Given the difficult job it has of supporting us as we stand and walk around each day, it’s no surprise how sturdy our spine is. Due to the difficulty of its job it is susceptible to a variety of maladies occurring from both the wear and tear of our daily lives and the abuses we may subject it to it from our hobbies and potentially poor habits. One condition that it is susceptible to is spondylolisthesis, a condition characters by the misalignment of our vertebrae resulting in pressure on our spinal cord that causes pain and stiffness. In the event this misalignment places pressure on the nerves in the spine symptoms such as numbness and tingling may occur. In the worst cases, chronic conditions that cause pain may occur. Should any of these symptoms be familiar to you, it’s time to contact Dr. Yevgeniy Khavkin at the Khavkin Clinic for a consultation.
The onset of spondylolisthesis typically occurs later in life and becomes increasingly common in the elderly population as a simple result of aging. This condition can also occur as a result of injuries, and in these cases may occur without symptoms, not becoming symptomatic until we reach adulthood. In the event that the condition occurred in childhood, it’s known as isthmic spondylolisthesis, while that caused by a lifetime of wear and tear is known as degenerative spondylolisthesis. This condition doesn’t typically require surgery, being treatable by physical therapy and medication though in the most severe cases it can require surgery. Minimally invasive surgeries are available to treat this condition in many locations, reducing recovery time.
1. What typically results in spondylolisthesis?
Simple aging and the wear and tear it entails are the most common causes of spondylolisthesis, aggravated by other age-related conditions like osteoarthritis that causes degeneration of the vertebrae, resulting in misalignment. Younger patients are typically the victims of some form of injury, especially those who participate in high-impact sports or don’t pay attention to their posture, though stress fractures are also sometimes to blame. In younger patients, symptoms don’t occur until the patient is older. In all cases, obesity and smoking are factors that can aggravate the condition or accelerate its onset.
2. What symptoms indicate I may be suffering from spondylolisthesis?
The symptoms that reveal the potential presence of spondylolisthesis present as issues with the nerves and the sensations they produce. With degenerative spondylolisthesis, it appears as a form of chronic pain. Isthmic spondylolisthesis presents as a result of activity, especially those that involve high-impact activities or during hyperextension of the spine.
3. How is spondylolisthesis treated by my physician?
Treating spondylolisthesis is affected by various factors regarding the patient’s overall condition, with surgery only being used in extreme cases involving advanced vertebral slippage. Treatment of minor cases typically begins with exercise and physical therapy aimed at strengthening the back, supporting the spine, and enhancing the patience limberness. Often over-the-counter medication will be prescribed to handle pain and inflammation associated with the condition.
4. When Is Surgery Necessary for Treating Spondylolisthesis?
In those instances where more conservative treatments have either failed or were inappropriate based on severity, surgical solutions may be used. Before conservative treatments will be considered a failure months of treatment typically will have preceded it. Surgery to repair this condition is typically unnecessary, but in those cases where it is there are minimally invasive options available, that will do the necessary repairs while allowing for quicker recovery times.