While excess body weight isn’t a primary degenerative scoliosis cause, carrying extra pounds can tax the spine more than if the body was at a healthy weight. Degenerative scoliosis is generally tied to the natural aging process and conditions such as spinal osteoarthritis. When the cartilage lining the facet joints of the spine is worn away during osteoarthritis, these joints can no longer support the spine’s upright structure as they used to, possibly leading to spinal curvature.
How excess weight affects the spine
Excess body weight places more pressure on the spine as it moves, contributing to the wearing down of the cartilage on spinal joints. It can also increase the force placed on the discs that cushion the spine, potentially contributing to the progression of degenerative disc disease, a condition that can in turn lead to degenerative scoliosis.
Other degenerative scoliosis risk factors
In general, degenerative scoliosis isn’t caused by weight alone. In fact, it is most closely related to the typical spinal deterioration that people experience as they age. Other contributing causes can include:
- Conditions that contribute to nerve and muscle damage near the spine such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease and others
- Osteoporosis, or the weakening of the bones
- Damage to the spine during surgery
- Damage to the spinal cord that has caused the loss of muscle function
Exploring treatment options
Whether your degenerative scoliosis was brought on by excess body weight or other causes, your doctor will likely recommend conservative treatments to address your symptoms. If these approaches don’t help relieve your discomfort, you may want to look into surgical treatment options, including the minimally invasive spine surgery performed by the board-certified surgeons+ at USA Spine Care. Contact us today for more information about our outpatient alternative to traditional open spine scoliosis surgery.
We are happy to provide a free MRI review* to determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures.
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