Spondylolisthesis occurs when one of the vertebra along the spine slips out of alignment with the other vertebrae in the spine.
Common symptoms of Spondylolisthesis can include:
- Muscle Spasms in the lower back.
- Moderate to Severe pain in the lower back, hamstrings, and buttocks.
- Lumbar Radiculopathy or Sciatica. The symptoms from a nerve compressed because of lumbar stenosis or a pinched nerve in the back can include:
- Burning feeling in the area
- A numbness, or tingling sensation from the lower back into the buttocks, thighs, legs and feet.
- Neurogenic Claudication
- Weakness in the muscles along the legs and feet, resulting from an issue within the nerves.
- Chronic pain, that is typically brought on by walking
This type of spondylolisthesis is caused by a fracture of the “pars interarticularis” which is the bony bridge that connects the facet joints. It often occurs in patients that have participated in sports that involve repetitive stress to the lumbar vertebrae. The defect in the bone caused by the fracture is termed a spondylolysis. If separation or displacement of this fracture occurs, the anterior portion of the vertebra will disconnect from the facet joints. The resulting slippage of the vertebrae is known as a spondylolisthesis.
This type of spondylolisthesis is most often seen in older patients. Degenerative Spondylolisthesis is caused by arthritis of the facet joints in the back of the spine along with a loss of competency of the intervertebral disc. This may lead to instability of the spine with slippage of the vertebrae and further wear and tear on the intervertebral disc.
Symptoms of a Spondylolisthesis:
- Muscle Spasm in the lower back
- Moderate to Severe pain in the lower back and buttocks
- Lumbar Radiculopathy (Sciatica). The symptoms from a nerve compressed by a disc herniation (pinched nerve) include pain, burning, numbness, or tingling from the lower back into the buttocks, thighs, legs and feet.
The majority of individuals with a spondylolisthesis do not require surgery. Common non-surgical treatment options include:
- Physical Therapy
- Anti-inflammatory medications
- Epidural Injections
When pain symptoms are severe, if there is significant muscle weakness, or if your overall condition deteriorates surgery may be necessary. The surgeons at Comprehensive Spine Care will develop a treatment plan based on your symptoms, physical exam and MRI results.
Surgery for Lumbar Spondylolisthesis typically would consist of a Lumbar decompression (Laminectomy, Laminomtomy). Stabilization of the spine may also be necessary (Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion, Posterior Lumbar Fusion, Lateral Lumbar Fusion.)