Avoiding Surgery: Successful Weight Loss as an Alternative Treatment for
Degenerative Spine Disease
Julian Mobley*, Martin Arhin, Kristina Stanson PA-C, Nadine Kramer and Lloyd A Hey
The University of North Carolina School of Medicine 2 Hey Clinic for Scoliosis
and Spine Care
*Corresponding Author: Julian Mobley, The University of North Carolina School of Medicine 2 Hey Clinic for Scoliosis and Spine Care.
July 05, 2023; Published: August 23, 2023
Degenerative spine disease, such as spinal stenosis, is a common condition characterized by the narrowing of the spinal canal, resulting in the compression of the spinal cord and nerve roots. Surgical interventions are frequently recommended, but alternative non-invasive treatment options are being explored. Previous studies suggest a correlation between obesity and spinal stenosis; however, further investigation is needed to elucidate the specific effects of weight loss on this condition. This case report presents two patients, aged 73 and 23, who successfully managed their spinal stenosis through a conservative treatment plan focused on weight loss and lifestyle modifications. The treatment plan involved providing a newly developed one-page decision aid tool combined with a 10–20-minute educational dialogue between the surgeon and patients. This process guided the patients in adopting a low-carbohydrate diet and engaging in regular exercise, resulting in significant weight loss and notable improvements in their symptoms and mobility. These outcomes illustrate the potential of weight loss as an alternative to surgery and its ability to improve the quality of life of individuals with degenerative spine disease.
As a result of the rise in the incidence of spinal stenosis and obesity, practitioners should consider weight loss as a possible primary treatment. This case report emphasizes the importance of considering weight loss as a conservative treatment for spinal stenosis and how physicians can use a motivational approach with an evidenced-based decision-aid tool to guide patients. More research including larger prospective studies, is warranted to understand better the role of weight loss in managing spinal stenosis and related degenerative spinal conditions.
Keywords: Spinal Stenosis; Spondylolisthesis; Neurogenic Claudication; Decision Aid Tool; Obesity; Weight Loss
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