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Does Obesity Cause Pain?

Study: Obese People Are in Pain More Often, Even if They Are Healthy

Obesity and Pain in America continued...

When researchers accounted for the influences of other health problems and pain causing conditions, being overweight was no longer associated with being in pain.

But people who were obese still reported more pain than those with normal BMIs. Researchers caution that their findings are just an association. They don’t prove that fat alone causes pain.

But they mirror a handful of other, smaller studies that have also found links between pain and obesity, even when there were no other chronic conditions to explain the findings.

So they say it makes sense that there might be another mechanism connected to having a lot of fatty tissue or to problems with the body's metabolism that might explain the pain.

Can Fat Cause Pain?

The study wasn’t able to explain how fat might cause pain.

But Stone says that fat cells are known to make chemicals that increase inflammation. “And we know that inflammation is very closely linked to pain perception, so there’s the possibility that there’s some connection through that kind of process."

He says those questions will ultimately need to be addressed by other researchers.

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