What Causes Spondylolisthesis?

There are many people that have conditions that deal with their vertebrae. One such condition is spondylolisthesis. Spondylolisthesis happens when the vertebrae in the lower back is badly positioned on other bones because of a slip. The vertebral column has several discs located between the vertebrae, or bones. Each disc acts as a cushion for the bones and allows the bones to be flexible. The discs also absorb shock and pressure, leaving the spine undisturbed. When there is a problem with a disc this could cause pain to the back. Discs that are not functioning normally can trigger nerve and muscle pain. When a disc slips, this is what can be described as spondylolisthesis.

Symptoms Symptoms of spondylolisthesis can vary from person to person. Your symptoms may be milder than another person. The symptoms can limit physical activity based on the severity of the pain.

  • Feeling tightness in the muscle, especially the hamstring
  • Overall stiffening in the back area
  • Pain in the lower back
  • Obvious change in posture by appearing to lean forward
  • Sporadic pain in the butt and back of the thigh
  • Sciatica
  • Tenderness
  • Tingling
  • Numbness

Causes There are five kinds of this condition which are based on the causes. The five types are Degenerative, Traumatic, Dysplastic, Isthmic and Pathologic.

  • This can occur because of a deformity at birth
  • Injury or trauma: Stress and traumatic fractures from sport and exercise activities.
  • Family genetics – Heredity
  • Defect during early to mid childhood development
  • Degenerative conditions like arthritis and osteoporosis
  • Pathologic causes

Treatment People suffering from spondylolisthesis require different treatments based on their individual symptoms and degree of severity.

  • Exercises that strengthen the muscles
  • Changing lifestyle to not include contact sports and exercises that strain muscles and can be traumatic
  • Taking NSAIDs or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen to limit back pain.
  • Wearing a back brace that is very firm to correct the slip or prevent worsening pain

Physical Therapy is one of the main treatments for spondylolisthesis. Physical therapy can zero in on the areas that need to be addressed in order to improve movement ability and posture. Thermal treatments, lumbar traction and electrical stimulation can help to relax muscles.

Surgery should only be considered in the most severe cases. After every other treatment plan has been unsuccessful, then and only then should surgery be an option. The surgical procedure is to combine the slipped disc. This surgery should be carefully considered because of the possible injuries and complications that may come with it. This could result in nerve damage, infection, paralysis and chronic back pain. To find out which treatment is right for you, you need to consult with a medical professional and weigh your options. If you are not seeing any improvement, surgery could be the solution. After you put a lot of effort into the other treatments this may be the only long lasting remedy for you.

Filed Under: Spondylolisthesis
Written By:

Jesse Cannone, CFT, CPRS, MFT

Jesse is the co-founder and visionary CEO of The Healthy Back Institute®, the world-leading source of natural back pain solutions. His mission as a former back pain sufferer is to help others live pain free without surgery and pharmaceuticals.

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