What is Spondylolisthesis?

Spondylolisthesis TX | DFW Center for Spinal Disorders

Spondylolisthesis is a hard word to spell, and it’s hard to see why this condition of the spine could happen. The term is a condition where one of the bones of the spine is displaced. When the vertebra slips out of its normal location onto the bone beneath it, the odds are it will compress a spinal nerve, causing pain and possible eventual loss of function in corresponding limbs. Spondylolisthesis is graded according to the amount of slippage, from Grade 1 to Grade IV.

There are several types of spondylolisthesis that we encounter at DFW Center for Spinal Disorders.

  • Isthmic spondylolisthesis — This is a congenital malformation that leads to small spinal stress fractures that decrease bone strength and allow vertebrae to slip out of place.
  • Degenerative spondylolisthesis — A result of osteoarthritis, natural deterioration of the facet joints in the spine may allow vertebrae to shift.
  • Dysplastic spondylolisthesis — This form of spondylolisthesis is the result of a rare congenital defect in which the lumbosacral joint is malformed, increasing the possibility of vertebrae slipping.
  • Traumatic spondylolisthesis — This is the result of a traumatic injury, usually a fracture.
  • Pathologic spondylolisthesis — This form of spondylolisthesis is caused by an underlying bone disease, such as osteoporosis. It can also result from a bone infection or tumor.

What are the symptoms of spondylolisthesis?

Some people with spondylolisthesis have no symptoms; other people may have severe pain. These are the general symptoms of spondylolisthesis:

  • Upper leg pain
  • Lower back pain
  • Pain in the buttocks
  • Leg weakness
  • Tight hamstrings
  • Stiffness, numbness, or tingling in the area of the displacement
  • Extreme tenderness at the displacement site

How we treat spondylolisthesis

At DFW Center for Spinal Disorders, we opt for non-surgical treatment for up to six months before we even consider surgery. This treatment consists of pain management and rehabilitation. Patients go through a regimen of physical therapy to try and strengthen the surrounding muscles to better support the spine. We will also use non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications.

If the above treatments don’t relieve the pain, surgery may be necessary. The solution is usually spinal fusion to fuse the two vertebrae in the area of displacement. We use endoscopic methods when possible to create smaller incisions and make for easier recovery.

If you have any of the symptoms of spondylolisthesis above, please don’t hesitate to call us at 817-916-4685.

Posted in: Spinal Disorders

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