Spondylolisthesis (pronounced spon-dee-low-lis-thee-sis) is made up from the Greek words spondylos, which means “spine” and listhesis, meaning “slide.” The condition spondylolisthesis describes a spinal defect in which one vertebra slides with respect to the vertebra below it. The result may be a “swayback” posture that may be slight or pronounced, depending on the degree of movement. . Spondylolisthesis is a common cause of back pain for teens, but can affect older people as well.
Most likely, an MRI or CT scan will be arranged, in order to pinpoint the exact location of the vertebral movement. This medical imagery is also used to determine the degree of slippage, which can range on a scale from 1 to 5. Grade 1 represents a 1 to 25 percent movement of one vertebral body on its adjacent vertebra. Grade 2 represents a 26 to 50 percent; grade 3 a 51 to 75 percent; and grade 4 a 76 to 100 percent movement. Grade 5 is given the name spondyloptosis, which means the vertebra has completely moved off from its adjacent vertebra. Treatment of spondylolithesis depends upon its grade. Grade 1 and 2 may be initially treated conservatively. More extreme grades are more likely to be treated surgically.
Treatment OptionsPhysicians initially recommend a course of conservative, non-invasive treatment that includes the following:
- Mild stretching, yoga, and gentle, low-impact exercise like swimming or walking
- Pain medication, either prescription or over-the-counter
- Alternating hot and cold therapy
- Slow-release steroid injections to reduce inflammation and pain
However, conservative therapies are not effective for every individual. Surgical correction may be the only effective treatment. . Please explore minimally invasive alternatives to traditional surgeries before undergoing any surgical intervention. The experts at Laser Spine Institute (LSI) have developed minimally invasive endoscopic surgical procedures which are performed on an outpatient basis. They offer reduced risk, and greatly expedited recovery periods when compared to traditional open spinal surgery. Contact us today for a complimentary review of your MRI or CT scan.