Effective Treatments for Spondylolisthesis

Spondylolisthesis may not be the easiest word to say, but when it’s translated from its Greek roots, it means “slipped spine.” Spondylolisthesis is a spinal condition in which certain vertebrae in the spine slip down. When a vertebra slides out of place, it can rub on the vertebra below. It can also press on nerves, which also causes pain.

Spondylothesis doesn't always cause symptoms, but when it does, you might notice low back pain, muscle spasms, and pain that radiates into the hamstring.

If you have low back pain caused by spondylolisthesis, our providers at the International Spine, Pain & Performance Center can help you get the care you need. Getting relief starts with an accurate diagnosis and a personalized treatment plan. 

We created this guide to help you explore the most effective non-surgical treatments for spondylolisthesis.

5 effective non-surgical treatments for spondylolisthesis

If your back hurts, getting relief is your number one priority. Below are five common options for reducing pain associated with spondylolisthesis:

  1. Medication to reduce inflammation, including oral steroids and NSAIDs
  2. Heat therapy / cold therapy 
  3. Physical therapy 
  4. Manual manipulation
  5. Epidural steroid injections

You don’t necessarily need to select just one of these options. Some of the most comprehensive treatment plans may incorporate several of these therapies. For example, you might benefit from epidural steroid injections followed by physical therapy.

Each individual is different and may require a different combination of treatments. Heating pads or warm compresses can relax muscles and promote healing and improved blood flow. Cold therapy is suggested to relieve pain after physical activities.

How do epidural steroid injections help?

Steroids can help reduce inflammation, but sometimes oral steroids just aren’t enough. When you receive an epidural steroid injection, the medication is administered directly into your epidural space in your spine.

Epidural steroid injections include both steroids and pain relief medication (such as lidocaine) to help relieve pain and reduce inflammation. Thanks to this combination, you benefit from immediate pain relief (from the lidocaine) and long-term relief (from the steroids). 

Surgical treatments

According to Cleveland Clinic, surgery can be an option for treating spondylolisthesis. Surgical procedures, such as spinal fusion, can stop the vertebra from slipping out of place.

Not everyone who has spondylolisthesis requires surgery. Sometimes conservative treatments (such as physical therapy and epidural steroid injections) can provide relief. 

Regardless of which treatment you need, it’s important to adopt spine-healthy habits like avoiding intense activity during a flare-up, avoiding unsafe lifting techniques, and exercising regularly (if you’re cleared to exercise). Other spine-friendly habits include maintaining a healthy weight, keeping strong core muscles, and following a nutritious diet.

Back pain? Integrative medicine can help

If your spondylolisthesis pain isn’t controlled, we can help. As orthopedic specialists, we excel at diagnosing and treating back pain. To learn more about your treatment options, visit us online to request an appointment at one of our three convenient locations.

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