From the clinic of Les Bailey Dr Les Bailey
What is spondylolisthesis?
Spondylolisthesis (spon + dee + lo + lis + thee + sis) is a condition of the spine whereby one of the vertebra slips forward or backward compared to the next vertebra says Les Bailey. Forward slippage of one vertebra on another is referred to as anterolisthesis, while backward slippage is referred to as retrolisthesis. Spondylolisthesis can lead to a deformity of the spine as well as a narrowing of the spinal canal (central spinal stenosis) or compression of the exiting nerve roots (foraminal stenosis).Les Bailey continues.
What causes spondylolisthesis asks Les Bailey
There are five major types of lumbar spondylolisthesis.
What are the risk factors for spondylolisthesis asks Les Bailey.
Risk factors for spondylolisthesis include a family history of back problems. Other risk factors include a history of repetitive trauma or hyperextension of the lower back or lumbar spine. Athletes such as gymnasts, weight lifters, and football linemen who have large forces applied to the spine during extension are at greater risk for developing isthmic spondylolisthesis says Les Bailey
What are the symptoms of spondylolisthesis?
The most common symptom of spondylolisthesis is lower back pain. This is often worse after exercise especially with extension of the lumbar spine. Other symptoms include tightness of the hamstrings and decreased range of motion of the lower back says Les Bailey. Some patients can develop pain, numbness, tingling or weakness in the legs due to nerve compression. Severe compression of the nerves can cause loss of control of bowel or bladder function, or cauda equina syndrome.
How is spondylolisthesis diagnosed asks Les Bailey?
In most cases it is not possible to see visible signs of spondylolisthesis by examining a patient. Patients typically have complaints of pain in the back with intermittent pain to the legs. Spondylolisthesis can often cause muscle spasms, or tightness in the hamstrings says Les Bailey
Les Bailey spondylolisthesis article, Dr Les Bailey
Spondylolisthesis is easily identified using plain radiographs. A lateral X-ray (from the side) will show if one of the vertebra has slipped forward compared to the adjacent vertebrae. Spondylolisthesis is graded according the percentage of slip of the vertebra compared to the neighboring vertebra says Les Bailey
Grade I is a slip of up to 25%,
grade II is between 26%-50%,
grade III is between 51%-75%,
grade IV is between 76% and 100%, and
Grade V, or spondyloptosis occurs when the vertebra has completely fallen off the next vertebra.
If the patient has complaints of pain, numbness, tingling or weakness in the legs, additional studies may be ordered. These symptoms could be caused by stenosis or narrowing of the space for the nerve roots to the legs. A CT scan or MRI scan can help identify compression of the nerves associated with spondylolisthesis says Les Bailey. Occasionally, a PET scan can help determine if the bone at the site of the defect is active. This can play a role in treatment options for spondylolisthesis as described below says Les Bailey.
By dr Les Bailey phd DO, acopm,apta (int part)
Les Bailey, Les Bailey