Obes. 2016;24(4):837-42. doi: 10.1002/oby.21428
  6. Why weight matters when it comes to joint pain. Harvard Health Publications [article on the Internet]. Harvard Medical School; 2015 [2016 Jul 29]. Available from:
  7. Bliddal H, Leeds AR, Christensen R. Osteoarthritis, obesity and weight loss: evidence, hypotheses and horizons – a scoping review: Osteoarthritis, obesity and weight loss. Obes Rev. 2014;15(7):578-86. doi: 10.1111/obr.12173

Disclaimer: This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should contact your own physician or other qualified health can provider with any questions you may have regarding your condition. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking it based on information from this content. Relying on information provided by this content is done at your own risk. Although the authors have made every effort to provide the most up-to-date evidence-based health information, this content should not necessarily be considered the standard of care and may not reflect individual practices in other geographic locations.

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