Cervical spondylolisthesis can be difficult to diagnose, as it is extremely rare and its symptoms mirror those of other conditions affecting the spine. Spondylolisthesis, a forward displacement of a vertebra over the vertebra below it, almost always occurs in the lumbar (lower) region of the spine. Cervical spondylolisthesis, on the other hand, happens in the cervical spine, the upper part of the spine that begins at the base of the head and continues down through the neck. Whereas lumbar spondylolisthesis is often a result of a trauma to the spine from heavy lifting or athletic activity, cervical spondylolisthesis is almost always a result of a neck injury or arthritis. It can, however, be congenital, which means it is a genetic condition present at birth.
Symptoms of cervical spondylolisthesis include neck pain and stiffness, and the course of treatment depends on the severity of the condition. As with other conditions affecting the neck and back, treatment for cervical spondylolisthesis usually begins conservatively and becomes increasingly aggressive, based on the effectiveness of the first treatments. Your physician may first recommend rest or moderate exercise to strengthen the neck muscles, and may then prescribe pain medication before recommending surgery as a last resort.
If you have been diagnosed with cervical spondylolisthesis, have exhausted traditional treatments, and are still experiencing pain, it may be time to explore the benefits of an outpatient procedure. Laser Spine Institute offers minimally invasive procedures that can relieve the symptoms of cervical spondylolisthesis with substantially fewer side effects than a traditional open back surgery. For more information, visit our FAQ page to see how our advanced procedures have helped others reclaim their lives. If you still have additional questions, contact us today for a complimentary review of your MRI or CT scan.