Spondylolisthesis is a condition where one vertebra slips forward over the one beneath it. This condition is most common in the lumbar, or lower back, 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.
Like many spine conditions, you will generally experience symptoms only when displaced material compresses a nerve in the spine, 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 will use an X-ray in most cases to confirm the presence of spondylolisthesis, 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 has concerning elements, including large, muscle-severing incisions that require 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 that can 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 team of caring professionals who can review your MRI report and help you take the first steps to reclaiming your life from chronic pain.