Spondylolisthesis is a spinal disorder that can affect adults, teens, or children, causing varying degrees of chronic low back pain and decreased mobility. The board-certified neurosurgeons at Coast Neurosurgical Associates in Long Beach, California, provide top-level specialty care for people of all ages. Starting with an accurate diagnosis, they customize treatment plans for conditions such as spondylolisthesis, which may or may not include surgery. Schedule a visit today by calling the office or requesting an appointment online.
Spondylolisthesis causes spinal instability, allowing the bones of the lower lumbar spine (vertebrae) to move out of proper positioning.
Vertebrae in the lumbar spine region normally stack one above the other in a vertical line. Intervertebral discs act as cushions and spacers between the vertebrae. Tiny facet joints attach one vertebra to another and facilitate spinal movement. Besides your neck, the lumbar region is the most flexible portion of the spine.
If you have spondylolisthesis, a lumbar vertebra can slip out of place and rest on the vertebra below. This can cause moderate to severe leg and back pain and may affect mobility when the displaced vertebra presses on nearby nerves.
Spondylolisthesis can affect people of all ages, but the underlying cause usually varies according to age:
This type of spondylolisthesis occurs when a baby’s spine doesn’t form as expected before birth, causing misaligned vertebrae that increase spinal instability and vertebral slippage.
Minor cracks or stress fractures in the vertebrae can trigger isthmic spondylolisthesis. Young athletes are vulnerable to this type, especially those involved in gymnastics, football, and other sports that stress the lumbar spine. Spondylolisthesis in children and teens tends to occur during growth spurts and is the most common cause of low back pain in these age groups.
This is the most common type of spondylolisthesis, often related to aging, and occurs as intervertebral discs become dry and thin, losing their cushioning and stabilizing effects. This type of spondylolisthesis is more common after age 50.
Less commonly, traumatic injury, chronic conditions such as osteoporosis, and post-surgical complications can cause spondylolisthesis.
At Coast Neurosurgical Associates, spondylolisthesis treatment begins with a thorough physical examination, a careful review of your symptoms, and diagnostic imaging to gauge the level of spinal misalignment.
Many people respond well to conservative treatments such as rest, activity modification, physical therapy, and bracing. However, if these therapies fail to relieve your symptoms or the spinal misalignment is severe, your provider may recommend surgery to address pain and restore spinal stability, typically spinal decompression and fusion.
Schedule an evaluation today by calling Coast Neurosurgical Associates or requesting an appointment using their secure online scheduling service.