Spondylolisthesis — finding symptom relief without surgery
Spondylolisthesis is a spine condition that describes slippage of the vertebrae in the spine, which can be caused by a number of factors, including age, injury or congenital birth defect. This condition most commonly occurs in the lumbar (lower) portion of the spine and results in symptoms of pain and limited range of motion in the spine. If left untreated, this condition could result in difficulty performing daily tasks and an overall decrease in quality of life.
If you have been diagnosed with spondylolisthesis, you should consult your doctor about the treatment options available to you. While you may be wondering if surgery will be necessary, there are several options to treat the condition and reduce the pain and side effects associated with spondylolisthesis. While the effects of spondylolisthesis cannot be fully reversed, an effective conservative treatment plan can help you get back to normal activities. The following information can help you work more closely with your doctor and help you find the best treatment plan for your needs and your lifestyle.
Nonsurgical treatment for spondylolisthesis
Many cases of spondylolisthesis may respond well to conservative treatments. Spondylolisthesis describes the occurrence of a vertebra in the spine slipping and moving in front of the vertebra below it. There are conservative treatment options that can help you improve your alignment and strengthen core muscles to better support the spine.
Common forms of conservative treatment, especially for mild cases of spondylolisthesis, include:
- Chiropractic care. Chiropractors can help realign the spine through precise spinal adjustment. This may help decompress nerves affected by a vertebra moving out of its designated position in the spine.
- Physical therapy. Physical therapy can offer specific exercises and stretches to build the muscles around the spine and increase mobility. When done in conjunction with chiropractic care, the spine can be straightened and the muscles around it can strengthen to hold everything in place.
- Restorative yoga. Much like physical therapy, yoga strengthens and stretches the core muscles in your back. Be sure to choose a yoga class that fits your needs and does not aggravate your condition with overexertion.
Consult your primary care physician about finding the right treatment options for your needs. Many conservative treatment methods can be combined, and may also include hot and cold compresses, pain medication and spinal injection.
When to consider surgery for spondylolisthesis
If you do not find lasting relief from conservative treatments, your doctor may ask you to consider spine surgery.
At Laser Spine Institute, we offer a safer and effective alternative to traditional open spine surgery.^ Our minimally invasive decompression and minimally invasive stabilization surgeries are performed on an outpatient basis through the use of muscle-sparing techniques. This results in a streamlined experience for our patients, with less risk of complication compared to traditional open neck or back surgery.