When your weight slips into an unhealthy range over time, the risk of degenerative disc disease increases by 30 to 79 percent.
As discs compensate for the pressure of extra weight, they can become herniated.
Too much weight can result in ruptured or herniated discs. This damage compresses the spaces between the bones in the spine, causing pinched nerves and piriformis syndrome: muscle spasms that cause pain and can irritate the sciatic nerve.
The pressure of extra weight can also aggravate arthritis of the spine, or trigger the development of osteoarthritis.
Extra weight doesn’t just increase wear and tear on your back and joints, it also makes injury more likely. People who are overweight are 15 percent more likely to sustain musculoskeletal injury, and people who are obese are 48 percent more at risk for injuries.
Maintaining a healthy weight or losing weight can help ease or prevent back issues, and reduces stress on other joints as well. Dropping just a few pounds can make a big difference to your back. For every four pounds you lose, you remove 16 pounds of pressure from your spine. In one study, the risk of developing osteoarthritis dropped 50 percent with each 11-pound weight loss.