A Healthy Weight for a Healthy Back
Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD), which can affect any one of us as we age, can be especially problematic for people who are overweight.
Your spine is made to help carry your body’s weight. It’s designed to keep your weight balls anced and evenly distributed. For example, your vertebrae go from smallest to largest: small in your neck (cervical spine) and largest in your low back (lumbar spine). They increase in size because the lower parts of the spine have to support the most weight atnd therefore, need to have the largest vertebrae.
Your inter-vertebral discs—the cushions in between your vertebrae—increase in size, too. They’re thickest in the lumbar spine because they need to absorb and adapt to the most weight.
The spine has such an intricate design and is dependent on all parts working as they should. In degenerative disc disease, parts of your spine change and lose their ability to properly function. Intervertebral discs gradually become less capable of absorbing and cushioning your movements. The facet joints may start to change as they readjust to changes in the disc; they may not move as easily, making it harder for your body to carry and distribute weight.
Extra weight puts extra strain on the spine. If you have DDD and are overweight, then you’re stressing and straining your vertebrae and discs even more. The extra weight could even accelerate the degenerative processes because the parts of your spine will have to work harder to carry the extra weight—and the harder they work, the faster they may wear out (degenerate).