What is Spondylolisthesis and How is it Treated?
There are many different potential causes of back and neck pain. Spondylolisthesis is when a bone in your back slides over the bone beneath it. This takes place most often in the lower back. It can lead to the squeezing of your nerve roots which can cause pain or weakness in your lower back and legs.
In your spine, the bones all come together at many small points. This keeps them lined up and allows them to move. Sometimes, one or more of your small points will allow a vertebra to move out of place. This is spondylolisthesis.
It can be caused by a number of things. It might be the result of a defective joint which is congenital, meaning you have had it since you were born. It might also be the result of a joint which has been damaged in an accident. The most common cause though, is good old fashioned degenerative arthritis.
The symptoms may be pain in your back, buttocks, or pain which runs down one side of your leg. It can also be weakness in one of your legs, difficulty walking, or pain in your back or legs which gets worse if your try to twist or bend. Other times it may not cause any symptoms.
It can be diagnosed with an x-ray. Your Chicago pain management doctor will give you an x-ray if they suspect spondylolisthesis and that will show any fractures or cracks in your bones. A CT scan or an MRI may also be used to look for nerve root pinching, which is known as spinal stenosis.
Once diagnosed, it is treated by several nonoperative treatment options including physical therapy along with facet injections, medial branch blocks and possibly epidural steroid injections. Then aspirin, ibuprofin, Tylenol, or Aleve can be taken to reduce the pain. Some pain management doctors in Chicago may recommend building up the back muscles and stomach muscles as well. If you are severely overweight, then weight loss will be suggested.
As a last resort, surgery may be indicated. It is not mandatory, and should only be performed after all attempts at conservative treatment have failed. You may also get surgery to fuse the bones so that they stay in place. Sometimes both of these are done at the same time. After surgeries like these you may be required to wear a back brace or a cast and then have a course of rehab to improve your muscle strength.
The pain doctors at Premier Pain & Spine in Chicago are experts in nonoperative treatment of all types of spinal arthritis such as spinal stenosis and spondylolisthesis. Call us today!