What is Spondylolisthesis?
Spondylolisthesis occurs when a lumbar vertebra slips out of its position. More specifically, it slides forward which in turn distorts the shape of your spine. This may cause compression of the nerves in the spinal canal. The nerves exiting the foramen (open spaces on the sides of your vertebrae) may also be compressed. Pain and other problems can be caused by the compressed nerves.
How is it caused?
Spondylolisthesis has a variety of causes. In children, a birth defect in that area of the spine is usually the cause. On another note, some people may develop spondylolisthesis because of an overuse injury called "spondylolysis." This condition is described as a stress fracture of the vertebral bone. In adults, the most common causes of spondylolisthesis are arthritis and the loss of disc elasticity that results from aging.
Less commonly, diseases or tumors which weaken the spine can cause spondylolisthesis. Another less common cause of this condition is a sudden injury that leads to a broken vertebra.
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms can vary from person to person. A great amount of people with spondylolisthesis do not have any symptoms.
If you do have symptoms, you may experience the following: foot numbness and tingling, hamstring spasms, pain in your lower back which may also spread down your leg to your foot.
What is the treatment for spondylolisthesis?
Treatment options also vary from person to person as they depend on the severity of the condition.
You may simply benefit from rest. Medications may bring you relief. A back brace may also be helpful. Furthermore, physical therapy may be beneficial to you.
If none of the above-mentioned treatments are successful, a surgical procedure may be the best solution for you in order to reduce nerve compression or to stabilize your spine.