Can Obesity Lead to Arthritis of the Spine?

What is Arthritis of the Spine?

Carrying extra body weight can contribute to a range of health problems, including spine conditions like arthritis. Like the other joints in the body, the spinal facet joints degenerate with age. Inflammation occurs when the cartilage and fluid that lines the joints and enables smooth motion wear away, causing increased bone-on-bone contact.

While aging is irreversible, there are many factors that can accelerate joint deterioration, including weight. By learning more about how managing weight can have both preventive and treatment benefits, you can work better with your doctor to develop a plan to regain your healthy, active lifestyle.

Weight Management and Other Treatments for Arthritis

The spine is critical in both protecting the spinal cord and supporting the upper body. It also must be flexible enough to bend and twist, but this combination of weight and movement puts an enormous amount of pressure on the joints. Any extra weight on the upper body only adds to the stress the joints endure every day and can lead to arthritis developing more quickly than it should.

This is why doctors so often recommend weight management to both prevent and treat conditions like arthritis of the spine. Not only can losing weight slow down the development of arthritis, but it also takes pressure off the spine if it has already been diagnosed, potentially relieving symptoms. Here are some of the typical ways a patient can manage their weight and live a healthier lifestyle:

  • Eat a nutrient-rich, low-calorie diet
  • Engage in regular, low-impact aerobic exercise
  • Perform exercises to strengthen core muscles
  • Physical therapy
  • Seek help from a nutritionist

Severe spinal arthritis that is causing pain and mobility problems may urge a doctor to recommend anti-inflammatory drugs, physical therapy, injections, massage therapy, and alternating use of ice packs and heating pads.

If Surgery Becomes an Option

If you have tried conservative therapies and not found relief, you may begin to consider surgery. Traditional surgery can be intense and the recovery time is not ideal either. This is why minimally invasive surgery if oten the best way to go. 

At BEST Health System, we offer patients access to board-certified surgeons who specialize in minimally invasive procedures. Our procedures only require a less than 1-inch incision and can be performed on an outpatient basis. This means that patients can go home on the same day as their procedure. 

If you are struggling with an orthopaedic or spine condition, reach out to BEST today. Our surgeons ensure a patient-centered approach to put patients at the forefront.