Spondylolisthesis symptoms and diagnosis

Understand spondylolisthesis symptoms using this helpful resource from Laser Spine Institute.

Spondylolisthesis symptoms range from mild to severe; in fact, often there are no symptoms at all and a patient will discover the presence of spondylolisthesis in an X-ray of an unrelated condition. Spondylolisthesis is a slipping of a vertebra over the disc beneath it, and the amount of slippage is measured using a grading scale — grade 1 being the least amount of slippage, and grade 5 being the greatest amount. In general, the greater the slippage, the more severe the spondylolisthesis symptoms, meaning, a person with grade 1 may be completely unaware he or she has a spinal defect, whereas a person with grade 4 or 5 spondylolisthesis may experience extreme pain and an inability to perform certain tasks.

Spondylolisthesis symptoms include pain and tenderness in the back, muscle spasms, stiffness in the hamstrings or buttock pain. The most common symptom of spondylolisthesis is lower back pain, and this pain is usually aggravated by activities that put extra stress on the lower back or by activities that cause the back to hyperextend (bent backward). Spondylolisthesis also can affect body mobility, causing you to walk in shorter strides with slightly bent knees or in a “waddling” motion. It can also affect posture, causing a recessed curvature in the lower spine and a protruding abdomen.

If you are experiencing any of these spondylolisthesis symptoms, it is important to be aware of all of the many spondylolisthesis treatment options available to you. Typically, you will start with conservative, nonsurgical treatments like stretching, back bracing, pain medication, physical therapy and chiropractic care. Before you start any treatment, however, it’s vital to consult with your physician who can provide you with a personalized treatment plan.

If these treatments fail to provide you with lasting relief, Laser Spine Institute offers minimally invasive decompression and stabilization procedures to treat spondylolisthesis symptoms. Our procedures, which are performed in an outpatient setting, offer quicker recovery times^ compared to traditional open back surgery.^

If you have been diagnosed with spondylolisthesis and have tried more conservative treatments but are still experiencing pain or limited mobility, Laser Spine Institute understands your pain and frustration and is here to help. Contact us today to learn more about our minimally invasive procedures and ask to receive a review of your most recent MRI or CT scan.