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back pain

I've always been a big chested girl. During my weight loss I have gone from a 38DD to a 36D. My back didn't really bother me much before my weight loss. My exercise routine isn't any more strenuous now than it was before I started dieting. I have lost several inches around my waist. Is it possible that the weight loss around my middle is making my back hurt because there's not as much around my middle to act as support? Has anybody else experienced anything like this? Any suggestions?

Wed. Apr 12, 11:24am

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Fat doesn't support anything - muscles do. It could be that exercising has over strengthened one muscle group causing imbalance that in most cases causes back pain. If you have overdeveloped lower back muscles - do abs, if you have overdeveloped upper back - do chest (and vice versa).

Wednesday, April 12, 2006, 11:38 AM

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Yes, muscle imbalance sounds likely. If changing your workout routine does not help, a certified trainer or physical therapist may be able to help you discern what is happening.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006, 1:49 PM

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Make sure you monitor the back pain. If it persists, you may want to have a doctor check it out to make sure you haven't injured anything!

Wednesday, April 12, 2006, 4:02 PM

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Just brainstorming here... I wonder if you could buy a day pass to a gym with a certified trainer, let him/her watch your routine, and get some low-cost guidance as to whether you need professional treatment or just a change in your workout.

Thursday, April 13, 2006, 9:56 AM

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to the op: i share a similar problem. what did you find out about the likely cause of your back pain?

Thursday, August 03, 2006, 11:20 AM

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OP here

I didn't go to a doctor, but I did start doing some things at home. I was mostly doing cardio, but not much strength training. I started doing exercise to strengthen my core.

I also try to pay more attention to my posture. I'm horrible about slouching all the time! Since I've been making an effort to sit and stand up straight, it seems to help. There are still days when it hurts, but nothing like it did before. I really think the posture thing is what gets me the most!

Saturday, August 05, 2006, 3:13 PM

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I'm not a doctor, but as a 40DD massage therapist with a 17-year history of back problems in most parts of my back, I've tried a LOT of things - traditional, alternative, preventative, etc. Here's a quick rundown of a few:

Swimming the backstroke & Core training - best forms of prevention

Strength training - another great preventative option. Like the 11:38 poster said, make sure you work the opposite muscles. My idiot chiropractor advised me to do 1000 crunches a day...turns out he never thought I would do that, but I did. And my stomach got so much stronger than my back that my hips got all wonky, resulting in sciatica.

Chiropractor - best choice if you get sharp, shooting pains out towards your limbs, but get a recommendation for one who doesn't try to harvest you for repeat appointments for the rest of your life; most effective if you get a massage immediately beforehand

Thai massage - kind of like getting that massage, with stretches that are similar to the stuff chiropractors do.

Private Pilates - can correct minor problems before they become major

Acupuncture - if the pain is from a muscular or arthritic source, then it could work for you. If it's structural (vertebrae out of place), then it will be useless.

New sports bra - highly recommend the Enell because it does a phenomenal job of taking the weight of your breasts off your shoulders, where most bras put it.

Yoga - for some, it's like medicine for their backs. You can even get DVDs called "Yoga for a Healthy Back" or something like that.

Saturday, August 05, 2006, 3:54 PM

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I am a petite girl - 5'0 with a size 32D. I have always suffered with a stiff neck and back problems. I recently went to a physical therapist and that helped a lot. I would never have thought to go to one until a friend suggested it.
I went to physical therapy for 2-3 months and things have definitely improved. Part of it was posture related and part of it was that my back muscles were underdeveloped. I have an hmo and the physical therapy was covered under my plan with a small co-pay
Even though your problem sounds like it is improving, it never hurts to get it checked out so that in the future things don't get worse.

Saturday, August 05, 2006, 3:54 PM

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Your abdomen is your core. Strengthening your abs will help with your whole body. Concentrate on holding in your stomach when you're exercising, sitting, driving, walking sitting...
I'm very encouraged that you've lost a couple of bra sizes, since I'm hoping to do the same. If you're finding you're having spasms, call your doctor. Many muscle relaxants are non-habit forming and can get you through this temporary problem!
And that's my two cents!

Saturday, August 05, 2006, 4:48 PM

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I've been through this, too...

This happened to me too and the back pain, for whatever reason, didn't flare up until AFTER I'd already lost a bunch of weight (70+ pounds - you would think pain would disappear!?). My doctor says that years and years of damage can flare up anytime (and won't be un-done quickly) and so she wasn't surprised that this presented after a major weight loss. Our bodies change. I ended up having a breast reduction surgery after working with my doctor for a couple of years on this, and doing physical therapy. I still need PT once in a while, but not 2x per week like I used to. (And I'm much happier after surgery, but that is a very personal decision of course.) Here's my advice:

Talk to your doctor.

Get a GOOD physical therapist. My strategy: find out who the local sports teams use and go there. My guys work with the Red Sox, Bruins and other athletes.

Once the source of pain is identified your PT will show you all the exercises to do. For me I was a 34H (buying European bras on - which I highly recommend), and I'm an avid cyclist and I ended up with a strained trapezius and also mid-back pain from bad posture at work. The exercises that I do 3x per week to maintain my strength:
standing rows
weighted shrugs
abs & obliques (strong abs support your low back)

For me, yoga was more effective than pilates. I prefer to do weighted ab exercises than pilates classes (plus my PT wasn't keen on pilates for me at the time because the way you do the exercises wasn't helping my particular injury.)

Sunday, August 06, 2006, 8:36 AM

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Sounds like you might need to stretch out your hamstrings, when they are tight they can pull on your back and make your back tight, seriously, try stretching your lag and hamstring muscles regularly and you'll notice a difference.

Sunday, August 06, 2006, 9:07 AM

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I went from a 38DDD to 36D and noticed I developed pain in my mid back. I was informed by massage therapists and a chiropractor that since I lost that much body mass, my center of gravity changed and I then began to use muscles I hadn't really used before just to stand erect. This line of thinking goes along with some of the other posters I have worked on my back with strength training and the pain is gone. Good luck.

Sunday, August 06, 2006, 9:17 AM

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Also, be sure to rotate or flip your mattress every 6 months. I was starting to have some mid-back pain and was blaming it on my workout until I rolled over in bed one night and realized that my back was all out of alignment when I was lying on my side (how I normally sleep) because my hips were sinking into the mattress. Even a really good mattress will develop dents after a while, but rotating/flipping your mattress evens out the wear and makes your mattress last longer.

Sunday, August 06, 2006, 9:24 PM

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