What should I do if I think I have spondylolisthesis?

If you believe that your back pain may be related to spondylolisthesis, or vertebral slippage, it is extremely important that you visit your physician for a precise diagnosis and treatment. As with other degenerative spine conditions, the symptoms of spondylolisthesis can often be managed conservatively as long as the spinal misalignment isn’t severe and your symptoms aren’t debilitating. Spine surgery is normally reserved as a last resort for pain relief after nonsurgical treatments have been fully exhausted.

Preparing to see your doctor

The first step toward overcoming your symptoms is to prepare for your initial doctor’s appointment. Be sure to take detailed notes about your specific symptoms, their duration, the exact location of the discomfort and any other pertinent details you can think of; even the smallest details may be helpful. If your pain is worse in the morning or if your pain goes away when you bend your back a certain way, jot it down. Quite often people forget to mention these facts to their doctor when they could be helpful for diagnosing the condition and locating the problem area in the spine.

Diagnosing spondylolisthesis

Your doctor will likely begin the appointment by examining your medical history and asking you a series of questions about your condition. From there, he or she will complete a medical examination and attempt to identify the cause and location of your condition. If spondylolisthesis is believed to be the source of your symptoms, your doctor will likely refer you to a medical imagery center for an MRI or CT scan. These forms of diagnostic imagery are more detailed than an X-ray and can help locate the specific location of the spinal deterioration as well as identify any related issues that may be present.

Treatments for spondylolisthesis

Treatment for spondylolisthesis is usually first attempted conservatively with methods that include:

  • Periods of rest
  • Physical therapy
  • Medication
  • Stretching exercises
  • Back bracing
  • Spinal injections
  • Hot/cold therapy
  • Posture improvement
  • Nutritional counseling and weight management

In the event that you don’t find sufficient pain relief from these treatments or the spondylolisthesis is severe, surgery may be recommended to relieve symptoms and potentially offer relief from symptoms. If you have exhausted conservative treatments and are considering undergoing surgery, contact Laser Spine Institute to learn more about the benefits of minimally invasive spine surgery. Our minimally invasive decompression and minimally invasive stabilization procedures can treat spondylolisthesis and other degenerative spine conditions on an outpatient basis through the use of muscle-sparing techniques.

We can help you receive a free MRI or CT scan review* to determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures.