Losing weight to help your torn disc

Torn Disc

A torn disc can occur for many reasons, but once it does, reducing pressure on the affected spinal disc is a key part of treatment and relieving symptoms. In addition to simple rest, improving posture and avoiding strenuous activities, losing weight can help relieve symptoms because it reduces the pressure on the spine, giving the torn disc a chance to heal. Even just a few pounds can make a big difference, especially if the torn disc is located in the lumbar portion of the spine, which bears the most body weight.

Tips for weight loss if you are dealing with a torn disc

Always check with your doctor before starting any new weight-loss plan. The following recommendations are usually included with most doctor-recommended weight-loss plans:

  • Exercise regularly. Depending on the severity of your symptoms, exercise can be a healthy part of your daily routine. If activities such as bicycling are too strenuous, consider walking. Start slowly and work your way up to longer distances and intensities.
  • Eat a healthy diet. Making even small changes to your diet such as substituting low-fat dressing instead of full-fat, or choosing lean cuts of meat over fatty ones, can make a big difference over time. Other easy substitutes include having an apple or other fruit rather than chips with lunch and drinking water instead of a soda. Cut slightly more than 100 calories per day from your diet, and you can lose a pound each month. Not only will this help you lose weight, but eating a more nutrient-rich diet gives your body the tools it needs to heal itself.
  • Stretch. Keeping your muscles limber can reduce pressure on the spine, and it can also help you avoid injury so you can maintain a consistent exercise routine.

When to consider surgery for a torn disc

If a torn disc is affecting your quality of life, it is very often possible to find lasting relief without the need for spine surgery. Making necessary lifestyle changes like losing weight or quitting smoking combined with pain management techniques like epidural steroid injections and physical therapy work for some, but you may be asked to consider surgery if weeks or months go by without improving symptoms. For more information on minimally invasive outpatient spine surgery, contact Laser Spine Institute. By using muscle-sparing techniques, we are able to offer a shorter recovery time with less risk of complication compared to traditional open spine procedures.^

We’ll review your MRI or CT scan at no cost* and let you know if you’re a candidate for one of our minimally invasive procedures.