Spondylolisthesis is a spinal condition in which the spine’s vertebrae move forward in relation to the bones under it. It usually occurs in the lowe back region, also known as the lumbar spine. Symptoms may vary widely among individuals, but in most cases, Spondylolisthesis is curable.
Spondylolisthesis can be caused due to a variety of reasons concerning age, heredity, and lifestyle. With age, the spine starts to deteriorate due to continuous wear and tear, putting the elderly at a higher risk of developing Spondylolisthesis. However, some individuals may have a genetic predisposition to developing Spondylolisthesis if other family members also exhibit signs of the disorder. Specific sports that cause overstretching and stress in the back can also increase someone’s risk of developing Spondylolisthesis. Sports such as football, track and field activities, weightlifting, and gymnastics are incredibly hard on the back. Thus it is essential to ensure that one warms up nicely before these activities and maintains proper form while performing them. Another cause for developing Spondylolisthesis may be the rapid growth seen in individuals during puberty and adolescence.
Patients with Spondylolisthesis exhibit various symptoms with different degrees of seriousness. In many cases, the condition may be very mild and might go unnoticed. But for severe cases, the symptoms are pronounced and can lead to a lot of difficulty and discomfort to the patient. Patients experience persistent pain in the lower back that does not go away without medical intervention. Patients may also have stiffness in their legs and lower back. Patients may feel pain in their thighs and calf, making movement more strained. Patients also exhibit tenderness in the lower back and tightening in the buttocks and hamstring. If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms described above, please consult a doctor. Early diagnosis can help prevent further development of the disease and reduce the pain and discomfort you feel.
Diagnosis of Spondylolisthesis involves a physical examination by the doctor, followed by looking at X-ray scans of your spine. Analysis of the spine using an X-ray can help investigate the exact location and severity of the condition. X-rays can also help look for fractured bones and bone spurs in the spine. If a patient is exhibiting symptoms of nerve damage such as pain, numbness, and tingling in different parts of the body, a CT scan may be performed as well. This gives the doctor insight into the kind of strain Spondylolisthesis is causing on the spinal cord.
Treatment of Spondylolisthesis depends heavily on the location and severity of one’s condition. If the disease is mild, making specific life changes can help cure the problem. Practicing better posture and physical therapy through muscle strengthening and stretching exercises can significantly reduce one’s discomfort. A patient may be prescribed anti-inflammatory medication or pain-killers to help reduce the swelling in the spine. If the condition is severe, more serious measures may be required. These include epidural steroid injections and surgery. Surgery for Spondylolisthesis often involves spinal fusion. This helps bring stability to the spine and reduce the pressure on the spinal cord.