What is Spondylolisthesis?
It is a name derived from the Greek language: spondylos is a vertebra and listhesis means slipping.
When a vertebra slips forward over another vertebra, we call this phenomenon spondylolisthesis. The lumbar spine is the most common area of location. The complaint is usually pain or ache in the low back, buttocks and sometimes thighs. It may be accompanied by muscular tightness and/or weakness in the glutes and hamstrings. However, young individuals do not report any symptom in general, or rather some discomfort. X-Rays are the predominant investigation to diagnose its presence. The scale grades it in a range of 1 to 4, according to the measure of the slippage.
Most of the time, it is developed during the childhood although it can be present at birth (it said then congenital) or in the adulthood after an accident or repetition of movements. The very common cause of spondylolisthesis is a stress fracture during the growth. The recurrence of backward movements like bridges put serious load on the parts of the vertebra not strong enough to cope with this charge, and they “crack”. The sports often implied are gymnastics, dance, judo and martial arts, rugby, soccer and weightlifting. The stability of the spine is then modified and creates severe tensions around.
The degenerative process is another cause of spondylolisthesis. The slippage can be forward, that we call anterolysthesis, or backwards, retrolysthesis. This happens after 40 or 50 mostly due to genetical history or heavy lifting during working time life. The nerves which go through between the vertebrae may be impinged by the narrowing of the canals (holes), and then pain, numbness, weakness are resent in the lower limbs. The perimeter of walking is reduced and to open the canals, the individual feels the need to sit to “open” the canals and relieved the nerves from the pressure.
Treatment of Spondylolisthesis
Spondylolisthesis can be "silent" which means that the person does even not know about their condition and does suffer from it. In the opposite, the symptoms can be severe and may demand a surgical operation before significant compression of the nerves. Regarding ache, stiffness and tensions, chiropractic adjustments are recommended but not in regard of the slipping vertebra. At Orewa Chiropractic, our chiropractor has long experience over sport injuries and degenerative spinal conditions and assists the patient in reducing the level of ache/pain and increasing the flexibility of the spine. Visit us.