The spine is the backbone of our body and it has many functions to do. It helps with the various movements of our body, helps us walk, perform sports activities, and much more. Besides this, it also transfers signals from various parts of the body to the brain, and this helps us feel pain and other sensations. All these functions and activities performed by the spine get affected when an injury or other condition affects the spine.
In this post, we will talk about one of the conditions known as spondylolisthesis that affect the spine. Severe cases of spinal issues often require surgical intervention and special spinal implants are applied for the stabilization of bones.
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Let us see what spondylolisthesis is and how it is treated.
Spondylolisthesis – An Overview
Spondylolisthesis is a spinal condition that is known to commonly affect the lower vertebrae. In this condition, one of the vertebrae in the lower spine slips onto the one present below. It is a painful condition and requires timely treatment. If delayed treatment is provided, the condition could become worse. In certain cases, it may also put pressure on nerves and that causes certain complications like lower back pain or leg pain.
Different Types of Spondylolisthesis
There are multiple types of spondylolisthesis, and they may include:
This form of spondylolisthesis occurs when the spine does not form properly before birth. This puts the risk of slippage of vertebrae in the later stages of life.
This is the form of spondylolisthesis that occurs as a result of spondylolysis.
This is known as the most common form of spondylolisthesis. It occurs due to age-related degeneration of discs, and over time, discs lose water and become thin. This increases the chances of slipping the discs out.
This is when spondylolisthesis occurs due to injury to the vertebrae.
When a condition like osteoporosis or tumor results in slipping of the disc of the lower vertebrae, the condition is known as pathological spondylolisthesis.
Sometimes, vertebrae slip as a result of spinal surgery, and that is known as post-surgical spondylolisthesis.
Symptoms of Spondylolisthesis
Some of the common symptoms experienced by people suffering from spondylolisthesis may include:
- Muscle spasms in the hamstrings
- Stiffness in the back
- Difficulty or inability to stand or walk for long periods
- Numbness or weakness in the foot
- Pain while bending
Diagnosis of Spondylolisthesis
A physical examination is performed by the healthcare service provider to notice changes in the posture and ability to move in different directions. Symptoms experienced by the patient will also be asked. To confirm the condition, certain imaging tests are ordered:
- Spinal X-ray
- CT Scan
Treatment of Spondylolisthesis
Spondylolisthesis can be treated by both non-surgical and surgical methods. At first, the doctor always tries non-surgical ways. They may include:
- NSAIDs and other medicines to curb pain and other symptoms
- Steroid injections
- Physical therapy
Surgery is required when all these methods fail. Surgery aims at relieving the symptoms. Spinal fusion is commonly done for this, where affected vertebrae are fused. This restricts the movement between them.
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