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AIBU to ask GP for help with back problem in spite of my weight?

22 replies

Campaspe · 22/05/2013 11:50

I am 5'8" and weigh 13.5 stones. I am obviously overweight and am a size 16to 18. For the last 5 years I have had lower back pain that makes bending difficult but does not prevent me from moving about.

I have consulted an osteopath in the past, but not gone to my GP, partly out of fear I would be dismissed due to being fat, and partly because I'm not sure they will do anything.

Over the last year, my back pain has increased. At times, the base of my spine is tender to the touch, but my main problem is stiffness when in bed. If I lie in one position for more than an hour or ago, moving becomes so painful that it wakes me up. Sneezing and striping of kerbs also hurts!

At 39, this isn't great. Is it worth seeing my GP, or will just be dismissed with a lecture?

OP posts:

Picturepuncture · 22/05/2013 11:53

Go to the doctor. I can't believe you have to ask. Of course you should get the medical help you need.


valiumredhead · 22/05/2013 11:54

Did you have no help from the osteopath?

Personally I would ask to be referred to a physio or if funds allow make an appt myself.


Pootles2010 · 22/05/2013 11:54

Oh gosh go to your GP! I guess there is a chance they'll mention it, but surely thats better than back pain?

I'm sure they'll be nice about it, and sensible - I wouldn't say size 16 is that overweight because I'm that size too


WorraLiberty · 22/05/2013 11:56

I'd go and see the doc if I were you.

Do you intend to lose any weight, just out of interest?


DiscoDonkey · 22/05/2013 12:00

Go to the dr, there is obviously a good chance that you are going to be told that losing weight should be a course of action to help your back but there may well be other issues he can treat.

Obviously if you choose not to loose weight that's fine and I know it's not that easy but realistically it could be contributing to your pain.


lola88 · 22/05/2013 12:01

Go to the doctor but lose weight too I have had back problems for years I recently joined weight watchers and have lost a stone so far which has helped my back so much. I am 5'2 and was 12st 6lbs and a size 16 so more or less your size when you take the height diff into account, you will feel so much better for it in general.

I wouldn't have believed how much it could help but it did I've tried all the physio and pain killers around but nothing worked like the weight loss has


HeySoulSister · 22/05/2013 12:02

how are you bending?

also,i lost weight,lost my back pain too....this might only be a stone or so you know. we owe it to ourselves to lose weight if it is interfering with our everyday lives....its our responsibility


yoshipoppet · 22/05/2013 12:05

I had similar pain to you and went to my GP. He couldn't have been more helpful and sent me off for physio which (over time) really helped. he never mentioned my weight, just talked about treatment.


Slurpling · 22/05/2013 12:06

erm you are not that overweight for your height. go to GP, how can you exercise properly anyway with a bad back?! swimming might be an idea in the meantime.


MisForMumNotMaid · 22/05/2013 12:06

Go to your GP. I'm 39 soon and in my 20's, whilst sober, I had a silly accident were i tripped over at home sort of slid sideways down a wall caught the top of my spine on the corner of a radiator, bounced off it and then caught my shoulder on a chair. I was very bruised and given painkillers at A & E. Once the bruising and swelling subsided I was left with lower back pain. I left it and left it . I went to my GP got more painkillers, got refered to a phsio who didn't do much, went to an oesteopath who was fantastic but told me I needed to rest and get off the painkillers so I could hear my body. I also went to a private consultant to assess the damage.

Long and short is by not listening to my body I've damaged it.

I ended up in a wheelchair with my first pregnancy and then had many months with a physio learning to walk again, slow and painful . I had to be very careful with my subsequent pregnancies to not overstretch myself.

I now find that pilates helps to keep me very balanced and maintain my core strength to provide additional support to my week joints.

So for goodness sake go to your GP, get assessed and get a plan to get rid of the pain!


LittleprincessinGOLDrocks · 22/05/2013 12:07

Go to the Drs. After so long in pain you really need to get it checked out.
I went to my GP with back pain, I have gained weight in the last couple of years, but my GP was fantastic. I got a quick referral to physio and after just 4 sessions of physio my back is 99% better. I no longer live on pain killers (I was on maximum co-codamol and used ibulieve daily). I need them only on odd occasions when I have slept funny.


Campaspe · 22/05/2013 12:08

I know I should be trying to lose weight. I really lack willpower, and previous attempts haven't lasted. I know it would help my back to lose weight. I feel quite ashamed of my eating habits, but obviously not shamed enough yet :(

OP posts:

MisForMumNotMaid · 22/05/2013 12:10

Its a bit of a vicious circle if you're in constant nagging pain you don't feel like running around, its easy to then comfort eat etc and the problem grows.

I'm not in pain butI am overweight - latest attempt is 2 day fasting.


HibiscusIsland · 22/05/2013 12:10

Of course you should seek help. Being a size 16 - 18 doesn't mean you don't get help from the NHS, thank goodness. If you were a smoker I'm sure you'd seek help for a lung problem.


WillieWaggledagger · 22/05/2013 12:10

it may be that getting the back pain sorted helps you lose weight (if you want to lose weight), as you will likely be able to sleep better and feel more positive


HibiscusIsland · 22/05/2013 12:12

PS. I'm a size 16 - 18 and i don't have back problems. So it isn't something that automatically happens when you reach that size. Get the help you need


StickyProblem · 22/05/2013 12:17

It's years since I went, but I had rubbish treatment off a very thin GP who said exactly what you are expecting OP! I would still give it a try though, this was over 20 years ago.

I would recommend McTimoney Chiropractic, it's a gentle manipulative treatment but it actually "fixed" my lower back problems - although they never say it will fix it, they'll say it can be alleviated or improved.

The McTimoney chiropractor was very dismissive of osteopaths btw, and an osteopath treatment didn't work on me at all. I think there are a number of different and contrasting alternative treatments for backs, but there's no-one to tell you which one is likely to work for you, you have to experiment to some degree.

Good luck...hope something works, it's a vile feeling.


Kewcumber · 22/05/2013 12:21

Of course you can go - they need to rule out that its something else caused your back pain. Be prepared though that lower back pain is very very often caused by weight - I am overweight and have the same type of back pain (exacerbated pre-menstrually hugely). It did improve when I lost a lot of weight but I still carry a lot of my excess weight around my belly and if you do to then its possibly the problme or at least contributing to it.

However at 5'8" and size 16/18 that may not be the problem depending on how your weight is distributed. At the very least, whatever the cause, a physio can teach you stretches which should help.


HibiscusIsland · 22/05/2013 12:26

How is the 2 day fasting going MisForMumNotMaid ? I'm doing it too and have lost 10lb, but weight loss has slowed down a bit now. I think i must be overcompensating on the other days!


MisForMumNotMaid · 22/05/2013 12:49

Hibiscusisland2 day fasting fits in with our lives but being overweight we have a historic tendancy to over eat and possibly need to monitor calories a little bit more on non fast days. Theres progress albeit slow!

I've just discovered Aldi frozen steam ready meals at around 300cals so they're definately going to ease the fast day food rut.


Picturepuncture · 22/05/2013 13:03

OP you sound FAR TOO ashamed to me.

shame is not going to help this.

Step one is making the pain better/more bearable.

Step two is finding a way to feel better about yourself.

Step three (to be completed after step one and two) is to start to loose weight. You only need to loose a couple of stone, which with the right attitude, and control of your diet won't take long. You could be sorted by Christmas. Smile


MonstrousPippin · 22/05/2013 13:08

Get to the doctor. It could be anything! I had a friend who suffered back pain for ages, did nothing and in the end it turned out to be very serious!

You don't know until you get yourself down to the doctor and have some tests done. I'm overweight too by more than you and I'd be off down the doctor if I had back pain like that. It doesn't sound like a bit of aching so don't be fobbed off and get them to do at least a few tests whilst you try to lose weight.

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