Spondylolisthesis
3/28/08
Published in the Times Standard
 
 
            This long term simply means the forward slippage of one spinal vertebra on another.  This condition can be severely painful at times or completely asymptomatic, usually depending on how far the slippage has progressed. The causes of this condition relates to the facets or joints of the spine.  There can be an incomplete closure of the bones forming the joints or a traumatic injury subluxation or fracturing of a portion of the vertebra. In a younger person the problem usually arises from this incomplete closure of the vertebra called spondylolysis. With increased activity in athletics, such a gymnastics, football, weight lifting or basketball, back pain becomes an issue upon back extension or bending.
Many times the person has an increase in the lordosis or forward curve of their lower back or lumbar spine. While spondylolysis or spondylolisthesis can occur at any level, the most common slippage occurs at the L5-S1 level in the very low back.  It becomes necessary to x-ray the lower back to delineate the extent of the problem.  Spondylolisthesis (spondylo) is graded most commonly under the Meyerding classifications. The grading is in relation to how far forward the vertebra is on the vertebra below. Grade I, the least severe, up to Grade V where surgical intervention is required.  While Grade I spondylo can lead to increasing back pain and degenerative disc disease, Grades II to IV are more problematic. Many spondylos go undetected and are asymptomatic until later years when the degenerative process causes weakness and intermittent numbness and tingling sensations to the legs.
The importance of early detection becomes crucial to the future of the young person. Specific adjustments to keep the spine in balance along with a particular excercise regime for support and stability should be initiated.  I’ve had many patients over the years that live pain free normal lives with even Grade III and IV spondylos. They respond well to specific adjustments without complications.  If you or your child experiences recurring low back pain or neck pain, tight hamstrings, increased pain on back extensions, as well as a hyperlordotic or forward lumbar spine curve, yours could be a spondylo that needs to be addressed.  Our office is fully equipped with up-to-date, state of the art x-ray to quickly identify the condition. A referral to an orthopedic specialist may be necessary or an appropriate health plan initiated through Chiropractic “Naturally.”
 
 
 
Crosbie Chiropractic
Michael H. Crosbie, D.C.
1828 Main Street
Fortuna, CA 95540
(707) 725-5668