WHAT IS SPONDYLOLISTHESIS?
Spondylolisthesis is a condition where one vertebral body has shifted, typically in the forward direction. This typically results in compression of nerve tissue leading to extremity pain numbness tingling or weakness. Additionally, the spondylolisthesis can result in neck or back pain. This condition may progress over time due to instability.
WHAT CAUSES SPONDYLOLISTHESIS?
Overuse and overextension of the spine can cause spondylolisthesis. Young patients who participate in sports that subject their spine to hyperextension, such as gymnastics, may be predisposed to develop spondylolisthesis.
Moreover, physicians believe there may be a genetic or hereditary predisposition to this condition. Individuals may be born with weakened or susceptible bone composition that may eventually lead to spondylolisthesis.
Causes of spondylolisthesis also include physical trauma, age-related degeneration, or presence of spinal tumor. It’s important to consult your physician to confirm condition. Please click here if you would like to schedule a consultation with our orthopedic spine surgeon.
WHAT DOES IT FEEL LIKE TO HAVE SPONDYLOLISTHESIS?
Symptoms of spondylolisthesis include, but are not limited to:
- Neck Pain
- Low Back Pain
- Extremity numbness, tingling, and weakness
- Radiating Pain
- Muscle Spasms
The severity of these symptoms is contingent on the grade of slippage of the vertebral bodies. Any slippage that is over half the width of the vertebra constitutes a high-grade slip. Individuals who have such ailment are more likely to suffer from more severe symptoms.
HOW DO YOU DIAGNOSE SPONDYLOLISTHESIS?
The first step to properly diagnosing spondylolisthesis is by obtaining a medical history. This history may include your physician asking about your signs and symptoms and conducting a physical examination. Moreover, imaging studies, if needed, may definitively confirm the condition. To learn more about what imaging studies may be right for you, click here.
HOW DO YOU TREAT SPONDYLOLISTHESIS?
Generally, it is advised to have conservative care as a first line treatment option for most spinal related conditions. This may include but not limited to physical therapy, non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (ibuprofen or naproxen), rest, and/or bracing.
When conservative methods fail to improve patient’s symptoms or the patient’s condition is too severe to treat conservatively due to jeopardy of nerve injury, then your physician may recommend a spinal fusion. For more information on what a spinal fusion entails, click here.