Of the range of slipped disc causes, excess body weight is one of the leading factors. Even just a few extra pounds can add significant stress to the spinal anatomy over time. The lumbar (lower) region of the spine is particularly vulnerable to disc injury due to the amount of weight it has to support while still being flexible enough for movement.
One of the reasons why weight is an important risk factor to be aware of is that unlike age or genetics, body weight can be managed by most patients. By learning more about how weight contributes to this condition and how to work with your doctor to develop a successful weight management plan, you can give yourself the best chance of preventing or treating this condition.
How excess weight causes a slipped disc
Over time, the intricate components of the spine gradually deteriorate due to the effects of aging combined with everyday activity. The spinal discs, which separate and cushion the vertebrae, tend to become drier and more brittle with age. As the discs break down, they can bulge outside of their normal boundaries and possibly rupture, resulting in a slipped disc, also called a herniated disc.
Being overweight contributes to this by adding to the pressure that is placed on the discs on a day-to-day basis, which can increase the chances of disc herniation occurring. Excess weight can also correspond with weakened supporting muscles and poor posture which also adds to the stress being placed on the discs.
Avoiding the causes of a slipped disc and other spinal conditions
Whether you have been diagnosed with a slipped disc that is causing neck or back pain or you are trying to prevent this condition, your doctor can help you develop a plan to reach an optimal, healthy weight. Typical steps include:
- A nutrient-rich diet including fruits, vegetables and whole grains
- Portion control
- Exercise to improve cardiovascular fitness and strengthen core muscles
To relieve symptoms and improve mobility while a weight-loss plan is attempted, you may also be recommended to try conservative treatments like rest, over-the-counter medicine, physical therapy and massage. If weeks and months go by and symptoms do not improve, even after making necessary lifestyle changes and exhausting conservative treatments, surgery can become an option.
Traditional open spine surgery involves a large muscle-disrupting incision, hospitalization and a long, sometimes painful, recovery period. USA Spine Care performs minimally invasive spine surgery as an alternative, involving a less than 1-inch incision, an outpatient procedure and a shorter recovery time compared to traditional procedures.^
To learn more about our procedures and to find out if you are a potential candidate, reach out to USA Spine Care today.
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