WHAT IS SPONDYLOLISTHESIS AND WHAT CAUSES IT?
WATCH VIDEOSpondylolisthesis refers to the slippage of a vertebra in the spinal column either forwards or backwards. There are five major causes of spondylolisthesis which include degenerative disc diseases, bone fractures, birth abnormalities, defects in the bone, and traumatic injuries.
HOW CAN I PREVENT SPONDYLOLISTHESIS?
The risk of developing spondylolisthesis can be reduced by maintaining the health of the spine and pelvis. This can be done by maintaining a healthy body weight, not sitting in one place for prolonged periods of time, using chairs with firm back support, exercising regularly, and maintaining core strength.
IF I HAVE SPONDYLOLISTHESIS, WHAT SYMPTOMS MIGHT I NOTICE?
Spondylolisthesis exists mainly in the lower back (lumbar region) and the neck (cervical region). In the lower back, symptoms include localized back pain that may radiate to the buttocks and thighs, muscle tightness and stiffness, tenderness in the area of the spondylolisthesis, reduced range of motion in the lower back, numbness and tingling sensations in the legs and muscular weakness if the condition is allowed to progress far enough.
In the neck, common symptoms include localized pain that may radiate to the shoulder and arm, muscle tightness and stiffness, tenderness in the area of the spondylolisthesis, reduced range of motion in the neck, numbness and tingling sensations in the arms, and muscular weakness.
WHEN SHOULD I CONSULT WITH A DOCTOR?
A doctor should be consulted when the pain from spondylolisthesis is affecting your quality of life.
HOW CAN A PHYSICIAN DETERMINE IF I HAVE SPONDYLOLISTHESIS?
A spondylolisthesis diagnosis can be suspected when a physician evaluates symptoms and performs a comprehensive physical examination. This diagnosis is confirmed with a MRI or CT scan which also reveals additional information about the extent of the problem.
HOW IS A SPONDYLOLISTHESIS TREATED?
Spondylolisthesis can be managed by a number of treatment options in combination. These options include anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy, exercise focused on core stability, over the counter or prescription pain medication, and direct steroid joint injections. In some cases a neck or back brace may be added. It is only after symptoms cannot be contained by these measures that a minimally invasive surgical procedure may be considered.