Excessive Body Weight Spondylolisthesis Causes

The term spondylolisthesis refers to a vertebra that has slipped out of place, sometimes coming to rest on the vertebra beneath it. While there are many different causes to spondylolisthesis, excessive body weight can certainly contribute to the development of this condition.

How can excessive body weight cause spondylolisthesis?

Excessive body weight places additional pressure on the spine, and this stress may lead to spinal degeneration occurring at a more rapid pace. It’s natural for the spine to deteriorate over time and this deterioration tends to affect intervertebral discs – the soft tissue structures that serve as cushioning and support between each vertebra. As the body ages, these discs lose their ability to maintain fluid levels and can no longer retain their elasticity. It then becomes increasingly possible for the vertebra above or below a damaged disc to slip out of place.

Being overweight also can accelerate the age-related deterioration of the facet joints between the vertebrae. The facet joints serve two main functions – facilitating movement by allowing the vertebrae to glide past each other, and also keeping the overall structure of the spine stable. As the facet joints degenerate over time, they might lose their ability to support the spine’s structural integrity, which also can lead to vertebral slippage.

What symptoms are caused by spondylolisthesis?

In some cases, patients may experience severe spondylolisthesis symptoms, while others may not experience symptoms at all. For those who experience symptoms, some of them may include:

  • Mild to sharp pains during physical activity
  • Aches in the lower back
  • Reduced range of motion in the legs
  • Muscle spasms
  • Feelings of numbness, weakness or tingling
  • Cramps
  • Exaggerated curvature of the back
  • Bowel and bladder dysfunction, which could indicate a medical condition that requires emergency treatment

Because these symptoms can often be mistaken for other conditions, it’s especially important to seek a thorough medical examination. Even though symptoms may be severe in some cases, the good news is that medical professionals often can provide relief.

What are my treatment options?

At first, most health care professionals will recommend physical therapy, mild pain relievers and possibly spinal injections to treat spondylolisthesis symptoms. If these treatment options have proven to be ineffective, contact Laser Spine Institute today and learn more about our minimally invasive procedures.