The vertebrae that make up your spine need to be correctly aligned, or you can suffer from problems like chronic pain and deformity. The term spondylolisthesis refers to either forward or backward slippage between two of your vertebrae. The most common symptoms of spondylolisthesis are pain in your lower back or legs or feelings of numbness and tingling. Most patients can be successfully treated with conservative methods, but some may end up needing surgery.
The reason behind spondylolisthesis varies, as there are multiple different ways for vertebrae to slip out of alignment. We categorize spondylolisthesis into multiple types, with different treatments for damage caused by different types of events. At South Texas Spinal Clinic, you can trust our experienced care team to accurately diagnose your spondylolisthesis and recommend the right course of treatment to get you standing strong and straight again. No matter what type of spondylolisthesis you're suffering from, we can provide effective support for your condition.
Type I spondylolisthesis typically affects the area connecting your lumbar spine with your sacrum. Called dysplastic or congenital spondylolisthesis, this condition impacts patients from birth. A defect in the articular processes of the last vertebra in your lumbar spine lets it slide forward, covering your sacrum.
Type II spondylolisthesis, the most common type, impacts the region of your vertebra called the pars interarticularis.
- After multiple small fractures due to overarching and overuse, Type II A spondylolisthesis often affects people in sports like gymnastics, weight lifting, or football
- Type II B, also related to small, repeated fractures due to stress, happens when your vertebra doesn't completely break, but has to stretch around newly grown bone material, leading to forward sliding
- Type II C, a complete fracture of this area, occurs due to trauma, frequently car accidents
If a fractured piece of your pars starts moving around in your spinal area, it can cause nerve compression and pain and may require immediate removal.
Typically impacting the fourth and fifth vertebrae in your lower back, spondylolisthesis III is caused by degeneration due to aging. As you get older, the cushions that protect your spine wear down, leaving your vertebrae vulnerable to forward slippage. This condition is most common in women over 50 years of age.
If you fracture any other part of your vertebra besides the pars interarticularis, we diagnose Type IV. You might experience a break in your facet joints, splitting the front and back parts of your vertebra. Other parts of the bone can break as well.
If a tumor develops on one of your vertebra, your bones can eventually weaken. Your weakened vertebra is then more vulnerable to fractures, splitting, and slippage. It's important to treat any resulting spondylolisthesis as well as the tumor causing the issue.
Sometimes, during surgery, particularly if you're getting an operation like a laminectomy, one of your vertebrae may slip forward. We also call this condition iatrogenic spondylolisthesis. A weakening in the pars area of the vertebra allows the potential slippage.
To get started diagnosing your case of spondylolisthesis and putting together your custom treatment plan, contact South Texas Spinal Clinic right away. We use imaging tests to confirm your diagnosis after taking a full health history. Without treatment, spondylolisthesis can create long-term issues in your spine, including stenosis (narrowing or compression of your spine, often requiring surgical treatment). You can schedule your initial consultation appointment at one of our 11 locations in the San Antonio and South Texas area by calling our office, or using the online booking tool.