Although there are a number of causes that lead to a ruptured spinal disc, especially age, weight is important because it is a controllable factor. A ruptured disc and the resulting symptoms can be life-altering — taking you away from loved ones, favorite hobbies or even the ability to relax after a long day.
Treatment for this condition that offers lasting relief is possible and weight management can be a critical part of an effective care plan. By learning more about the causes of this condition, and specifically how excess body weight plays a role, you can give yourself the best chance of returning to a better quality of life.
How extra weight affects the spine
The spine is placed under a tremendous amount of pressure every day. Because it must support the upper body while being flexible enough to bend and twist, the moving parts of the spine — such as the joints and discs — are especially prone to the effects of aging. Any extra weight, like from being overweight or obese, adds to the stress being placed on the parts of the spine and can speed up natural degeneration. This can cause the cracks and tears in the lining of a spinal disc that can lead to a rupture.
Upon diagnosis of a ruptured disc, doctors will recommend a weight management plan in necessary cases as an attempt to take pressure off the spine. This can potentially help with symptoms by taking pressure off of a pinched nerve. Here are some of the typical steps in a doctor-recommended plan:
- Eat a nutrient-rich, low sugar, high protein diet
- Control portions
- Engage in regular, moderate exercise
- Stretch and strengthen core muscles to improve posture
To relieve pain and improve any lost range of motion, your doctor may also recommend rest, ice packs, heating pads, physical therapy and pain medication. By following a course of conservative treatment options and making the necessary lifestyle changes, many patients are able to return to normal comfortable activity.
If surgery becomes an option
In some cases, however, if weeks or months of treatment do not offer the relief needed, spine surgery may be considered. Before you consent to a highly invasive traditional open neck or back procedure, contact USA Spine Care to learn about the benefits of minimally invasive spine surgery. By using muscle-sparing techniques, we offer an outpatient procedure with less risk of complication and a faster recovery time when compared to traditional procedures.
Our dedicated and caring team can tell you how to receive a no-cost review of your MRI or CT scan* to determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures.
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