Here’s what you should expect from spondylolisthesis treatment

Spondylolisthesis treatment is not always necessary. In many cases, the degree of vertebral slippage is very slight and causes little to no pain. Sometimes, a person may become aware of the condition only after it is discovered during an evaluation of diagnostic images that were taken for another reason. In these cases, instead of prescribing a specific spondylolisthesis treatment plan, your doctor may simply recommend lifestyle changes like avoiding certain activities, improving posture or losing weight. However in other cases, spondylolisthesis can lead to symptoms that require more involved treatment.

Treatment usually begins with conservative therapies

In cases of mild to moderate vertebral slippage, a person might experience pain that worsens after physical activity, as well as hamstring tightness, muscle spasms and leg weakness. In addition to lifestyle changes, patients with these symptoms may be recommended a course of several conservative spondylolisthesis treatment options, such as:

  • Brief periods of rest as needed
  • Stretching and strengthening exercises to target the hamstrings and back muscles
  • Bracing to temporarily limit motion in the spine
  • Pain relievers
  • Hot and cold compression therapy
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Muscle relaxants
  • Epidural steroid injections
  • Physical therapy

When to consider surgery for spondylolisthesis

Unless the degree of vertebral slippage is severe, surgery is generally considered only if conservative spondylolisthesis treatment options prove to be insufficient after several weeks or months and symptoms are still debilitating. Depending on the specific procedure, a surgeon can remove a portion of spinal anatomy, such as part of a vertebra or spinal disc, to relieve pressure on the spinal cord or an affected nerve root. In some cases a fusion procedure that involves insertion of bone graft material to stabilize the affected vertebral segment may be required.

If you are considering spondylolisthesis surgery, contact Laser Spine Institute to learn more about the minimally invasive decompression and minimally invasive stabilization procedures performed by our board-certified surgeons.+ Our minimally invasive spine surgery is an outpatient alternative to traditional open back procedures.

To find out if you’re a potential candidate for one of our procedures, our caring team can help you receive a no-cost review of your MRI or CT scan.*