Spondylolisthesis treatment options provided by the orthopedic experts at Laser Spine Institute St. Louis
Spondylolisthesis is a degenerative condition that usually occurs in the lumbar (lower) spine and can affect the integrity of the spine and produce troublesome symptoms. If you are concerned that you might be experiencing the symptoms of this condition, see a physician who can provide a diagnosis.
What is spondylolisthesis?
Spondylolisthesis describes a vertebra that has slipped out of its normal position in the spine. This slippage can occur in any direction, and is usually the result of one or more other degenerative conditions that have caused the spine to deteriorate and lose its normal stability.
When diagnosing spondylolisthesis, your physician will assign a grade of 1 to 5 (5 being the most severe) to characterize the level of your condition so the proper treatment plan can be devised. The diagnosis process will include a review of your medical history, a physical examination and an X-ray or MRI to pinpoint the location of your issue.
How does spondylolisthesis develop?
Ultimately, the breakdown of the spine due to the natural aging process is the cause of spondylolisthesis. As conditions such as bulging discs, ruptured discs and spinal osteoarthritis develop, they make it easier for the vertebrae in the spine to move from their natural position. Injuries from high-impact sports or jobs that require frequent heavy lifting can also contribute to the development of spondylolisthesis.
Common symptoms of spondylolisthesis can include back stiffness, pain when the back is bent and pain in the thighs or buttocks. If the displaced vertebra makes contact with a nearby nerve root, then pain, tingling, numbness and muscle weakness can occur in the area of the body that is affected by the affected nerve root.
Conservative and alternative spondylolisthesis treatment
Depending on the severity of your spondylolisthesis symptoms, you may be able to find relief through nonsurgical treatments, including physical therapy, corticosteroid injections, stretching exercises and over-the-counter medications. Some patients also try alternative options such as chiropractic manipulation, yoga, massage therapy and acupuncture.
Surgical treatment of spondylolisthesis
Many patients will experience relief and be able to return to an active lifestyle after several weeks or months of conservative and alternative treatments. However, for more severe spondylolisthesis cases that don’t respond to other treatments, surgery may be the best option. At Laser Spine Institute in St. Louis, MO, our minimally invasive surgery requires less than a 1-inch incision and utilizes muscle-sparing techniques, reducing the recovery time in comparison to open spine surgery.^
Contact us today for a no-cost MRI review* to find out if you are a potential candidate for one of our outpatient procedures.