Cervical spondylolisthesis overview

Cervical spondylolisthesis can be difficult to diagnose because it is relatively rare and its symptoms are similar to those of other upper spine conditions. Typically, each vertebral body aligns with the one above and below it, although when spondylolisthesis occurs, there is a slippage of the vertebra in the spine. Cervical spondylolisthesis takes place in the neck region that begins at the base of the skull and continues down to the top of the rib cage.

Lumbar (lower) spondylolisthesis, which is the most common form of spondylolisthesis, often results from trauma to the spine, such as heavy lifting or athletic activity. However, cervical spondylolisthesis typically results from a neck injury or age-related conditions like arthritis. Spondylolisthesis can also be congenital, meaning it is a genetic condition present at birth. This condition can have a severe impact on your life, making even the simplest, everyday tasks difficult to accomplish. In the following article, you will learn about cervical spondylolisthesis symptoms and treatment options that will help you get your life back from this chronic condition.

Cervical spondylolisthesis symptoms

Symptoms of cervical spondylolisthesis include neck pain and stiffness, while the course of treatment depends on the severity of the condition. If the vertebral slippage is enough to compress a spinal nerve, radiating symptoms can also affect the shoulders, arms, hands and fingers. These symptoms include:

  • Shooting or burning pain in the shoulders and arms
  • Tingling sensation and numbness
  • Weakness in the hands and fingers
  • Loss of bladder/bowel control

Similar to other conditions affecting the neck and back, treating cervical spondylolisthesis usually begins with a course of conservative options. Your doctor may first recommend core-strengthening exercises, physical therapy or flexibility exercises to restabilize the spine as a way to prevent further slippage. Pain medication or an epidural steroid injection may also be prescribed before recommending surgery as a last resort.

Cervical spondylolisthesis surgery

If you have been diagnosed with cervical spondylolisthesis, and are still in pain after exhausting nonsurgical treatments, it may be time to explore the benefits of an outpatient spine procedure. Laser Spine Institute offers minimally invasive spine surgery to help treat the symptoms of cervical spondylolisthesis. Because our surgeons access the spine using a less than 1-inch incision, our procedures result in a no lengthy recovery^ and less risk of complication than traditional open neck or back surgery.

If you are considering surgery, but are concerned about the risks and difficulties of traditional open neck or back surgery, contact Laser Spine Institute today. We offer a safer and effective alternative to traditional procedures and 81 percent of our patients are able to return to work within 3 months after surgery.^

Our dedicated team can provide you with a no-cost MRI review* to determine if you are a potential candidate for our outpatient procedures.