Canal Stenosis Causes Include Excess Body Weight

Spinal canal stenosis causes are believed by experts to include excess body weight. The term “stenosis” refers to a narrowing, and “canal stenosis” means there has been a narrowing of the spinal canal, which houses and protects the spinal cord and exiting nerve roots. Constriction of this area can be problematic for a key reason: When the spinal components are overcrowded, excess pressure can be exerted on sensitive neural tissue, leading to inflammation and painful symptoms.

Canal stenosis commonly develops gradually along with the spinal deterioration that occurs as part of the natural aging process. Over time, the cumulative effects of continual wear and tear on the spine can take a toll on its components. For example, the intervertebral discs, which serve to separate and cushion the spinal vertebrae, tend to become drier and more brittle with age. As the discs break down, they can herniate or rupture. Consequently, many canal stenosis causes stem from herniated disc material or bone spurs that crowd the already limited space within the spinal canal.

How does excess body weight contribute to spinal deterioration?

Excess body weight is included among the canal stenosis causes because it can further stress the spinal anatomy, and thereby lead to or hasten its breakdown. The spine provides structural support for the entire body and, in doing so, must carry the majority of the body’s weight. Therefore, when an individual is overweight or obese, his or her spine is forced to take on an additional burden, and this can compromise the structure of the spine and damage its intricate components.

Furthermore, overweight individuals tend to be less fit than their healthy-weight counterparts. A lack of exercise can inhibit flexibility and weaken the core muscles in the back, pelvic region and thighs. To compensate, an individual might develop poor posture, tilting the pelvis forward and curving the lower back. Poor posture can weaken the spine and cause further deterioration.

Finally, excess weight can be a sign that an individual leads a sedentary lifestyle and makes poor nutritional choices. These factors can negatively affect the density, or strength, of the spinal vertebrae, making them more prone to fracture and less able to maintain structural integrity. Additionally, two of the main canal stenosis causes are osteoporosis and osteoarthritis, which can occur when the architectural structure of the vertebral bones and joints is compromised. As a result, bone spurs can develop in the affected area as the body attempts to heal itself, and this extra bone can encroach on the spinal canal.

Overcoming neck or back pain

After seeing a physician for a proper diagnosis, an individual with neck or pain might be encouraged to achieve and maintain a healthy weight through tools like a balanced diet and regular exercise. Chronic pain stemming from canal stenosis causes, including excess body weight, can often be managed with these and other conservative measures. However, if the pain persists or worsens after weight loss, individuals can contact Laser Spine Institute to learn about minimally invasive surgical procedures and request a review of a recent MRI or CT scan.