Can spondylolisthesis symptoms affect your everyday life?

Not all patients diagnosed with spondylolisthesis will experience symptoms, but for those who do, the discomfort can be very disruptive to normal activities and quality of life. Spondylolisthesis is characterized by the forward slippage of one vertebra over the vertebra below it and the condition is most often diagnosed in the lumbar (lower) region of the spine.

Living with spondylolisthesis discomfort

In some cases, a displaced vertebra compresses the spinal cord or a nerve root. The occurrence of compression is what will typically give rise to the most painful spondylolisthesis symptoms, which could start to get in the way of living your life. Compression of the spinal cord or nerve roots in the lumbar spine typically leads to lower back pain, as well as radiating pain, tingling, numbness and weakness in the lower extremities. Additionally, lower back stiffness, hamstring tightness and changes to posture and gait may occur. This can make the following activities extremely difficult:

  • Sitting
  • Standing
  • Walking
  • Exercising
  • Sleeping on your stomach or back

Spondylolisthesis treatment

To help reduce spondylolisthesis symptoms, a doctor will likely recommend you begin a course of conservative treatments. This treatment plan may include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and epidural steroid injections to reduce inflammation and pain, physical therapy to improve core muscle strength and the application of heat or ice to relax muscles and numb pain, respectively. Only after attempting these methods for weeks or months with no significant improvement will surgery usually be considered.

Laser Spine Institute

If you are looking into surgery and are concerned about some of the difficulties involved, consider the minimally invasive spine surgery performed at Laser Spine Institute. Our highly-skilled surgeons perform these procedures in an outpatient setting at our state-of-the-art centers across the United States. By using muscle-sparing techniques, our procedures can be performed with a less-than-1-inch incision. This allows our patients to experience a shorter recovery time when compared to traditional open neck or back surgery.^ Contact Laser Spine Institute today to learn more.

You can ask a member of our dedicated team for a free MRI review* to find out if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures.