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Should weight loss be included in pain management?

A study from Leeds Beckett University has suggested that weight loss programmes should become part of pain management for obese patients. The team investigated 74 patients who were divided into groups according to their weight. They then applied pressure, cold and heat to different areas of their bodies. According to the researchers, obese patients are more susceptible to pressure pain than their normal weight counterparts. A similar result was found in the overweight participants. There was no difference in heat tolerance between the groups.

Study author, Dr Osama Tashini, explained that obese people are highly likely to experience pressure pain due to the mechanical impact of increased weight on their joints; this study found that it was not only the joints where they experienced high amounts of pain. Therefore, he has proposed, that as part of a normal pain management plan, overweight and obese patients should be counselled in weight loss. He did however point out that the study did not display clear causality, as obese patients may have been more sensitive to pressure pain before they gained weight, and were therefore more likely to not partake in physical activity.

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