Relationship between obesity and spinal stenosis

You don’t need to be a medical professional to know that being obese can be detrimental to your long-term health. In addition to greatly increasing the risks of heart disease, diabetes and other diseases and illnesses, carrying excess body weight also puts great strain on the back, especially the lower (lumbar) back.

The lower back is an impressive structure — it allows us to rotate around an axis, lean forward and backward, twist side to side and it also supports most of the body’s weight. So, it’s really no wonder that lower back problems are so common in healthy individuals, but when you add the extra burden of supporting an obese individual, back pain and a stenosis diagnosis can be an unavoidable outcome. To learn more about stenosis, including the symptoms of this condition and available treatments, read on.

What is spinal stenosis?

Spinal stenosis refers to a condition where tissue inflammation, overgrowth or displacement causes the narrowing of one or more of the canals that normally protect a nerve in the spinal column. As the canals grow smaller over time, the nerve can gradually become compressed by the inflammation, which leads to neck or back pain. One of the leading causes of tissue inflammation in the back is obesity.

Spinal stenosis symptoms

A spinal stenosis diagnosis can explain a variety of nerve compression symptoms, including:

  • Pain that radiates along a nerve
  • Muscle weakness
  • Numbness in the fingers or toes
  • The condition commonly referred to as sciatica
  • A pins and needles sensation
  • Bowel or bladder dysfunction, which requires immediate medical attention

Spinal stenosis treatment

If you are one of the millions of people worldwide who live with obesity, you know how difficult it can be to control your weight. However, the stakes are too high to sit by and live with back pain from obesity. Contact your doctor to find out what steps you can take to lose those excess pounds, live healthier and avoid spinal degeneration like spinal stenosis.

As the leader in minimally invasive spine surgery, Laser Spine Institute has helped thousands of patients find relief from chronic neck and back pain each year. To learn about the spinal stenosis surgery performed at Laser Spine Institute, reach out to us today and we will determine if you are a candidate for our outpatient procedures through a free MRI review.*

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