Treating Lower Back Pain in Orange County
Spondylolisthesis is a condition that occurs when an anterior vertebra
slips out of position in the spinal column and slides over the bone below.
It most often occurs in the lumbar or sacral region of the spine (lower
back), and can cause pain from the spinal cord or nerve roots being compressed.
The most common symptoms are lower back pain and/or leg pain that limits
activity level such as having difficulty walking, weakness, and numbness
in the lower back and pain that may radiate down the buttock and into the leg (sciatica). In severe cases, it can cause loss of bladder or bowel control.
Spondylolisthesis can stem from various problems affecting the back, including
defects and injuries. For example, it may be caused by congenital conditions
affecting joints, infections, or arthritis. It may also be caused by accidents,
trauma, and overuse that leads to stress fractures or
Spondylolysis is a condition relatively common in children and young adults
(typically 10 to 15 year olds) who participate in sports where there is
repetitive stress on the lower back, such as football, weightlifting,
and gymnastics. It typically results from stress fractures or cracks that
occur in one of the spinal column’s vertebrae. There is a chance
if the affected area doesn’t heal correctly, that the continued
stress can lead to the slippage of spondylolisthesis and recurrent low
Spondylolisthesis may or may not cause noticeable symptoms. However, more
severe slippage (high grade) can cause significant pain that affects a
person’s ability to handle daily tasks and participate in sports
or activities they enjoy. In cases where patients experience pain, personalized
assessments and diagnostic testing are essential to identifying the underlying
cause and treatment plan. These plans may begin with non-surgical care,
such as rest, bracing to immobilize the spine,
physical therapy, and
pain management (such as epidural steroid injections).
Should non-surgical treatment fail to relieve pain or improve motion, or
when slippage is severe, surgery may be required. Surgery will often include
a decompressive laminectomy to reduce irritation and inflammation in the
nerve roots or spinal cord area or spinal fusion, which joins vertebrae
in the spine and provides stabilization of the affected area. Rest, bracing,
rehabilitation, and specific exercises to strengthen the back and abdominal
muscles will help patients as they recover following surgery.
Most patients are able to make a full recovery following treatment for
spondylolisthesis, and will often be pain free and able to return to sports
and other activities gradually over time.
Find a Spine Doctor in Orange County
Helping patients improve motion, resolve pain, and return to an active
and healthy life is always our top objective at the Center for Spine at
Hoag Orthopedic Institute. Backed by board-certified, fellowship-trained
specialists who take a multi-disciplinary approach to treating patients,
we ensure that you have the information and support needed to address
your underlying condition, navigate treatment or surgery, and make the
most of your recovery.
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