Lumbar Spinal Conditions that Worsen due to Lifestyle

Dr. Sandro LaRocca MD of New Jersey Neck & Back Institute, P.C.

In the lumbar spine, the frequent causes of many common conditions include repetitive pulling, straining, reaching, twisting, and bending motions. However, several spinal injuries can be attributed to poor lifestyle choices beyond moving the body in harmful ways, including pre-existing conditions like diabetes and even tolerance from strength-training and conditioning.

Therefore, it’s important to recognize the risk factors associated with your lifestyle that could point to a higher likelihood of developing a lumbar spine condition. Here, New Jersey Neck & Back Institute, P.C. explores the link between life choices and lumbar spine health.

About Lumbar Spinal Injuries

When overuse injuries or other diseases and disorders affect the lower back, they are described as lumbar spinal conditions. Specialists like Dr. LaRocca make accurate diagnoses by identifying the exact lumbar components affected, such as bones, discs, ligaments, or muscles, as well as the extent of the damage. While some patients develop lumbar spine problems due to the natural aging process, some conditions are worsened by patients’ lifestyles, with some of the most common including the following:

Degenerative disc disease

This condition can develop anywhere along the spine but is quite common in the lumbar region. Over time, the discs that cushion the spine’s vertebrae shrink as a result of losing their water content, leading to deterioration of the spinal column and uncomfortable symptoms. It’s also linked to bone spurs from osteoarthritis and may cause lumbar spinal stenosis, which involves narrowing of the spinal canal and compression of nerves.

Lower back sprains and strains

These injuries occur when the lower spine becomes sprained, resulting in swollen muscles and tissues, as well as muscle spasms. Improper lifting is one of the major culprits for this type of injury, but a lack of exercise can also contribute.

Herniated lumbar disc(s)

These herniations occur in the lower back and are a common cause of sciatica. These injuries can occur suddenly or gradually, with risk factors like age, lifestyle choices, and posture affecting their likelihood of development.

Factors to Be Aware Of

Lumbar spinal conditions can affect anyone. However, by recognizing certain risk factors in your life and moderating them where possible, you can catch an injury or developing disorder earlier rather than later – a key to attaining a favorable treatment outcome. Common risk factors linked to lumbar spinal conditions include:

Smoking

Smoking is one of the leading risk factors for lumbar spine injury. This activity introduces carbon monoxide into the bloodstream and to your body’s tissues, reducing your blood flow and preventing your spinal discs from receiving vital nutrients. Quitting is an important step to take to decrease your risk of lumbar spine problems.

Exercise

Regular exercise builds up your physical strength and endurance, which creates more dependable cushioning for your spine during high-impact activities and daily motions. However, it can also lead to overuse injuries that are harder to notice due to increased endurance and tolerance from conditioning. Medical professionals recommend getting at least 150 weekly minutes of moderate aerobic exercise and strength training twice weekly. Avoid pushing yourself too far and be aware of discomfort that extends beyond sore muscles.

Diet

Eating a well-balanced, nutritious diet can also help you avoid or slow the development of a lumbar spinal condition. To do this, make sure you're consuming the right number of calories for your body. You’ll also want to hit all of your daily nutrition milestones, paying special attention to your calcium and fat intake.

Occupation

Depending on your occupation, your daily work tasks may increase your likelihood of developing a lumbar spine injury. If you perform regular heavy lifting, be sure to lift with your legs and practice good posture throughout the day. If you work a desk job, practice sitting with your feet flat on the ground and adjusting your computer screen so that it is completely in line with your eyes.

Diabetes

Whether caused by diet or passed on genetically, those with diabetes are at an increased risk for lumbar spinal conditions. In fact, researchers at the University of Sydney found that people with diabetes are 35% more likely to experience lumbar spine symptoms.

Since modern-day humans live such sedentary lifestyles, it can be difficult to keep our spines aligned, maintain a healthy diet, and practice a good exercise regimen. When injuries or conditions develop in the lumbar spine that require surgical treatment, Dr. LaRocca, one of NJ’s leading neck and back specialists, is standing by to help. To learn more about recovering from a lumbar spinal condition, contact Dr. LaRocca by calling New Jersey Neck and Back Institute, P.C. at 609-896-0020.

Recover with Dr. LaRocca

In the lumbar spine, the frequent causes of many common conditions include repetitive pulling, straining, reaching, twisting, and bending motions. However, several spinal injuries can be attributed to poor lifestyle choices beyond moving the body in harmful ways, including pre-existing conditions like diabetes and even tolerance from strength-training and conditioning.

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*We are located in New Jersey, USA and do not provide medical advice via email or phone. We do not accept Medicare or Medicaid, however we do participate with commercial insurance as an out of network provider.

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