Spondylolisthesis treatment methods vary depending on the severity of the condition. Spondylolisthesis, a spinal disorder characterized by forward slippage of a vertebra over the one beneath it, is graded in terms of severity using a scale to measure the slippage. The scale ranges from grade 1, indicating a slippage of less than 25 percent, to grade 5, denoting a slippage of 100 percent.
In general, spondylolisthesis symptoms include pain and soreness in the back, pain in the buttocks and tightness in the hamstrings. Depending on the level of vertebral slippage, nerves may become compressed, causing pain to radiate across the lower back or down the legs and to the feet.
Spondylolisthesis treatment plans are designed to target the patient’s specific symptoms while factoring in his or her age and general health. Treatment of spondylolisthesis is similar to that of other neck and back problems, and includes any combination of the following:
- Stretching and exercise – stretching that targets tightened hamstrings, and exercises to strengthen the back to better support the weakened spine
- Rest – physicians recommend you avoid activities that exacerbate the condition and will often prescribe intermittent periods of rest
- Chiropractic adjustments
- Physical therapy
- Bracing to immobilize the back for a period of time as determined by your physician
- Pain medications or muscle relaxants
- Steroid injections – usually prescribed only when oral pain medications have failed to reduce pain
- Surgery – except in severe cases of spondylolisthesis, surgery is only recommended after traditional therapies have failed to treat the symptoms. Spondylolisthesis surgery usually involves removal of vertebrae, discs and/or bone spurs to achieve decompression of the nerves, or a spinal fusion to stabilize vertebrae
All treatments carry the risk of side effects and further injury to your spine and neck, so you should always remain in a physician’s care throughout the spondylolisthesis treatment process.
If you and your physician have determined that traditional spondylolisthesis treatment options are not working for you, there is still hope. Minimally invasive procedures, like those offered at Laser Spine Institute, use advanced technology to treat symptoms of spondylolisthesis and have fewer side effects than traditional open back surgery. Visit our FAQ page to learn how our state-of-the-art procedures can help you get your life back. If you still have questions, contact us today and we will be happy to give you more information, as well as a review of your MRI or CT scan.