How does excess body weight lead to spondylolisthesis?

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, excess body weight can certainly contribute to the development of this condition. Excess 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 discs in the spine 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 function to facilitate movement by allowing the vertebrae to glide past each other and 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. Read the following article to learn about the symptoms and treatment options associated with weight-related spondylolisthesis.

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 or cramps
  • Feelings of numbness, weakness or tingling
  • Exaggerated curvature of the back
  • Incoordination

In severe cases, bowel and bladder dysfunction may also occur, which indicates a medical condition that requires immediate attention. Because these symptoms can often be mistaken for other conditions, it’s especially important to seek a thorough medical examination, to come up with a proper treatment regimen to alleviate your spondylolisthesis symptoms.

What treatments are available for spondylolisthesis?

At first, most health care professionals will recommend conservative therapies to alleviate the symptoms associated with spondylolisthesis and stabilize the spine to prevent further slippage. These treatments may include physical therapy, pain medication, anti-inflammatories, muscle relaxants, core-strengthening exercises and flexibility exercises. However, if these treatment options have proven to be ineffective, contact Laser Spine Institute to learn more about our outpatient procedures. We are here to help guide you on your journey through wellness.

Laser Spine Institute is the leader in minimally invasive spine surgery and has helped more than 75,000 patients find relief from chronic neck or back pain since 2005. Our procedures offer a safer and effective alternative to traditional open neck or back surgery^ by performing muscle-sparing techniques that result in less surgical blood loss and a reduced risk of infection. The team of dedicated surgeons at our state-of-the-art facilities is able to perform a stabilization procedure by using a small incision in order to provide you with lasting relief and get you on the road to recovery.

Find out if you are a potential candidate for our minimally invasive spine surgery today by reaching out to our caring team and asking for your no-cost MRI review.*