Overview of your spondylolisthesis options

Spondylolisthesis treatment is generally pursued when a patient begins to experience pain and limited mobility resulting from this condition. Caused by the slippage of one vertebra over the one beneath it, spondylolisthesis does not necessarily cause symptoms. Local pain and radiating symptoms to the extremities occur as a result of nerve compression by displaced spinal anatomy, like a vertebra or spinal disc.

Experiencing these symptoms can be debilitating and lead to a diminishing effect on your quality of life. By learning more about the treatment options available for this condition you can empower yourself as a patient. This knowledge can help you and your doctor work together to develop a treatment plan with the best chance of returning you to a healthy, active lifestyle.

How is spondylolisthesis treated?

For many, initial conservative spondylolisthesis treatment is effective enough to avoid the need for surgery. The goal of a nonsurgical treatment plan usually involves a combination of methods designed to relieve pain while improving mobility problems. Treatment should also incorporate healthy lifestyle choices to help improve long-term spine health. A comprehensive plan can include the following:

  • A short period of rest and avoidance of activities — such as lifting, bending and high-impact exercises — that worsen symptoms
  • Physical therapy designed to increase the range of motion of the lumbar spine and strengthen the core muscles
  • Anti-inflammatory and pain medications to reduce swelling around nerves and relieve pain
  • Epidural steroid injections to address pain, numbness and tingling in the legs
  • A hyperextension brace to limit forward bending, which can interfere with the healing process
  • Home remedies like ice and heat applications and over-the-counter pain relievers
  • Lifestyle changes such as posture improvement, quitting smoking and losing weight

For those whose symptoms fail to improve with nonsurgical spondylolisthesis treatment, surgery may become necessary to address the underlying vertebral slippage and to relieve nerve compression. For years this required a highly invasive traditional open spine procedure, but advances in medical technology have led to the development of a less invasive approach.

Minimally invasive spine surgery

At Laser Spine Institute, our board-certified surgeons+ perform minimally invasive spine surgery that has helped more than 60,000 patients find relief since 2005. These procedures are performed on an outpatient basis using muscle-sparing techniques, offering many advantages to our patients.

To learn more, reach out to our dedicated team of Spine Care Consultants today for a no-cost MRI review* to determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures.