How to treat spondylolisthesis

The word spondylolisthesis (pronounced spon-dee-low-lis-thee-sis) comes from the Greek words “spondylos,” which means spine and “listhesis,” meaning slide. As the root words imply, the condition spondylolisthesis describes a spinal defect in which one vertebra slides over the vertebra below it. Spondylolisthesis is sometimes referred to as an anterior displacement of a vertebra. Although the displacement can occur in the cervical (neck), thoracic (middle back) or lumbar (lower back) regions of the spine, it is most common in the lower back. To learn how this condition is graded and the treatments available to ease your pain and discomfort, read the following article.

How spondylolisthesis is graded

A doctor can make a proper diagnosis of spondylolisthesis through an exploration of your medical history and a physical examination. In most cases, an MRI or CT scan will be arranged in order to determine the exact location of the vertebral slippage. This medical imagery is also used to determine the degree of slippage, which can range on a scale from 1 to 5.

Grade 1 means the vertebra has slipped up to 25 percent off its normal base. Grade 5 means it has completely slipped over the vertebra beneath it. In general, anything worse than Grade 2 slippage can only be treated surgically. While Grade 1 and 2 can cause significant pain mainly due to the compression of nerve roots or the spinal cord, these grades of spondylolisthesis may be initially treated through conservative methods or through minimally invasive spine surgery.

Explore all of your surgical options for spondylolisthesis

As previously mentioned, conservative treatment methods are considered practical for most cases of lower-grade spondylolisthesis. Common conservative treatments for lower-grade spondylolisthesis are aimed at symptom suppression, not the elimination of the condition itself, and may include back bracing, pain medication, low-impact exercise, chiropractic care and physical therapy. If your symptoms don’t improve after several weeks or months of conservative care and your spondylolisthesis is severe, your doctor may suggest surgery.

It will be important for you to consider all of your options before committing to any type of surgery. As the leader in minimally invasive spine surgery, Laser Spine Institute offers minimally invasive decompression, and in severe cases, stabilization procedures for spondylolisthesis and other neck and back conditions. Our minimally invasive spine surgery provides many advantages versus open neck or back surgery, such as lower risks of complication and faster recovery times.^ Contact us today to learn more about how our treatment for spondylolisthesis can help you.

At Laser Spine Institute, our commitment to minimally invasive procedures have made us the leader in minimally invasive spine surgery, allowing us to help more than 75,000 patients get their lives back from chronic neck and back pain. To treat spondylolisthesis, our highly skilled surgeons are able to use a small incision that is muscle sparing, allowing you to recapture your quality of life from this debilitating condition. Find out if you are a potential candidate for our minimally invasive spondylolisthesis surgery by reaching out to our dedicated team and asking for a free MRI review.* We are here to help guide you on your journey to wellness.