What causes spondylolisthesis?

Spondylolisthesis is a degenerative spine condition that occurs when one vertebra in the spine slips over the vertebra below it, indicating spinal misalignment. When this vertebral misalignment causes compression of the spinal cord or one of the nerve roots, a number of painful symptoms may appear.

Causes of spondylolisthesis

Picture your spinal column. Your spine is formed of a series of bones, known as vertebrae, which are stacked on top of one another. These vertebrae are separated by intervertebral discs and stabilized by vertebral joints known as facet joints. Sometimes, as a result of a traumatic injury or a degenerative spine condition, one vertebra can slip on top of another. If a minor slippage occurs, you may have no symptoms and be unaware of this change. But if nerve compression occurs, painful symptoms can appear, including:

  • Local pain
  • Pain that radiates along the compressed nerve
  • Muscle fatigue
  • Stiffness or soreness
  • A burning feeling in the nerves
  • Numbness or tingling

Treatment for spondylolisthesis

Treatment options for spondylolisthesis vary depending on the severity of the spinal misalignment. If you are having symptoms of spondylolisthesis, you may want to try conservative, non-invasive treatment methods first. Stretching and low-impact exercises can help to strengthen your lower back and take some pressure off the spine. If you do not experience pain relief from conservative, nonsurgical treatment options, your doctor may recommend spinal surgery. Spinal surgery can help to recreate space in the canals for the spinal cord and nerve roots.

Minimally invasive surgery for spondylolisthesis

At Laser Spine Institute, we offer several minimally invasive decompression procedures that can be very effective for patients with spondylolisthesis and other degenerative spine conditions. Minimally invasive procedures at our center include:

  • Foraminotomy — to relieve pressure on nerves that exit the spinal cord
  • Laminotomy — to relieve pressure on the spinal cord compressed by spinal stenosis
  • Discectomy — removes a portion of a herniated or bulging disc that is pressing on a nerve root or the spinal cord
  • Facet thermal ablation — to deaden the painful nerves in the facet joint

We also offer a minimally invasive stabilization surgery for spondylolisthesis called transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion. This outpatient procedure is a safer and more effective alternative to traditional open back surgery. During the TLIF procedure, the damaged disc is removed and implants are inserted to help stabilize the spine. Transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion offers you a number of benefits compared to traditional back surgery, including a small incision and a reduced risk of infection.

Call a member of our Care Team today to learn more about how TLIF can help to relieve your back pain. Our goal at Laser Spine Institute is to always offer you the highest level of comfort and care, so that you can live and move more comfortably, and return to your daily activities.