Spondylolisthesis is a pathological condition in which a vertebra slips out of its normal anatomical place on to the adjacent vertebra present lower to it.
Spondylolysis and spondylolisthesis are often mistaken for one another due to the similarity in nomenclature. However, spondylolysis refers to a fracture in the pars interarticularis bone along the spinal column, while spondylolisthesis involves not fracture, but a slippage of one of the cylindrical bones called vertebrae, that make up the spine.
There are a few types of spondylolisthesis, which are divided as follows:
- Degenerative spondylolisthesis – caused primarily by aging
- Isthmic– results from the aggravation of spondylosis
- Traumatic – results from an injury that affected the spine
- Pathological – is caused by other diseases (especially cancer)
- Surgery-induced – that may occur post-operation as a side effect of it
- Congenital – caused by a birth defect, where the spine doesn’t form correctly in an infant
In some people, this condition is asymptomatic but in others it causes severe back pain and even leg pain. For people who do experience symptoms, these can be managed through non-surgical methods.
This condition can cause spinal stenosis, or narrowing of the spinal canal, compressing the spinal nerves or even the spinal cord in more extreme cases, and when it occurs in the lumbar spine, it can compress the cauda equina nerve and lead to cauda equina syndrome, which may cause patients to control over their bladder or bowels.
How is it diagnosed and treated?
The standard procedure starts with a physical examination and taking a history. Eventually your doctor may order additional imaging scans such as a CT scan or an MRI scan to confirm and locate the slipped vertebra.
There are many ways to avoid surgical interventions such as spinal fusion or using a bone graft, and treat this condition in a natural, nonsurgical manner.
However, if your symptoms are severe, significantly impact your quality of life, or are sudden in onset, seek immediate medical advice, as this might represent an emergency.
That being said, provided that your symptoms are on the milder side, below you can find some of the main nonsurgical treatment options for spondylolisthesis:
1) Medication to reduce the inflammation and pain which is felt in the lower back or legs due to this condition.
2) Heat or ice application that is used in an alternative manner to relieve localized pain.
3) Physical therapy to help stretch the spine.
4) Chiropractic manipulation may help in relieving pain by mobilizing dysfunctional and painful joints.
5) Activity modification by avoiding those activities that may aggravate the pain.
6) Using a back support belt to provide extra support for your lower back and prevent the any vertebra from slipping further out of place.
7) Apply a pain relief cream, such as those that are rich in capsaicin or menthol.
8) Use spinal decompression therapy.
When your vertebra slips out of place, it can have a domino effect where other structures within the spinal column shift themselves, to compensate for the loss of length in the back caused by the slipped vertebra. As such, spinal discs and nerve roots may become trapped, or compressed, as other spinal structures impinge onto them, triggering pain responses as a result.
Spinal decompression can help shift your misplaced vertebra (or vertebrae) back into place, reversing the negative effects that this issue has caused in the first place.
This type of therapy is most effective when employed with the help of an orthopaedic device designed to fit the natural curvatures of your spine, and which allows you to conduct this treatment according to your schedule and needs.
A Revolutionary Technology That Helps Treat Back Pain Associated with Spondylolisthesis in a Natural Way
Author: Spinal Backrack