Press Release

Is It Easier to Lose Weight After Reducing Chronic Pain?

August 31, 2021
woman's feet standing on a scale

We have known for a while now that there are links between chronic pain and obesity. Many people who are obese tend to experience chronic pain, and those who have chronic pain may experience more obesity. The two conditions can influence each other, so researchers set out to determine if obese patients could successfully lose weight once they had chronic pain relief.

The results of their study were published in the June 2021 issue of the Journal of Pain Research [1]. The study investigated whether or not patients who are obese and have chronic pain will lose weight once the pain is diminished. The researchers used data from obese patients who were in the Swedish Quality Registry for Pain Rehabilitation. 

The 224 patients, all of whom met the 30 and over BMI requirement, were all assessed for such information as weight, height, pain intensity, how physically active they were, the amount of psychological distress they had, and how their health-related quality of life was. The assessment was taken before they received pain relief treatment, as well as at the 12-month follow-up.

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Participants in the study were all given interdisciplinary multimodal pain rehabilitation (IMMPR). Once they received the treatment, they were split into three groups, based on the level of their pain after receiving the treatment. The groups included those who had at least a 30% reduction in pain, those with less than 30% reduction in pain, and those who reported that they had no pain relief at all.

The researchers report that the pain reduction following IMMPR was significant. When it came to weight loss, they considered at least a 5% reduction in weight to be significant. They found that there were a significant number of patients in the three groups who met the criteria for losing a significant amount of weight. There were also a lot of improvements in the other areas that were assessed, including being physically active and psychological distress.

Overall, they report that one out of every five patients in the study experienced what they considered a significant weight loss after they had IMMPR. This is promising news for those who are obese and experience chronic pain. Being able to reduce the pain intensity may help people successfully achieve a significant amount of weight loss. Those working with chronic pain patients who are obese will want to consider this in managing their care.

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About Dr. Steven H. Richeimer

Steven Richeimer, M.D. is a renowned specialist on issues related to chronic pain. He is the chief of the Division of Pain Medicine at the University of Southern California. He has written or co-written a large number of scientific articles about pain medicine. He recently published an instructive book and guide for pain patients. Dr. Richeimer has given numerous lectures to medical and lay audiences throughout the U.S.