A recent study from the University of Hong Kong of more than 2500 Hong Kong men and women shows that overweight is associated with increased risk of lumbar disc degeneration. The disc is a jelly-like connective tissue lying between each spinal vertebra. Its function is primarily for shock absorption.
However, when excessive weight is loaded upon these discs, it speeds up the wear and tear of the fibers and can cause low back pain or even sciatica. Lumbar disc degeneration can be diagnosed by MRI examination. For details of the study, click here.
You can find out if you are overweight by calculating the Body-Mass Index, or BMI. For Chinese, a BMI of more than 23 is considered to be overweight and over 27 to be obese. To calculate your BMI, click here.