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What are your treatment options for Spondylolisthesis

Learn the treatment options for isthmic spondylolisthesis from medications and rest to surgery.

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Spondylolisthesis: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

Conservative treatments should always be considered first when treating spondylolysis. Nonsurgical treatment methods include resting and refraining from usual activities, taking anti-inflammatory medication, and incorporating a stretching and strengthening program. While ligaments and muscles can help hold the vertebrae in place, over time, surgery may be necessary to install surgical instrumentation or bone grafts that lock the vertebra in place so that it does not slide out of position and damage the spinal nerves. Surgery may involve a fusion and/or screws and rods.

If spondylolisthesis causes you pain, your doctor may recommend medication or injections

Many patients with spondylolisthesis will have vague symptoms and very little visible deformity. Often, the first physical sign of spondylolisthesis is tightness of the hamstring muscles in the legs. Only when the slip reaches more than 50 percent of the width of the vertebral body will there begin to be a visible deformity of the spine.

Spondylolisthesis Treatment, Surgery & Symptoms

To determine if spondylolysis is the cause of your symptoms, your doctor may, in addition performing a physical exam, recommend a diagnostic test such as an x-ray, computed tomography (CT) scan or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The diagnosis of spondylolisthesis is confirmed by noting the forward position of one vertebral body on another.

Spondylolysis and spondylolisthesis are conditions affecting the joints that align the vertebrae one on top of the other. Spondylolysis is a weakness or stress fracture in the facet joint area. This weakness can cause the bones to slip forward out of normal position, called spondylolisthesis, and kink the spinal nerves. Treatment options include physical therapy to strengthen the muscles. A back brace may be used to support the spine. In some cases, surgery can realign and fuse the bones.

Learn about the types and symptoms of spondylolisthesis

Physical therapy:
The goal of physical therapy is to help you return to full activity as soon as possible. Exercise is very helpful for pain and it can help you heal faster. Physical therapists can instruct you on proper lifting and walking techniques, and they'll work with you to strengthen your abdominal muscles and lower back (see ). They'll also encourage you to increase the flexibility of your spine and legs.

Spondylolisthesis occurs when one vertebra slips forward on the adjacent vertebrae. The condition may be congenital (hereditary), or the result of physical stresses on the spine or spinal degeneration. It may produce both a gradual deformity of the lower spine and also a narrowing of the vertebral canal, and can cause back pain, leg pain and other symptoms.

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Brace treatment for symptomatic spondylolisthesis.

Braces are made of plastic and can be ready-made or custom fit. Ready-made braces are appropriate in those patients whose lumbar spine has a near normal contour. If there is a marked forward slip of your vertebra, ready-made braces are often difficult to fit and wear. Some physicians opt for custom-made lumbar braces (orthoses) for all of their patients with spondylolisthesis.

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