What is Spondylolisthesis?
When one of the vertebrae (bones that make up the human spine) slips out of place, it can lead to a series of symptoms and possible complications, such as spinal cord and nerve compression. The process where the vertebra falls out of place is what is referred to as spondylolisthesis. This can occur in any region of the spinal canal, but it is most common along the lumbar spine.
There are three main types of spondylolisthesis. Namely, they are:
- Isthmic spondylolisthesis is caused due to a fracture within a spinal bone that causes the vertebra to slide out of position. It may also be caused by spondylolysis
- Degenerative spondylolisthesis occurs due to the wear and tear associated with aging
- Congenital spondylolisthesis appears before a baby is born and is already present by the the time the baby has been born.
Although there are overlapping terms that apply to two, or more types of spondylolisthesis, in this article we will be referring to this condition in a general manner, rather than addressing each subtype.
What are the symptoms of Spondylolisthesis?
People with spondylolisthesis may experience symptoms such lower back or leg pain.
Other symptoms of spondylolisthesis include:
- Stiffness in the back or legs
- Tingling and/or numbness in the lower back or legs
- Visible spinal deformities
Causes and what may worsen this condition
- Genetics, that lead to birth defects of the spine, or allow the condition to occur easily at a later stage in life
- One sudden major injury to the spine
- Repeated injury to the facet joints or vertebral body
- Spinal degeneration due to aging
Engaging in high-impact sports that place major strain on your spine, including gymnastics, weightlifting and running (for competitions). These may not only lead to the onset of spondylolisthesis but may also be the reason the patient’s condition is aggravating (or worsening, if you prefer).
Spondylolisthesis may sometimes be difficult to diagnose as some of its symptoms tend to overlap with those of spinal stenosis. However, in order to distinguish between these conditions, a thorough diagnosis process shall take place. Initially, the spinal specialist will conduct a physical examination where he/she inspects the affected region for any deformities or abnormalities within the spine.
Sometimes the physical examination itself is not conclusive, and the patient might have to undergo further tests or scans, such as an MRI scan or a CT scan.
Treating spondylolisthesis may depend on the subtype of the condition that the patient is suffering from. That includes accounting for the degree of severity of this condition as well as the presence of chronic pain in some cases of spondylolisthesis.
Overall, these are some general spondylolisthesis treatment options to consider:
- Physical therapy to restore mobility in the affected region of the spine
- Anti-inflammatory medication to temporarily relieve the pain
- Surgical treatments, such as spinal fusion should only be considered as a last resort, when the patient has failed to respond to less invasive treatment options. Any type of spinal surgery, including surgery for spondylolisthesis, should not be considered as a quick-fix, but should be reserved only for the most severe cases.
- Our solution:
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Its aim is to treat the underlying causes of your condition. By following specific nerve exercise programs using the Backrack, you can decompress your spine, relieve pressure in your back, restore mobility to the affected area and leave your symptoms in the past!