Our spine is a sturdy structure, and it needs to be. Throughout its lifetime it can suffer a myriad of different abuses based on our lifestyle, and eventually, the simple truths of time and wear and tear can result in damage. One form of damage that can occur to our spine is spondylolisthesis, a condition where our spinal vertebrae slip out of alignment, resulting in pain, stiffness, and pressure on our spinal cord. In cases where the spinal cord or nerves are impacted, you may experience tingling, numbness, or chronic pain in your lower back. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it may be time to see your Spine Surgeon in Columbia, South Carolina, Dr. Peelle, about spondylolisthesis.
Spondylolisthesis typically onsets in adults and those later in life as the impact of daily living results in a misalignment of our spinal column. However, injuries can also occur when we’re young and not become apparent until we grow into adulthood. The former version is known as degenerative spondylolisthesis, the latter as isthmic spondylolisthesis. Typically treatable with non-invasive and conservative forms of treatment such as physical therapy and medication, spinal surgery may be necessary in more severe cases. Thankfully, minimally invasive spinal surgery is available through most locations, providing a rapid recovery time.
1. What are the causes of spondylolisthesis?
Spondylolisthesis typically results in aging patients as a simple result of getting older. With the onset of age-related conditions like osteoarthritis, the disc between the vertebral joints can begin to slip out of alignment. In younger patients, the cause is often injury related, often from high-impact sports and poor posture, but can also result from stress fractures from childhood. In those cases, the symptoms don’t typically occur until the patient. Obesity and smoking are also contributing factors.
2. What are the symptoms of spondylolisthesis?
Most indicators of spondylolisthesis are nerve and sensation related, and most commonly manifest as chronic pain in the case of degenerative spondylolisthesis, the form typically experienced as a result of age. In the case of isthmic spondylolisthesis pain is experienced during moments of high-impact exercise, or when the spine is bent backward (hyperextension) during physical activity, especially power-lifting, certain stretches, and gymnastics.
3. What treatment options are available for spondylolisthesis?
The treatment for your spondylolisthesis will be determined based on contributing factors like age, overall health condition, and severity of your case. For most minor cases you can expect to have physical therapy prescribed, especially those forms that serve to strengthen the lower back and specific stretches that will result in increased limberness. For certain cases, Dr. Peelle may prescribe over the counter medication, and in the most severe cases, surgery may be necessary.
4. Is Surgery necessary for spondylolisthesis?
In cases of spondylolisthesis, surgery is typically kept as a last resort, only in cases where the patient is experienced advanced slippage of the vertebrae or more conservative treatments haven’t produced results after months of effort. Thankfully minimally invasive spinal surgery is available for use in most cases, resulting in far quicker recovery times and fewer side-effects than traditional open surgery used in these cases.