Spondylolisthesis - Topic Overview
How is spondylolisthesis diagnosed?
Your doctor will look at X-rays of your back if he or she
suspects you have spondylolisthesis. X-rays will show if any of the vertebrae
in your back have fractures or cracks and have slipped out of place. You could
also have a
CT scan or an
MRI to pinpoint the damage and help guide
How is it treated?
Treatment for spondylolisthesis begins with stopping any physical
activity that may have led to vertebrae damage. To help relieve pain, take
nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, including
ibuprofen (such as Advil) or naproxen (such as
Aleve). Do not give aspirin to anyone younger than 20 because of the risk of
Reye syndrome, a serious illness. Acetaminophen
(such as Tylenol) can also help with pain.
Doctors often suggest
physical therapy to build up stomach and back muscles
(core strengthening). In overweight people, weight loss
may also help.
When pain is extreme or bones continue to move, or if there is
nerve root or spinal cord damage related to the spondylolisthesis, surgery can
sometimes help. Surgery may be done to remove bone or other tissue to take
pressure off the spinal cord or nerves (decompression). Or surgery may be done
to fuse the bones in position. Sometimes both decompression and fusion are done
during the same surgery. After
any of these surgeries, you may need to wear a cast or back brace for a while.
Later, rehabilitation therapy will help make your muscles stronger and movement