Spondylolisthesis treatment information

In general, spondylolisthesis treatment is necessary only if pain and other uncomfortable symptoms develop. This condition occurs when a spinal bone becomes unstable and slips forward so that it excessively overlaps the bone situated immediately below it. The bone slippage itself is usually not problematic. However, a misaligned spinal bone can cause discomfort if it is positioned in such a way that it presses on the spinal cord or a nerve root. That’s because irritated and compressed nerve tissue sometimes sends faulty signals, which can lead to localized and radiating pain, weakness, numbness and tingling. Symptoms like these may prompt an individual to seek spondylolisthesis treatment.

Conservative treatment options

Given time (a few weeks or months), spondylolisthesis symptoms may improve on their own. In the meantime, conservative spondylolisthesis treatment is usually sufficient for relieving any discomfort. Surgery is rarely needed.

For most patients, a treatment plan consisting of one or more nonsurgical measures can be helpful for getting through a painful episode. Some options include:

  • A brief period of rest (no more than two to three days)
  • Activity modification to avoid movements and positions that tend to worsen symptoms, such as bending, lifting and participating in high-impact sports and exercises
  • A physical therapy program designed to increase spinal range of motion and strengthen core muscles
  • Over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) taken as needed to reduce painful swelling around nerve tissue
  • Epidural steroid injections, if necessary, to address severe pain, numbness or tingling in the legs
  • A hyperextension brace to limit forward bending, which can interfere with the healing process
  • Heat and ice applications to promote relaxation and reduce swelling as needed

Surgical treatment options

If spondylolisthesis symptoms do not improve enough with nonsurgical treatment, surgery may be considered to address the spinal bone slippage and resulting spinal cord or nerve root compression. Individuals who are in this situation should be aware that a highly invasive open spine operation may not be their only option.

For instance, the surgeons at Laser Spine Institute perform minimally invasive procedures that are suitable alternatives to traditional open spine surgery for some individuals. By helping more than 60,000 patients return to their active lifestyles, Laser Spine Institute has earned a 97 percent patient satisfaction score.

If a physician has suggested that surgery may be the best form of spondylolisthesis treatment to relieve your symptoms, you are encouraged to investigate your minimally invasive options. Contact us for an MRI review at no cost* to find out if you are a candidate for one of our outpatient procedures.