Everything You Need to Know About Spondylolisthesis

by | Apr 10, 2018 | colorado spine doctor

Oftentimes, medical terminology can be confusing, troubling, and stressful. Not only are you dealing with the stress that comes with a newly-diagnosed condition, but you’re sometimes left questioning what exactly it is you’ve been diagnosed with. If, like 5 percent of the population, you are struggling with spondylolisthesis, you might not know you have it. More than that, you might not know what spondylolisthesis is. Or, like 95% of the population, you might not be able pronounce it. We’re here to help (with the pronunciation as well).

Check out our guide below to get a better idea about spondylolisthesis, the risks associated with it, and how you can treat your spondylolisthesis.

First things First: What is Spondylolisthesis?

The easiest way to explain this condition is to describe what’s happening when your body experiences spondylolisthesis. This condition (pronounced-SPON-dee-lo-lis-thee-sis) occurs when one of the vertebra of the spine slips forward or backward in relation to the next vertebra. A forward slippage of the upper vertebra onto a lower vertebra is called anterolisthesis while a backward slippage is called retrolisthesis. Both slippages are painful, cause lower back pain, and can lead to a deformity of your spine – along with the narrowing of your spinal canal, or even compression of the exiting nerve roots on your spine.

Even though about 5 percent of the population suffers from this, most people are unaware that they’re dealing with this specific condition. The tell-tale signs of spondylolisthesis are severe, aching lower back pains (that worsen after some kind of exercise), a tightness of the hamstrings, a stiff back with limited range of motion, and weakness or tingling in the legs due to nerve compression.

What Causes Spondylolisthesis?

Now that you understand what the condition is, it might be helpful to get a better understanding of how you can get it in the first place. There are a few distinct types of spondylolisthesis and they’re all derived from different causes. One of the most common types is Dysplastic Spondylolisthesis, which is caused by a defect in the formation of the facet of the vertebra, allowing it to slip forward. Unfortunately, you’re born with this kind of deformity – making it a congenital condition. Another common type is Isthmic Spondylolisthesis, which can be caused by severe trauma and is most commonly seen in athletes who are exposed to hyperextension motions (think football players and gymnasts).

Spondylolisthesis can have other causes, too. For example, there are types of Spondylolisthesis that are caused by aging, cartilage deterioration, defect in the bone, abnormal bones, tumors, and direct trauma to the vertebrate.

How Can You Treat Spondylolisthesis?

Unfortunately, this condition comes with much more than tingling legs and an aching lower back. Spondylolisthesis is a dangerous condition that can cause muscle spasms, severe pain, and can make simple things like walking and moving around almost impossible. Treatment is often necessary for this condition.

How can a doctor treat your Spondylolisthesis?

Dr. Anant Kumar, a board-certified orthopedic surgeon with Colorado Spine and Scoliosis, specializes in spinal surgeries for conditions such as spondylolisthesis. While there are a few different treatment options, often, the most necessary route is the Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion Surgery, a spinal fusion that can correct and treat your vertebral slippage, ridding you of the pain and stress your spondylolisthesis is causing you.

To contact Dr. Kumar to discuss your lower back issues, to glean a diagnosis, and to better understand what can be done to help treat your spondylolisthesis, reach out to schedule an appointment today.


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