About Spondylolisthesis

Spondylolisthesis can lead to significant pain and neurologic symptoms due to its impact on the spine’s stability and alignment, stress on the spinal joints and surrounding musculature, and nerve compression. Spondylolisthesis can be caused by arthritic degeneration or wear and tear, traumatic injuries, or overuse, or it can be present at birth.

Spondylolisthesis Symptoms

The symptoms of spondylolisthesis depend on what part of the spine is affected and can include:

Cervical Region:

  • Persistent neck discomfort or pain.
  • Pain radiating into the shoulders, arms, or hands.
  • Reduced range of motion and stiffness.
  • Headaches originating from the neck.
  • Numbness or tingling in the arms or legs.
  • Muscle weakness in the arms or legs.
  • Coordination and balance issues.
  • Altered reflexes.
  • Loss of bowel/bladder control.

Thoracic Region:

  • Persistent pain in the upper and middle back.
  • Reduced flexibility and thoracic spine stiffness.
  • Pain extending to the chest or abdomen.
  • Weakness in the muscles of the upper back and legs.
  • Numbness or tingling in the torso and legs.
  • Difficulty with twisting or bending movements.
  • Balan difficulties.
  • Altered reflexes.
  • Loss of bowel/bladder control.

Lumbar Region:

  • Persistent lower back pain.
  • Pain traveling into the buttocks or legs.
  • Reduced flexibility and lower back stiffness.
  • Weakness in the muscles of the lower back and legs.
  • Numbness or tingling in the legs or feet.
  • Challenges with prolonged standing or walking.
  • Loss of bowel/bladder control.
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Why Choose Virginia Neurosurgeons for Spondylolisthesis Care?

At Virginia Neurosurgeons, our board-certified neurosurgeons have extensive training in the diagnosis and surgical management of spinal conditions.   What sets Virginia Neurosurgeons apart from other spinal surgeons is our comprehensive training as neurosurgeons. We approach each case by integrating the patient’s symptoms, imaging findings and diagnostics, and detailed neurologic assessment to diagnose the patient and formulate a personalized treatment plan. We pride ourselves on ethical and honest practices, serving as trusted advocates and partners for our patients’ medical care. Our commitment to open communication ensures that patients fully understand their conditions and treatment options, even if they are not surgical candidates. Our surgical interventions aim to provide clinically meaningful benefits, including pain reduction and preservation and restoration of neurological function, improving the quality of life for our patients.

How Is Spondylolisthesis Diagnosed?

At Virginia Neurosurgeons, our board-certified neurosurgeons adopt a comprehensive approach to understanding the specific factors contributing to your condition. By combining state-of-the-art diagnostic tools, Virginia Neurosurgeons ensures a precise understanding of your condition, enabling the development of personalized and effective treatment strategies for each patient. Our expert team follows a meticulous process to procure evidence of exactly what is occurring:

Medical History:

Our surgeons will review your symptoms and medical history to help you understand and identify sources of pain and neurologic symptoms.

Physical Examination:

Conducting a detailed physical examination allows our neurosurgeons to assess reflexes, muscle strength, and sensory function, aiding in pinpointing affected nerve pathways.

Imaging Studies:

Advanced imaging techniques, such as MRI or CT scans, are employed to visualize the spine and identify structural abnormalities in addition to the spondylolisthesis, like herniated discs and stenosis. X-rays, in particular, will be important in assessing how the spondylolisthesis changes when standing and with certain movements.

Electrodiagnostic Tests:

Nerve conduction studies and electromyography (EMG) help evaluate the electrical activity of muscles and nerves, aiding in the localization of nerve compression.

Diagnostic Injections:

Targeted injections, such as epidural steroid injections, can help confirm the source of pain and further guide the treatment plan.

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Treatments for Spondylolisthesis

Once our surgeons have diagnosed spondylolisthesis, they will review non-surgical and surgical treatment options with you to create a management plan specific to your case. Treatments for disc herniations include:

Non-Invasive Interventions:

  • Medications for pain management and inflammation.
  • Physical therapy to improve strength and flexibility.
  • Activity modification to reduce strain on the spine.
  • Acupuncture or dry needling.
  • Chiropractic care.

Minimally Invasive Procedures:

  • Epidural steroid injections to alleviate pain in the nerves and spinal joints.
  • Radiofrequency ablation (specialized heat treatment) to disrupt nerve signals causing pain.

Surgical Interventions:

  • Spondylolisthesis is usually treated surgically with a fusion operation in which the slipped vertebra is joined to the instrumentation to eliminate movement and stabilize the spine. This method relieves pressure on the nerves and stress on the joints, improving pain and neurologic symptoms.
  • In some cases, a minimally invasive nerve decompression is possible to minimize tissue disruption and not further alter the spinal alignment.

Comprehensive Rehabilitation Programs:

  • Customized exercise regimens for ongoing strength and flexibility.
  • Lifestyle modifications for long-term spine health.
  • Patient education to promote self-management and prevent future issues.

Many patients will benefit from non-surgical therapies. Patients who do not respond to conservative therapy may be surgical candidates.   Not all patients with degenerative disc disease may benefit from surgery, however. At Virginia Neurosurgeons, we will provide you with our honest recommendation on the most effective treatment for your condition, even if it is not surgical.

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Schedule Your Consultation with Virginia Neurosurgeons Today

Experience relief from spondylolisthesis symptoms—schedule a consultation with Virginia Neurosurgeons today. Our expert team offers personalized care and effective interventions tailored to your needs. Take the first step toward improved spinal health and enhanced well-being.

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