Over the years, we ask a lot of our spine. Through a person’s lifetime, this interdependent and essential structure helps support the weight of the upper body, protects the spinal cord and facilitates movement. Eventually, the strain that results from these responsibilities begins to have consequences. Intervertebral discs lose water content and the structural quality of the vertebral column starts to deteriorate. Besides the general wear and tear that occurs as we age, spinal injuries can happen at any point in an individual’s life. Traumatic injuries often happen suddenly and may disrupt proper functioning. All of these factors generally contribute to the development of harmful spinal complications.
The term “spondylolisthesis” refers to one such condition that occurs when a vertebra in the spine slips forward and slides over the bone below it. Although spondylolisthesis most commonly occurs in the lumbar (lower back) region, this condition may develop in the cervical (neck) and thoracic (middle back) areas of the spine as well. Oftentimes, spondylolisthesis will place tremendous pressure on the spinal cord and surrounding nerves, which in turn leads to intense pain and discomfort. Some patients may experience no symptoms or delayed symptoms that surface well after the original post-vertebral slip. Others will notice immediate discomfort as soon as the vertebra shifts. If spondylolisthesis is causing pain and other debilitating symptoms, there are many safe, evidence-based methods to address this condition and encourage restoration to a patient’s quality of life.
Spondylolisthesis most often ensues after a fracture, but there are many causes that can contribute to this disorder, including:
The above causes play a central role in many back-related conditions besides spondylolisthesis. For this reason, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as you realize you are experiencing a spine complication. Receiving an accurate, prompt diagnosis will better your chances of attaining the most optimal treatment possible.
The symptoms of spondylolisthesis vary widely depending on the location and severity of the displaced vertebrae. However, some of the most common indicators of spondylolisthesis are:
Some patients encountering spondylolisthesis may have no symptoms at all. The problems associated with this condition usually only arise when the problematic vertebrae begins to compress one or more nearby nerves.
If left untreated, spondylolisthesis can lead to an array of related spine complications and may begin to significantly impact your health and well-being. By proactively addressing spondylolisthesis, you can take control of your condition and lessen or even eliminate inhibiting symptoms. From diagnosis to recovery, Dr. T is committed to helping you achieve a pain-free life, so that you can return to the activities you love faster.
The first step toward finding relief from spondylolisthesis is to schedule a consultation at one of our conveniently located spine clinics. During this initial visit, Dr. T will attentively evaluate your medical history, physical state and symptoms. To diagnose spondylolisthesis and determine its severity, a C.T. scan, MRI or X-ray may be required. This also helps us to rule out other, similar conditions.
Whenever possible, we encourage patients to consider conservative, non-invasive treatments before looking into surgical intervention. Spondylolisthesis can be responsive to non-surgical treatments, such as:
In cases where spondylolisthesis is causing the vertebrae to continually move or in situations where the spine requires stabilization, surgical intervention may be necessary right away.
Some patients may need only Microspine endoscopic decompression utilizing extremely small incisions and tiny cameras without fusion whereas others may need Minimally invasive spine fusion (MIS-TLIF) which Dr.T can customized and tailored each approach for each of his patients as there is no “one size fits all” in medicine.
The Microspine & minimally invasive surgeries available that we offer generally lead to:
Significantly reduced blood loss than what is typically experienced in open back surgery
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