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Treatment for Degenerative Spondylolisthesis

As people enter their 50s, 60s and beyond, their spine is more likely to start showing signs of wear and tear.

Senior Woman With Low Back Pain

One such sign is a condition called degenerative spondylolisthesis. This occurs when one vertebra (back bone) slips forward over the vertebra below it and puts pressure on the nerve roots there.

This typically happens in the lumbar region of the spine, resulting in symptoms of moderate to severe low back pain. It can also cause pain, stiffness, numbness or tingling in the buttocks and legs. If your doctor has recommended you seek surgical treatment, come to New Jersey Neck & Back Institute, P.C. for cutting-edge care.

Symptoms of Degenerative Spondylolisthesis

As the structure of the spine gradually weakens with age, one or more vertebra may be unable to maintain its proper position. Spondylolisthesis can also be caused by sports injuries, accidents or genetic birth defects. Some individuals may not experience any symptoms when a vertebra slips forward, while others may notice several. The most common symptoms of spondylolisthesis include:

  • Low back pain
  • Pain in one or both legs
  • Numbness/tingling in one or both legs
  • Leg weakness
  • Muscle spasms
  • Tight hamstring muscles
  • Irregular walk
  • Sciatic pain

The pain tends to feel better when sitting and to feel worse after walking or standing for long periods of time. Additionally, because it’s a degenerative condition, the pain is chronic and symptoms may worsen over time.

Diagnosing and Treating Degenerative Spondylolisthesis

If your doctor suspects you have degenerative spondylolisthesis, New Jersey Neck & Back Institute, P.C. can help. The team, which is led by board certified spine surgeon Dr. Sandro LaRocca, will start by reviewing your medical history, talking to you about your symptoms and performing a physical exam to test for range of motion, weakness and pain. Further diagnostic testing, such as X-rays and MRI scans, may also be required.

Non-surgical treatment options for spondylolisthesis include anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy, back braces and epidural steroid injections. However, these options don’t always provide the long-term relief you’re looking for, especially as symptoms get progressively worse. These methods might be able to help your symptoms, but they can’t physically move the displaced vertebrae back into position or stabilize an unstable spine.

When those forms of treatment fail to yield the desired results, Dr. LaRocca can help. He may recommend one of several surgical options to alleviate your symptoms, including lumbar laminectomy or, more commonly, lumbar spinal fusion surgery. Surgical outcomes for patients with degenerative spondylolisthesis are very good to excellent and have very high success rates. Once a course of treatment is determined, you'll receive education on your condition and the surgical procedure along with compassionate, personalized care from a team of spinal experts.

Explore Your Treatment Options Today

If degenerative spondylolisthesis symptoms are getting in the way of enjoying your life, don’t wait to reach out to Dr. LaRocca. If not treated, spondylolisthesis will continue to get worse overtime. The sooner the surgery can be performed, the sooner your quality of life can be restored.

With years of experience and advanced technology, NJNBI can offer the relief you deserve from a wide variety of neck and back problems, including stenosis, herniated discs and adult degenerative scoliosis. Make an appointment at New Jersey Neck & Back Institute, P.C. to learn more.

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