Gastric Sleeve surgery is a great way to combat obesity, but although there are many amazing benefits associated with the surgery, there are also some side effects that my plague your recovery, such as back pain. Back pain is certainly not something you want to deal with, especially when you are so excited about this new journey. However, it might just be something that you have to overcome.
What is Gastric Sleeve Surgery?
Gastric sleeve surgery is when the surgeon removes a large portion of the stomach, leaving a smaller, banana-shaped sleeve. Although it is extremely effective for weight loss and generally safe, you may have to deal an uncomfortable back as a result of the surgery.
Reasons for Back Pain After Gastric Sleeve Surgery
There are many reasons why back pain might be occurring. Some of the reasons for back pain may include;
- Postural Changes: After gastric sleeve surgery, patients may have a change in their posture as a result of rapid weight loss, this change can affect the alignment of the spine which can potentially cause back pain.
- Muscle Weakness: When significant weight loss occurs, it tends to lead to muscle loss as well. When a person experiences significant muscle loss in the core, it will affect the spine which will cause back pain.
- Nutrient Deficiencies: Following gastric sleeve surgery, patients may be at risk of nutrient deficiencies due to reduced food intake and malabsorption. When there are deficiencies in certain vitamins and minerals, such as Vitamin D and Calcium, it can cause musculoskeletal problems, including back pain.
- Gastroesophageal Reflux disease (GERD): Unfortunately, some patients have reported developing GERD after gastric sleeve surgery. GERD can cause discomfort and pain, and in some cases, the pain may radiate in the back.
You must bring up any back pain and discomfort to your surgeon, so they can be aware of all of the side effects that you are dealing with during your recovery period.
What to Do If You Are Experience Back Pain
The difficulty in “fixing” back pain after gastric sleeve surgery is that you might not necessarily know the cause of the pain. It might be due to muscle weakness, or it might have something to do with a lack of Vitamin D. So, the best thing you can do? Start approaching each possibility and devise a game plan until you have a solution.
Here are some ways that you can help alleviate your back problems post-surgery.
Improve Your Posture
The first thing you can do is improve your posture which might have been impacted by the surgery.
Harvard Health says, “most of the time, upper or lower back pain develops during the course of day-to-day life. Repetitive activities at work or home, such as sitting at a computer or lifting and carrying, may produce tension and muscle tightness that result in a backache. One solution to preventing back pain is to improve posture.”
If you are struggling with keeping your posture, you can purchase a simple posture brace. The posture brace can help you sit up properly and to avoid slouching. A simple slouch can contribute to a terrible backache.
Build Up Muscle & Consume More Protein
One of the negatives about rapid weight loss is the fact that you are also most likely losing massive amounts of muscle. Some people who are meeting their weight loss goals might find it difficult to motivate themselves to continue working out. Just because you are losing weight doesn’t mean you get to forego your exercise routine.
You must build muscle by participating in cardio and weight training. Not only should you be sticking to a consistent exercise program, but you should also make sure that you are consuming enough protein. Protein is an essential part of regaining muscle mass.
Be Aware of Vitamin Intake
It is time for you to start considering what types of Vitamin deficiencies you may have now that you are not eating the same types of food. You may want to meet with your primary care provider and ask if they can do a panel to see if you lack a vitamin.
Will I Be in Pain Forever?
Back pain following gastric sleeve surgery is often a temporary challenge that patients deal with that tends to improve with time and proper care. As your body heals and adapts to the new metabolic and physical state induced by the surgery, may patients experience a gradual reduction in back pain.
You need to be committed to your post-operative guidelines. While every individual is different, the majority of our patients find that the back pack associated with gastric sleeve surgery is just a phase rather than a long-term concern.