Ready to brush up on your Greek? Here we go … the word spondylolisthesis comes from two Greek words: spondylos (“spine” or “vertebra”) and listhesis (“to slip or slide”). Thus, spondylolisthesis is a condition where a vertebra (one of the bones in your spine) slips out of place onto the bone below it.
There are several different forms of the condition, but the most common is degenerative spondylolisthesis, which happens as a consequence of the general aging process. During this process, your discs, bones, joints, and ligaments weaken and cannot hold the spine in place as well as they once did.
Many people who have spondylolisthesis don’t even realize they have it. When symptoms do begin to manifest, lower back pain is the most common sign. The condition can also lead to tight hamstrings and leg pain.
If you are experiencing lower back pain and think you may have spondylolisthesis, the expert team at Capital Brain and Spine, led by Dr. Desh Sahni, can help diagnose you and provide you with treatment options. Here’s what our Austin team recommends as the best treatment options for spondylolisthesis.
Activity modification - This is the most conservative option and what Dr. Sahni will recommend first. This can take the form of fully resting for a couple of days, taking a break from sports and other activities, and avoiding standing and walking for long periods.
If this eases the pain, it may be a way to manage your condition long-term. Hot and cold packs and over-the-counter pain relievers can help as well.
Physical manipulation - Treatment by a physical therapist or chiropractor can help strengthen your back muscles and stabilize your spine, which minimizes the painful movement of your vertebra. Several weeks of treatment, along with stabilization exercises should help reduce your pain.
Epidural injections - If your pain is more severe and has spread down your legs, epidural steroid injections (steroids that are injected directly into the space around your spine) may be an effective option for you. If injections do relieve your pain, you can use them up to three times a year.
Surgery - If the above treatments are not effective and your pain is increasing to the point where it causes issues in your daily life, Dr. Sahni may recommend surgery.
Rest assured, Dr. Sahni is one of a handful of surgeons specializing in minimally invasive spine surgery. He uses the best computer-guided and robotic surgical technology in order to make your surgery and recovery process as effective and pain-free as possible.
The procedure should relieve the pain from nerves irritated by bone movement and stabilize your spine to prevent further movement from the vertebra. Spinal fusion (where bone is transplanted to fuse with the spine) may also be necessary in order to provide enough stability for your spine.
To explore any of these treatment options for spondylolisthesis, schedule a consultation with Dr. Desh Sahni here at our Austin office by calling or requesting an appointment online. You don’t have to live with back pain forever - let the experts here help restore you to full function!