One of the Leading Spinal Bone Spur Causes is Excess Body Weight

Many patients are surprised to learn that excess body weight is one of the leading bone spur causes in the neck and back. While just about everyone recognizes that obesity represents a significant health risk, most of the attention seems to be directed to issues like type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and stroke. Yet, one of the most common side effects of being overweight is chronic neck or back pain, which can often be traced to the onset of bone spurs after many years of maintaining an unhealthy body weight.

What does body weight have to do with bone spurs?

In a healthy spine, several anatomical components work together to provide the flexibility required from the neck and back, while ensuring the overall stability of the spinal column. As you can probably imagine, the spine is under tremendous pressure — particularly in the neck and lower back — in part because these spinal segments must support the head and the majority of the body’s weight, respectively. When an individual is overweight, it increases strain on the spine, which can accelerate spinal deterioration. One of the most common forms of spinal degeneration is known as facet disease, or osteoarthritis of the spine.

The facet joints are designed to connect adjacent vertebrae at hinge-like junctures that are coated in cartilage and encapsulated in a thick lubricating fluid. Facet disease occurs when the cartilage that lines adjacent vertebral bodies wears away, allowing bone-on-bone contact, which directly leads to the formation of bone spurs. These bone spurs can cause:

  • Chronic local pain within the joint
  • Inflammation of muscle tissue surrounding the joint
  • Symptoms that radiate along a nerve when a nerve root becomes compressed

Treatment options

While the effects of osteoarthritis cannot be undone, there are many treatments that can help alleviate symptoms. Laser Spine Institute is the leader in minimally invasive spine surgery, and our outpatient procedures have helped tens of thousands of patients find relief from neck and back pain. To learn more, contact us today and request a review of your MRI or CT scan.