Spondylolisthesis involves spine instability that means the vertebra moves more than it should. The vertebra may slip out of place on the vertebra positioned below placing pressure on nerves that may cause leg pain or lower back pain. Because spinal stenosis with spondylolisthesis can cause significant hip or knee pain, the presence of degenerative arthritis at these joints must be considered. A thorough physical exam should include hip range of motion and assessment of internal and external rotation.
Southern California Hip Institute (SCHI), led by board certified orthopedic surgeon Dr. Tigran Garabekyan, provides orthopedic surgery as well as non-surgical orthopedic treatments to patients in Los Angeles, Century City, CA, and surrounding communities.
Types of Spondylolisthesis
These are a few common types of spondylolisthesis:
- Congenital spondylolisthesis occurs when the spine of a baby is not formed properly before birth. The misaligned vertebra may place the person at risk for a slippage later on.
- Isthmic spondylolisthesis is the result of spondylolisthesis, which refers to a fracture or crack that may weaken the bone.
- Degenerative spondylolisthesis is a common type of spondylolisthesis that occurs because of aging. The discs cushioning the vertebra lose water and become thin over time.
These are a few rare types of spondylolisthesis:
- Traumatic spondylolisthesis occurs when an injury causes the slip
- Pathological spondylolisthesis is the result of osteoporosis, tumor or any other disease causing the condition
- Post-surgical spondylolisthesis refers to the slippage because of spinal surgery
Noninvasive Treatments for Spondylolisthesis
These are a few non-surgical treatment options for spondylolisthesis:
- Rest: Taking a break from sports and strenuous activities usually helps
- Medication: You can get relief from over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- Injections: Your healthcare provider may recommend steroid injection in the affected area
- Physical therapy: Physical therapists can teach targeted exercises for strengthening the back and the abdomen. Daily exercise can help in reliving the pain in the long run.
- Bracing: Braces can stabilize the spine and allow a fracture to heal. These are not used in adults.
Surgery For Spondylolisthesis
A surgery may be recommended in the following instances:
- Severe pain
- High-grade spondylolisthesis
- No improvement from nonsurgical treatments
What to Expect During Spondylolisthesis Surgery?
Spondylolisthesis surgery to relieve back pain generally involves spinal decompression. This can be with or without fusion. Decompression is usually not done on its own in the case of isthmic spondylolisthesis. According to studies, decompression along with fusion provides better results.
Your surgeon will remove the disk and bone from the spine during decompression surgery. This will give your nerves space within the spinal canal to relieve pain.
During a fusion surgery, the surgeon will connect two affected vertebrae. They will form a single bone as they heal eliminating movement between the vertebrae. The surgery may result in limited spinal flexibility.
Spondylolisthesis surgery has a high success rate and people often return to active life within a few months. You would require rehabilitation post-surgery to get back to full function.
What to Do about Spondylolisthesis Pain?
You would first need to take a break from strenuous exercises and activities. You should try over the counter medications for relieving inflammation and pain. Make sure to visit a healthcare provider to figure out your next steps. Board certified orthopedic surgeon Dr. Tigran Garabekyan receives patients from Los Angeles, Century City, CA, and nearby areas for orthopedic surgery and non-surgical orthopedic treatments.
Contact the Southern California Hip Institute
Dr. Tigran Garabekyan is a board certified orthopedic surgeon specializing in hip preservation. To learn more about Southern California Hip Institute or to schedule a consultation, click here to contact us or call:
Century City / Los Angeles: 310.595.1030
Serving patients in Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, Century City, West Hollywood, North Hollywood Encino, Sherman Oaks, Van Nuys, Burbank, Glendale and other neighboring cities in the greater Los Angeles, California area.
Also visit http://www.drgorthopedics.com/