Causes of Prolapsed Discs — Excess Body Weight

Excess body weight is one of the more common causes of prolapsed discs in the neck and back. While most people recognize the potential health concerns of maintaining a higher-than-average body weight, they are often surprised to learn about the long-term damage that even a few extra pounds can inflict on the neck and back. That’s because the spinal column is designed to support a certain amount of weight, and additional pressure placed on the spine often accelerates spinal deterioration as individuals age.

The lasting impact of being overweight

In a healthy spine, a number of components work together to support the weight of the body while facilitating the range of motion required from the neck and back. These components include intervertebral discs, vertebral bodies, facet joints, muscles, ligaments, tendons and much more. The result of this design, however, is that even the smallest change to one piece of the spinal anatomy can affect the whole system. When a person is a bit overweight, for instance, the additional body weight increases the strain on the intervertebral discs. In the short-term, this doesn’t usually cause significant problems, but over time the discs can begin to deteriorate and the extra strain can eventually lead to the formation of prolapsed discs.

Potential symptoms of prolapsed discs include:

  • Chronic, localized pain
  • Pain that radiates along the length of a nerve
  • Numbness or tingling in the extremities
  • Diminished reflexes
  • A sensation of pins and needles
  • And more

Treatment options

Typically, when a person is diagnosed with a prolapsed disc, the first step is to attempt to manage the symptoms non-surgically. Often, a treatment regimen includes a healthy diet to help shed excess body weight. This approach has several benefits. For starters, by losing weight, a burden is lifted off the spinal anatomy, which can alleviate nerve compression. Furthermore, losing body fat often accompanies muscle formation from the ability to be more active, and strengthening the back muscles is a great way to further lessen strain on the spine. To learn more about other treatment options, including minimally invasive treatment, contact Laser Spine Institute today.