Spondylolisthesis: learn about symptoms and treatments

Spondylolisthesis is a condition where one vertebra slips forward over the one beneath it. This condition is most common in the lumbar (lower) region of the spine, mainly due to the amount of pressure and wear placed on it by supporting the upper body. Athletes like weightlifters, football players and gymnasts can be prone to spondylolisthesis because of the tremendous amount of stress they place on their lower backs. Although the condition does occur in athletes, it more often results from the natural aging process, with birth defects and traumatic injury being other causes.

Spondylolisthesis symptoms

Like many spine conditions, symptoms are typically related to compression of spinal nerves, like the spinal cord or a nerve root. Even in less severe cases of spondylolisthesis, the symptoms can be debilitating and life-affecting. Commonly reported symptoms include:

  • Lower back pain
  • Pain and stiffness in the thighs and buttocks
  • Tingling and numbness
  • Muscle weakness

A doctor can confirm the presence of spondylolisthesis with diagnostic testing like and X-ray or an MRI and then use a specialized spondylolisthesis grading scale based on the actual amount of slippage.

Your treatment options

The spondylolisthesis treatment process can vary depending on the severity of the condition. Pain from many lower-grade cases can be managed with doctor-recommend conservative treatments like rest, medication, lifestyle changes or a back brace. Other treatment options may include physical therapy, epidural injections and chiropractic care. If you have been diagnosed with spondylolisthesis and months of these techniques have not brought acceptable relief for a return to your normal activities, surgery can then become an option.

Traditional open back surgery often involves a large muscle-severing incision that requires overnight hospitalization and a long rehabilitation period. The minimally invasive spine surgery performed at Laser Spine Institute’s outpatient centers is a safer and effective alternative to traditional surgery.^ Our highly skilled surgeons perform both minimally invasive decompression and stabilization procedures to treat the symptoms of spondylolisthesis directly at the source of nerve compression.

For more information on the minimally invasive procedures Laser Spine Institute offers, contact our dedicated team today. We can review your MRI report at no cost* to help you determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures.