Can BMI be a Predictor of Spine Conditions

BMI and Spine Pain

A study published in Spine magazine supports previous data by Australian researchers suggesting that a high BMI (body mass index) may be an indicator of future spine conditions. Normal weight BMI is 18.5 to 24.9. A BMI ranging from 25 to 29.9 is considered overweight. It’s the higher BMI ranges that may increase the risk for developing back problems or experiencing chronic spine conditions in the future. Calculate your body mass index here.

BMI and Health Conditions

BMI has already been linked to an increased risk of developing conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes. These same conditions can increase nerve sensitivity, which can result in increased sensitivity to pressure on nerves from herniated discs or a narrowing of the spinal column. It’s also possible that BMI data could be combined with medical histories at some point to further identify patients at risk for developing spine conditions, especially as healthcare providers continue to focus more on preventative care to reduce costs.

Preventing Future Spine Problems

In addition to confirming a link to existing back pain or spine conditions, BMI research suggests that such data may prove useful when it comes to convincing doctors to start a conversation with them sooner rather than later to possibly avoid a future diagnosis of a serious spine condition. There’s also research suggesting a possible link between a higher BMI and increased complications for patients presently requiring spine surgery.

Tracking BMI in patients may, according to researchers, be able to predict the likelihood of developing spine issues up to a decade or so in advance, leaving patients with enough time to make meaningful changes likely to reduce BMI numbers, such as adopting a healthy diet and getting regular exercise.

Other Factors of Spinal Pain

It’s also worth noting that even with a normal BMI, factors such as genetics, age and the presence of preexisting back pain can also play a role in determining an individual’s risk for developing common spine conditions later in life.

For more information about spine care or to find relief from a spinal condition, reach out to The Spine Institute Center for Spinal Restoration. In addition to conservative treatment options, our physicians specialize in traditional fusion surgeries as well as non-fusion options like artificial disc replacement. Call (310) 828-7757 and schedule your in-person consultation today!