Finding relief from the symptoms of low-grade spondylolisthesis

Spondylolisthesis is a forward slippage of one vertebra over the other in the spine. If this slippage causes any interference with the spinal cord or nerve roots, painful symptoms can occur. The degree that the vertebra is displaced can affect the severity of your symptoms. Low-grade spondylolisthesis, usually defined as anything less than 50 percent slippage, can cause pain, numbness, tingling and muscle weakness both locally and out to the extremities. Even though it is classified as low grade, if you have these symptoms, you know they can take you away from your life — whether that means time spent with family or hobbies like fixing your motorcycle. While the higher grades of spondylolisthesis often require surgery, most patients with low-grade spondylolisthesis can relieve their symptoms with conservative, nonsurgical treatments.

Nonsurgical treatments

Conservative treatments of low-grade spondylolisthesis do not try to correct vertebral slippage itself. Rather, they focus on relieving symptoms caused by nerve compression. The symptoms of low-grade spondylolisthesis are often managed with one or more of the following conservative treatments:

  • Over-the-counter pain medication, such as naproxen or ibuprofen
  • Lifestyle changes, like diet and exercise, reducing alcohol consumption and quitting smoking
  • Physical therapy
  • Alternating hot and cold compression on the area

Surgical treatment for low-grade spondylolisthesis

If you have been through several weeks or months of conservative treatment for your low-grade spondylolisthesis and it has not relieved your symptoms, the next recommendation may be surgery to decompress the nerve and possibly stabilize the spine.

Laser Spine Institute offers minimally invasive spine surgery to treat a full range of spondylolisthesis symptoms, or to even provide some correction of the condition itself. Minimally invasive procedures use smaller incisions to dramatically reduce recovery time^ compared to traditional open back surgery and have a reduced risk for infection. Contact our Care Team to receive a review of your MRI report to determine if you’re a candidate for a minimally invasive spine procedure. We want to help you get your life back from back pain.