The following describes the symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of spondylolesthesis. For specific information regarding your health and treatment options, please contact your Hurley physician or medical professional.
What is spondylolesthesis?
Spondylolesthesis is a common cause of low back pain, especially in adolescent athletes. It occurs when a stress fracture weakens one of the bones (vertebrae) in the spine, causing it to shift out of place. If the slippage is severe, the vertebrae may press painfully against nerves.
What causes spondylolesthesis?
Spondylolesthesis is frequently caused by overuse and excessive stress on the bones in the back due to athletic activities such as weight lifting, gymnastics, or football. It may also be genetic in nature, making some people more prone to it than others.
What are the symptoms of spondylolesthesis?
Symptoms of spondylolesthesis vary widely. Some people with mild spondylolesthesis may have no symptoms and not even be aware that they have it. In moderate or severe cases, symptoms may include:
- Pain in the lower back, thighs, or buttocks
- Tenderness in the area of the shifted vertebrae
How is spondylolesthesis diagnosed?
Your Hurley physician will conduct a complete physical exam and order x-rays to confirm the position of the vertebrae. CT scans or MRIs may also be ordered if the bone is pressing against nerves.
How is spondylolesthesis treated?
The first course of treatment for spondylolesthesis is rest and avoidance of physical activity. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as aspirin or ibuprofen, may be used to help reduce your pain. Your physician may also recommend physical therapy or a back brace to treat your spondylolesthesis.
If non-surgical treatment does not correct your spondylolesthesis and it begins to interfere with your daily activities, a spinal fusion operation may be recommended. Your Hurley physician can advise you based on your particular case.