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Understanding Degenerative Spondylolisthesis

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Spondylolisthesis is one of those insidious health conditions that you may not even be conscious you have. In most cases, people who suffer from it do not show any symptoms, yet spondylolisthesis may lead to serious changes in their spinal cord or nerve roots. The purpose of this article is to help you comprehend what causes spondylolisthesis, what are the possible symptoms, as well as how to treat it and where to seek help.

What is Spondylolisthesis?

The word spondylolisthesis consists of two parts: spondylo meaning spine, and listhesis meaning slippage. Therefore, this condition occurs when one bone in your spine (vertebra) slides forward over the bone below it. The result of a vertebra slipping out of place is usually compression of the nerves contained within the spinal cord. Typically, the severity of spondylolisthesis is described by different grades, where grade 1 is the least advanced. The table below describes every grade based on how much of a vertebral bone has slid forward over the bone beneath it1.

Grade 1 - 25% of vertebral body has slipped forward
Grade 2 - 50%
Grade 3 - 75%
Grade 4 - 100%
Grade 5 - Vertebral body completely fallen off

Pain Management Doctor explains: It might be tricky to recognize the symptoms

It is very common for patients not to show any symptoms at all. They become aware of having spondylolisthesis only after an x-ray, usually for a different problem. Nonetheless, there are several symptoms that people may experience, such as: pain in your lower back, which may spread down to the leg and foot, hamstring spasms, foot numbness and tingling, rarely it may also lead to loss of bladder and bowel control. There is no single answer to the question of what causes spondylolisthesis. The reason varies from person to person but usually is based on age, lifestyle or birth defect. 

Surgical vs Non-Surgical Treatment for Spondylolisthesis

Many of you must be wondering what is the best treatment for spondylolisthesis. The truth is that not every case requires surgery. Medications will greatly relieve pain and ease muscle spasms. What is often recommended by physicians is physical therapy which increases back conditioning by strengthening the back and stomach muscles. Wearing a back brace may also bring comfort as it stabilizes the spine. For overweight people, it is crucial to lose some weight in order to get better. Nevertheless, some severe cases require surgery, e.g. when the bones of the spine are pressing on the nerves. The spinal fusion is performed in order to correct the misplaced vertebra, reduce nerve compression or to stabilize the spine.

Pain Care Specialists of Florida: We are here to help you!

As with any health issues, it is important to seek help as soon as possible. If you suffer from any kind of pain that doesn’t let you focus on anything else but a constant feeling of discomfort, don’t wait until your condition worsens and contact our office today. Our top Hollywood and Aventura pain management doctor, Luis Escobar, MD, will give you the care that you deserve. Book an appointment with our friendly staff today and visit our website to find out more about the services we provide.


The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health. 

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