What Is Spondylolisthesis and What Are the Symptoms?

Spondylolisthesis is a spinal condition that impacts the lower back. When one or more of the vertebrae is unstable, they can slip forward on the bone underneath it. Spondylolisthesis can cause debilitating pain, but various treatments are available. An orthopedic specialist from NJ Spine & Orthopedic can evaluate your situation and advise you on the best treatment options.
If you are suffering from lower back pain, you could have spondylolisthesis and not know it. Until you have the chance to meet with one of our specialists, the following provides introductory information about the condition, symptoms, and treatment. Our Concierge Team can also help streamline your treatment and accommodation needs.

What Is Spondylolisthesis?

Spondylolisthesis is a medical condition that affects the spine, specifically the vertebrae, which are the small bones that make up the spinal column. It occurs when one of the vertebrae slips forward over the vertebra below it. This displacement can cause pressure on the spinal nerves or the spinal cord, leading to pain and other neurological symptoms.

Spondylolisthesis can occur at any level of the spine, but it most commonly affects the lower back or the neck. Medical professionals categorize spondylolisthesis as low-grade or high-grade, depending on how far the injured vertebra has slipped. High-grade slippage refers to a situation in which over 50% of the width of an injured vertebra slips. High-grade slippage leads to more pain, possible nerve injuries, and a high likelihood of surgical intervention.

Symptoms of Spondylolisthesis

People with mild spondylolisthesis might not experience any symptoms at all. However, in the most severe cases, many people cannot perform regular daily tasks like getting dressed. Each case is different and sometimes the symptoms are not obvious.

Lower back pain is the most common symptom of spondylolisthesis. The pain might feel similar to a muscle strain and radiate to the buttocks and the back of the thighs. It’s also common for pain from spondylolisthesis to worsen with activity and get better with rest.

Sometimes people with spondylolisthesis also experience muscle spasms and other symptoms, such as:

  • Stiff back
  • Tight hamstring muscles
  • Trouble walking or standing

Finally, those with high-grade slippage often experience tingling or numbness in one or both legs because of pressure on the spinal nerve root.

Treatments for Spondylolisthesis

Although spondylolisthesis can be very painful, it is highly treatable. Most cases of spondylolisthesis do not have to be treated surgically. However, surgery is necessary for some patients.

Non-Surgical Treatments

Non-surgical treatments typically lead to a major improvement in symptoms and a reduction in back pain for those with low-grade spondylolisthesis. Common nonsurgical treatments include:

  • Rest
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Physical therapy
  • Back brace

During treatment, you can expect your doctor to take the occasional X-ray to check whether the injured vertebra is moving around.

Surgical Treatments

Those who have high-grade slippage or slippage that continues to get worse often need surgery to treat spondylolisthesis. The same is true when someone has tried non-surgical treatments without getting any relief from their back pain. Spinal fusion is the most common surgical treatment for patients with spondylolisthesis.

Spinal fusion to treat spondylolisthesis involves fusing the injured vertebrae together so that they heal into a singular bone. Fusion prevents motion between the damaged vertebrae, which should, in theory, relieve back pain. Additionally, spinal fusion prevents continued slippage and stabilizes the spine.

Contact the Experienced Back and Spine Specialists at NJ Spine & Orthopedic Today

Spondylolisthesis can be painful and make it difficult for people to function. Several non-surgical treatments can help people reduce pain and improve mobility. When non-surgical treatments don’t work or the spondylolisthesis is too severe to respond, surgery is an option. The experienced back and spine specialists at NJ Spine & Orthopedic can evaluate your medical records and advise you on which treatments are best for you.

We work with various insurance providers and our experienced, award-winning surgeons have taught other surgeons groundbreaking techniques. Contact us online or at (866) 553-0612 to learn more about the best treatment option for you.

Related Blog Posts

Can a Nerve Block Help Your Lower Back Pain?

Experiencing lower back pain is a common issue that affects a significant portion of the population. This type of discomfort can range from a mild, nagging ache to severe, debilitating pain that …

What Is the Connection Between Heel Spurs and Plantar Fasciitis?

When it comes to foot pain, two conditions often emerge as primary culprits: heel spurs and plantar fasciitis. At first glance, the pain from a heel spur – a small, bony growth …

LETS GET IN CONTACT

For immediate assistance, please call 855.586.2615
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.