What is a Spondylolisthesis?

Daily life can take its toll on a healthy spine. This becomes especially apparent as we age and the skeletal components that reinforce our spine begin to deteriorate. Spondylolisthesis—a common complication of spinal degeneration—occurs when an unprotected vertebra slips painfully forward over the vertebra that lies beneath it.

Degenerative Disc Disease is a major contributor to spondylolisthesis. As we age, our intervertebral discs—the rubbery pads which defend our spinal vertebrae against vertical and horizontal forces known as compression and shearbegin to dehydrate. As our intervertebral discs lose their gelatinous content and become more brittle with age, our likelihood of sustaining an accidental injury to the spine skyrockets. A dislocated vertebra (spondylolisthesis) or a ruptured disc (herniation) is often the undesirable outcome.

spinal decompression drx

Symptoms of a Spondylolisthesis

  • Back Pain: Localized pain in the lower back at the site of vertebral slippage
  • Sciatica: Warm, piercing pain that radiates from the sciatic nerve in the lumbar spine and down through the buttocks, posterior thigh, calves, and/or feet
  • Cervical RadiculopathyWhite-hot, electric pain that erupts from the site of nerve compression in the cervical spine (neck) and diffuses through the shoulders, arms, hands, and/or fingers
  • Tingling: Numbness or prickling in the upper or lower limbs
  • Stiff Hamstrings: Increased tightness in the hamstrings or gradual weakening of the leg muscles
  • Activity-Related Pain: Pain that worsens while standing or with exertion
  • Swayback: Development of swayback (or lordosis) that may interfere with your gait or render walking extremely painful
  • Emergency Symptoms: Seek immediate medical attention if your spondylolisthesis symptoms include: sudden, crippling pain, difficulty controlling your bowel or bladder, fever, or sensations of numbness in the saddle region of the buttocks or groin.

Causes of a Spondylolisthesis

  • Spondylolisthesis is most often caused by spondylolysis. While the cause of spondylolysis is not clearly, many believe it is due to genetic weakness of a particular part of the vertebrae that makes up a facet joint. This genetic weakness, and subsequently spondylolysis, can be present at birth or occur later in life as the result of injury. It can also be caused by repeated stress fractures often experienced by athletes.  The most common cause of Spondylolisis in adults is degenerative arthritis. 

Areas of a Spondylolisthesis?

  • Cervical Spondylolisthesis
  • Lumbar Spondylolisthesis
  • Thoracic Spondylolisthesis

Spondylolisthesis Solutions in NJ

Here at Performance Rehabilitation, we have many options to treat your Spondylolisthesis, including non-surgical and surgical.

    Spondylolisthesis Surgical Solutions in NJ?

    • Laminectomy: A lumbar laminectomy is an outpatient decompression procedure, in which your surgeon removes a tiny segment of the lamina—the backside portion of a degenerated vertebra. Extraction of the lamina allows for the decompression of pinched nerves. This procedure may be combined with a spinal fusion to reinforce the structural integrity of the lumbar spine.
    • TLIF: A TLIF (Transforaminal Lumbar Discectomy with Interbody Fusion) is a minimally invasive surgical solution, in which your surgeon performs the entire procedure through a tiny tube that allows for access to the spine. During this procedure, your surgeon removes the problematic intervertebral disc and uses a bone graft to fuse together the remaining gap.
    • Minimally Invasive Spinal Fusion: Severe cases of spondylolisthesis may require a spinal fusion procedure—a sophisticated surgical technique that uses a bone graft to fuse together two adjacent vertebral bodies. The minimally invasive version of this technique offers the permanent stability of a traditional fusion procedure while enhancing postoperative outcomes and minimizing unnecessary tissue destruction.

    Why Choose Performance Rehabilitation & Regenerative Medicine?

    Whether you are suffering from a recent or chronic (cervical, lumbar or thoracic spine) condition that is adversely affecting your ability to live life under your terms, our Back Pain Specialists can help you today. To have a consultation with one of our doctors, please contact one of our Patient Care Coordinators at 908-754-1960.


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