Who can ascertain a spondylolisthesis diagnosis?

Ascertaining a spondylolisthesis diagnosis is incredibly important for those who experience the painful symptoms of this condition, as it will determine the types of treatment they will receive. For this reason, if you believe you may have spondylolisthesis — the slippage of one vertebra past the vertebra below it — you should always consult an experienced, board-certified physician to obtain a diagnosis so that an effective treatment plan can begin.

Types of qualified physicians

There are many types of physicians to choose from, and some are considered spine specialists. These individuals have closely studied the spine, are familiar with its anatomy and the general conditions that can affect it, and likely are more able to provide a correct spondylolisthesis diagnosis.

Often the type of physician a patient consults with will depend on the underlying disorder or condition that caused vertebral slippage in the first place. For example, a patient whose advanced spinal arthritis and weakened facet joints contributed to the development of degenerative spondylolisthesis may be referred to a rheumatologist. This type of physician specializes in diagnosing and treating disorders of the jointed areas of the body. A patient whose condition occurred as a result of strenuous and repetitive sports activity may see an orthopedist — a physician trained in treating disorders of the skeletal system — for a spondylolisthesis diagnosis.

Course of treatment

In most cases, if the vertebral slippage is not severe enough to compromise the stability of the spine, a physician will likely recommend a course of conservative, non-surgical treatment for a patient who has received a spondylolisthesis diagnosis. Treatments such as physical therapy, anti-inflammatory drugs and epidural steroid injections are often able to relieve the pain, numbness, weakness and tingling in the extremities commonly associated with spinal nerve compression caused by vertebral slippage.

Surgical considerations

In the event that conservative therapies are unable to relieve a patient’s symptoms, a physician might suggest surgery. Although invasive, open spine surgery could be required to properly treat some severe cases, other spondylolisthesis patients may be candidates for a minimally invasive procedure offered at Laser Spine Institute. As the leader in minimally invasive spine surgery, we offer both minimally invasive decompression and minimally invasive stabilization procedures to treat varying degrees of spondylolisthesis and relieve pain.

If you find yourself in the frustrating situation where you are recommended for surgery to treat your spondylolisthesis symptoms, contact Laser Spine Institute today to learn more about our outpatient procedures and if you could be a potential candidate.