Back pain can be so debilitating. It can take quite a toll on your everyday life, affecting the activities you like and even making your job harder to do. There are many causes of back pain, some ranging from being very minor, and others that are very severe. Among those that can start off quite minor and turn severe if left untreated is a condition called Spondylolisthesis.

What is Spondylolisthesis?

Spondylolisthesis is a back condition where a single vertebra in your spine moves out of place and in turn, begins to rest on another below it. When this happens, you can start to experience neurological symptoms such as a feeling of “pins and needles” into your legs and throughout your back. It is predominantly seen in the lumbar spine but can occur in both the cervical spine and thoracic spinal segments

How do I know if I have it?

The causes can range anywhere from an accident to your family genetics. To be clear, there are 4 main causes of Spondylolisthesis

  1. The degeneration of your vertebrae or disc 
  2. A fracture to the spinal segment 
  3. Trauma to the spine 
  4. Family genetics 

In rare cases, an individual can have more than one cause that can make the condition quite severe.

How do I treat it?

Spondylolisthesis Treatment can vary depending on the specific cause. A treatment for one person may not work to the same extent for another. Talking to your doctor will best help in finding the treatment or treatments that will work best for you. Here are some common treatments ranging from least to most invasive;  

  1. Taking pain medications like Advil or Tylenol 
  2. Applying heat or ice to the area of pain 
  3. Physiotherapy or massage therapy 
  4. Manual Treatment (manipulations) 
  5. Epidural Steroid injections 
  6. Spondylolisthesis Surgery

What if I want to try exercises at home?

Depending on the individual, their line of work, and activity level, there are a few specific exercises that can help in strengthening your core and muscles that surround your spine. Although the following exercises are used, every person is different. Consulting with your doctor or Physiotherapist is recommended before you begin to exercise and stretch.  

  1. Pelvic Tilts 
  2. TA (transverse abdominus) activation exercises 
  3. Knee lifts (core strength before this is important) 
  4. Glute Bridges 

Frequently asked questions

Are there any tests that will show me if I have Spondylolisthesis?

There are no specific tests that will allow you to pre-determine if you have Spondylolisthesis. In the case of family genetics, this can make it more likely that you can develop this condition in the future. 

What does it feel like if I have it? Does it hurt? 

 Pain can be associated with this condition. The intensity of the pain can vary as well and is totally different for every individual. The most common symptoms are lower back stiffness, which can become worse, pain in the buttocks, and pain spreading down the legs. If you suspect that you may have any of these symptoms, it is important that you speak to your doctor right away as to not allow the condition to worsen. 

Will Physiotherapy or Massage Therapy take the pain away?

Exercising is very important to stop the effects of the condition to worsen. If you are in the beginning stages of it and are still able to work and continue your activities, then adding some light core-based exercises can really help! Physiotherapists and Massage Therapists are trained in manual therapy techniques. Both can assist in a better life while having the condition! 

Contact us today for more information!

Call us at Oakville 905.827.5444 or email us at oakville@newagephysio.com to book a consultation.

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