The Facts About Spondylolysis and Spondylolisthesis

The Facts About Spondylolysis and Spondylolisthesis

Spondylolysis versus Spondylolisthesis

Spondylolysis is a fracture or defect of one or both of the pars interarticularis, the small bony arch wing-shaped parts of each vertebra at the back of the spine. The pars interarticularis keep the vertebrae in place, and if absent or damaged make the vertebrae unstable. This can lead to spondylolisthesis, which is the sliding of a vertebra out of proper alignment into the spinal cord or a nerve root. Normally occurring at the base of the spine, symptoms can include back pain, numbness or weakness in one or both legs, and loss of leg function.

Causes of Spondylolysis

Some people with spondylolysis are born with a defective vertebra. For others, spondylolysis occurs due to trauma or develops over time as an infection or disease breaks down the pars interarticularis. Interestingly enough, Spondylolisthesis occurs mostly in children and adolescents involved in sports.

Moreover, if you experience numbness or weakness in a leg, or if you have back pain, see your doctor for a physical examination. If your doctor suspects spondylolysis or spondylolisthesis an x-ray, CT scan or MRI will be required to determine the exact nature of the damage.

Treating Spondylolysis and Spondylolisthesis

Treatment for spondylolysis always begins with nonsurgical options. Often times rest from all strenuous activity relieves symptoms. Also, anti-inflammatory medications may help reduce back pain. In some cases, a back brace and physical therapy are also helpful.

Additionally, most people are able to resume activities gradually and with few complications or recurrences. Stretches and strengthening exercises can help prevent future recurrences of pain.

If slippage continues to worsen or if symptoms begin to interfere with daily activities, surgery may be the best course of action.

Burbank Pain Specialists

If you are suffering from pain and you suspect spondylolysis or spondylolisthesis, contact us immediately for a consultation.

Dr. Root and Dr. Villanueva are physicians based in Burbank, CA, and are focused on the multi-disciplinary approach of treating pain. They approach each case from a variety of disease processes including neck and back spinal conditions, complex regional pain syndrome, joint disease, and chronic pain from spinal cord injuries, neurological disorders, cancer, and other medical conditions. Call us at 818-875-5501 so we can create a comprehensive treatment plan to restore you back to full health.

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