Causes of myelopathy include carrying excess body weight

Although aging and associated natural degeneration are probably the most common causes of myelopathy, people who carry excess body weight also have an increased risk of developing this condition. Being overweight increases the amount of stress placed on the spine, which can cause the spine to degenerate at a faster rate than normal, leading to spinal cord compression and the resulting symptoms which are known as myelopathy.

While no one can avoid the natural aging process, nearly everyone is able to take steps to properly manage their weight. Losing extra weight can support both the prevention and treatment of this condition while helping anyone have a better, healthier quality of life.

Losing weight to avoid degenerative spine conditions

Because excess body weight is linked to spinal degeneration and conditions like myelopathy, doctors recommend that patients maintain a weight that is proportionate to their height and frame. A weight management plan will usually consist of the following steps:

  • Eating a varied diet with a high concentration of fruits and vegetables
  • Restricting calories and controlling portions
  • Getting regular exercise
  • Stretching and strengthening the muscles that surround the spine

Treatment options for myelopathy

Should a patient develop myelopathy, doctors usually recommend physical therapy as a form of conservative treatment. Medications, braces and spinal injections may also be used to relieve symptoms. However, some patients may eventually require surgery to address the underlying cause of the compression, especially if symptoms persist after fully exploring conservative treatments.

If you’ve had little success with conservative myelopathy treatments and are looking to learn more about your surgical options, Laser Spine Institute can help. Our board-certified surgeons+ perform minimally invasive spine surgery that is an alternative to traditional open neck or back procedures. By using a less than 1-inch incision, we’re able to spare supporting muscles, allowing these procedures to be performed on an outpatient basis.

Our caring and dedicated team is happy to provide you with a no-cost MRI review* to determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures. Contact us today.