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Lumbar Spondylolisthesis: What are the symptoms and possible treatments

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Lumbar Spondylolisthesis: What are the symptoms and possible treatments

  • Dr. Charla Fischer
  • Aug 02, 2017

Lumbar Spondylolisthesis is a condition where one bone in the back slides forward over the bone that is present below it. It occurs commonly in the lower spine area and in some cases, it can cause your spinal cord or nerve roots to squeeze. This can lead to severe back pain, weakness or numbness in one or both legs. If the condition is stern it can in some cases lead to losing control over your bladder or bowel movement. It is good to see a doctor right away if you experience any of the symptoms mentioned above. Sometimes, people do not experience pain for years after a vertebra slips out of the place. But if you do, you may experience pain in the back or buttock and muscles in the legs may become weak.
What causes Lumbar spondylolisthesis?
Spinal bones come together at several joints that keep the bones lined up while allowing them to move. Lumbar spondylolisthesis is caused due to a problem with one or more of the small joints that allow bones to move out of their place.
The reason of spondylolisthesis can be one of the following:
  • Defective joint since birth
  • Joint damage because of an accident or trauma
  • Joint damage due to infection
  • Joint damage due to arthritis
  • A vertebra with stress fracture caused due to the overuse of joint
The condition can affect children and teens too who are involved in sports activities. Some sports activities such as weightlifting and gymnastics can over stress the bones to the point of causing fractures in the vertebrae leading to spondylolisthesis. Adults usually get affected by this condition because of the wear and tear of the tissues and vertebra; it can occur even without stress fractures if disc and joints are worn out and sip out of the place.
Symptoms of spondylolisthesis are:
  • Pain that runs from lower back to the legs and the condition gets worse while one bends or twists
  • Back pain
  • Buttock pain
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control
  • Difficulty in walking
Treatment
The treatment of Lumbar Spondylolisthesis begins with stopping any physical activity that leads to the vertebrae damage. Doctors suggest physical therapy to build up back muscles and among overweight people, weight loss may help. If the pain is extreme and nothing seems to work, one has to undergo surgery. It is performed to remove bone or other tissues to take the pressure off the spinal cord or the nerve that has been compressed. At times one may require both decompression and fusion so that the results are apt. Once the surgery is performed one is required to wear a back brace for few days and later rehabilitation therapy will help in making the muscles stronger and movement easier.

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