Spondylolisthesis Overview

Spondylolisthesis is a condition of the spine that results in this misalignment of the natural curvature of the spine. When it occurs the spine is pushed forward or backwards leading to cascading effects such as herniations and pinched nerves.

There are 5 different types of Spondylolisthesis; Degenerative, Isthmic, Dysplastic, Pathogenic and Traumatic.

Degenerative is a type commonly found in older adults. Isthmic is caused by small fractures in a part of the facet joint called the pars interarticularis and can be found in both adults and children. Dysplastic is casued by a congenital birth defect. Pathogenic is caused in most cases by diseases such as infections or tumors. Traumatic is when the Spondylolisthesis is brought on by a bone fracture.

Depending on the severity and type of Spondylolisthesis treatment will be suggested and in many cases treatment can be very successful.

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Spondylolisthesis may also be known as Spondylosis, Degenerative Spondylolisthesis, Isthmic Spondylolisthesis, Dysplastic Spondylolisthesis, Pathogenic Spondylolisthesis, Traumatic Spondylolisthesis.

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Symptoms of Spondylolisthesis

The symptoms of Spondylolisthesis are commonly found in other spinal conditions and in most cases an MRI is required in order to confirm diagnosis and proper treatment. As like other conditions of the spine if the symptoms of Spondylolisthesis are ignored they can become more serious and make successful treatment more difficult.

Symptoms to look for if you think you may be suffering from Spondylolisthesis are:

  • Radiating pain
  • Pain gets worse when doing activities (walking, running).
  • Pain is relieved when resting (sitting, lying down).
  • A fracture or injury to the vertebrae in the past can increase risk.
  • Tingling or numbness in the leg
  • Pain feels worse when bending over or stooping.
  • Difficulty controlling bladder or bowel movements
  • Tingling, weakness that radiates from the lower back into the buttocks and legs.
  • Limited range of motion
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Spondylolisthesis Causes

The causes of Spondylolisthesis are dependent on the type of which there are 5; Degenerative, Isthmic, Dysplastic, Pathogenic and Traumatic. With so many different types and ways to contract the condition, exact causes are difficult to pinpoint without a proper diagnosis.

In the case of an individual with Dysplastic Spondylolisthesis they may be in great shape and have experienced no trauma, however, since it was a congenital birth defect it can go unnnoticed until symptoms present.

In all cases of Spondylolisthesis an accurate diagnosis is key to receiving the proper treatment.

  • Occurs in people over the age of 50 and is more common after age 65
  • Recent Injury or Fall.
  • Engage in too much or too strenuous exertion

Spondylolisthesis Treatments

As with many other conditons of the spine intial treatment of Spondylolisthesis is typically approached with less invasive techniques such as a combination of Physical Therapy with Pain Management techniques and anti inflamatory medications.

If conservative treatments fail to provide results more aggressive treatments such as surgery can be looked into as options.

Some treatments available for individuals suffering from Spondylolisthesis are:

Spondylolisthesis Diagnosis

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