Spondylolisthesis

WHAT IT IS AND WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT.

doctor examine a patient with Spondylolisthesis

The word “spondylolisthesis” comes from the Greek word spondylos, which means “spine” or “vertebra,” and listhesis, which means “to slip or slide.” Therefore, it’s easy to figure out that spondylolisthesis is a condition in which one vertebra slips out of place and onto the vertebra below it. The condition typically affects the vertebra of the lower back. If the vertebra slips too far, it may press on a nerve, which will cause pain.

 

The three most common forms of the condition are:

  • Degenerative Spondylolisthesis is the most common form and happens with aging as the discs that cushion the vertebrae become less spongy.
  • Congenital Spondylolisthesis where an abnormal bone formation is present at birth.
  • Isthmic Spondylolisthesis, which is the result of a condition called spondylolysis that leads to small stress fractures in the vertebrae.

 

Less common are:

  • Traumatic Spondylolisthesis occurs when an injury causes a spinal fracture.
  • Pathological Spondylolisthesis occurs when a disease like osteoporosis, a tumor, or an infection weakens the spine.
  • Post-Surgical Spondylolisthesis sometimes happens after spine surgery.

Symptoms

Symptoms of spondylolisthesis include:

  • Lower back pain
  • Muscle tightness and stiffness
  • Pain in the buttocks
  • Pain radiating down the legs

Treatment

For many patients, non-surgical treatment is successful in relieving their pain. These treatments may include pain medication or NSAIDs, oral steroids, heat/ice application, and/or physical therapy.

 

If non-surgical treatment doesn’t prove effective in relieving pain, surgery may be recommended. BSSNY offers several surgical options, including minimally invasive ones.

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