Spondylolisthesis develops when a spinal vertebral slips forward to distort the spinal cord’s alignment and pinches nerves. Though it is most likely to occur in the lumbar region of the back, spondylolisthesis can also develop in the cervical and thoracic regions as well. The condition can cause muscle spasms, weakness, pain, and if left untreated, could impair bladder control.
Treatment options for forward vertebra displacement depend upon several factors, including a patient’s medical history and lifestyle. At the Los Angeles Spine Group, our orthopedic spinal specialists have expertise in a range of spinal conditions and apply a conservative approach when dealing with spondylolisthesis, preferring minimally invasive surgery over traditional surgical methods.
How Forward Vertebra Displacement Affects You
Both children and adults can be diagnosed with spondylolisthesis. The condition can appear in children who are athletically active and exert a lot of pressure on the back (which can result in stress fractures). Examples of activities that can increase the chance of irregular forward vertebra movement include gymnastics and weight-lifting. For adults, the condition is typically caused by wear and tear, leading to a disc or joint slipping out of place.
Symptoms of spondylolisthesis can take the following forms:
- Difficulty walking
- Pain in the back and/or buttock
- Radiating pain along the leg
- Leg numbness or weakness
- Problems with bladder or bowel control
Spondylolisthesis symptoms typically worsen with movement. If you suffer from spondylolisthesis symptoms, an orthopedic surgeon should be consulted before the condition worsens and requires more advanced medical treatment. In cases where this forward vertebrae displacement is the result of an accident, a doctor should be seen within a few days of the injury. To learn more about this condition, please visit the associated spondylolisthesis page on WebMD.
Treatment Options for Spondylolisthesis
The goal of spondylolisthesis treatment is to eliminate and manage pain, prevent further injury, and stop the activity causing the problem. Before treating this forward vertebrae displacement, Dr. Khurana will perform an examination to test range of motion, pain location, and pain intensity. Next are imaging tests such as an x-rays, CT scans, or MRIs to confirm the diagnosis and to locate a fracture or slip in the spine.
If a patient’s pain is intolerable, surgery may be considered as a treatment option. The damage from pressure on the nerves or spine can be treated by a spinal decompression or spinal fusion. Each case of spondylolisthesis is different depending on the extent of the condition, patient’s health, and age. However recovery from a spondylolisthesis surgery can take several months, though usually patients are able to walk shortly following surgery.
If you are suffering from spondylolisthesis, please contact an expert spine surgeon today.
Next, learn about kyphosis.