Spondylolisthesis, or a slipped disc, can cause severe pain and a variety of other symptoms. Spondylolisthesis is a condition that is caused by one of the bones in the spine, or the vertebrae, slipping out of its position and onto the bone (vertebrae) below that position. The vertebrae might slip toward the vertebrae in front or behind its original location, distorting the natural shape of your spine.
How Do I Know If I Have Spondylolisthesis?
Spondylolisthesis typically happens in the neck (cervical) or lower back (lumbar) area, though it can occur anywhere on the spine. If the vertebrae slips too far, the bones it is slipping towards can then press on the nerves of the spinal cord, causing intense pain that requires treatment, often in the form of surgery.
The pain and other symptoms associated with spondylolisthesis depend on the severity of vertebrae slippage. Some common symptoms include localized or radiating pain in the back, neck, arms, legs, or buttocks, tightening and stiffening of the muscles, lack of mobility, decrease range of motion, numbness, and tingling. These symptoms are typically worse when walking, standing, or participating in physical activities. Rest can provide short-term relief.
There are several causes of spondylolisthesis, with overuse or damage to the spine being the most common. Stress fractures of the vertebra are common in athletes and others who participate in frequent physical activity or those with a labor-intensive occupation. Stress fractures associated with these activities often weaken the bones in the spine, causing them to shift out of place, hence spondylolisthesis. The condition can also have a genetic origin, such as being born with vertebra that are thin, which increases your risk of them slipping out of place.
Other complications include reduced physical activity, diminished mobility, weight gain, chronic back pain, infection of the spine, and possible permanent damage of the spinal nerve roots.
Are you worried you may have spondylolisthesis? Try our Condition Check Tool to find out exactly what you’re suffering from and take the first step towards a pain-free life.
What is the Right Treatment for Me?
The treatment needed for spondylolisthesis depends largely on how severe the symptoms are. Our doctors prefer beginning with non-invasive options first, and only recommend surgery if other treatments have failed to relieve your pain.
Conservative treatment options include medications, such as anti-inflammatory or prescription pain relief drugs, a back brace to keep the body properly aligned to avoid any unnecessary damage, short-term rest, and physical therapy.
The last treatment option for spondylolisthesis is surgery. This is typically required for those suffering from extreme slippage and/or pain after conservative methods have failed. A severe case of spondylolisthesis can drastically affect your ability to perform daily activities, which makes surgery a smart choice and the best option at achieving a better quality of life. Many doctors will suggest a spinal fusion, but at NJ Spine & Orthopedic, we also offer a minimally invasive alternative to fusion called a laminoforaminotomy. This surgery is outpatient with no hospital stay and requires a reduced recovery time.
Do you think you have spondylolisthesis and are ready to find out which treatment option is best for you? Try our Treatment Check Tool and begin your journey towards relief today.