Category: Spine | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: July 1, 2019
Statistics show that more than 90 percent of Americans will be plagued by back pain at some point in their life, so it’s important to take steps to help reduce your risk of developing a spinal issue. One such way is to maintain an active lifestyle and a healthy weight. Having a healthy weight can not only prevent spine pain from developing, but losing weight and working towards a healthy weight can help treat existent back discomfort. Below, we take a look at all the ways your spine benefits from weight loss and keeping a healthy body mass index.
Weight Management and Your Spine
Here’s a look at a number of different reasons why weight loss can help keep your spine healthy:
- Stress Relief – With each step you take, stress is channeled through your spinal vertebrae and discs. The more you weigh, the more stress that your spine has to handle, which can lead to injuries if certain areas are overloaded. Weight loss will help take stress off areas that handle stress, like your spine, knees and feet.
- Preventing Degeneration – Weight management will also help you prevent disc degeneration. Our spinal discs slowly wear down over time as we age, but this process can speed up if you’re overweight or a smoker. Protect your discs against early onset degeneration by maintaining a healthy weight.
- Decompression – Similarly, if you’re overweight, you’re more likely to have spinal discs shift out of place as they attempt to handle the extra stress you’re putting on them. Shifted discs can pinch or compress nerves, causing painful sensations. By losing weight, you can help free or prevent compressed nerves.
- Better Surgical Outcomes – Previous studies have shown that individuals with a healthy weight tend to have better surgicial outcomes and reduce risks of complications compared to overweight or obese individuals. If you may need a surgery, make sure you are focused on getting closer to a healthy weight.
- Osteoarthritis Prevention – According to the American Obesity Association, individuals with a BMI over 25 are more likely to develop spinal osteoarthritis than healthy weight individuals. Aside from causing joint pain, osteoarthritis can put you at a higher risk for other conditions, like spinal fractures.
- Better Healing Rates – Finally, for patients who are undergoing treatment or are recovering from spinal surgery, weight management and exercise has been shown to help speed up recovery. Exercise will help to get healthy blood to the injury site, which is necessary for the healing process to take place. Also, weight management is important after spine surgery since your back will be in a weakened state. Putting even more stress on your injured spine due to weight gain can slow down your recovery.
For more tips, or for help with a weight management plan to treat your back pain, reach out to Dr. Sinicropi’s office today.