Spondylolisthesis - Symptoms

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What are spondylolisthesis symptoms?

The most common symptom of spondylolisthesis is lower back pain. This is often worse after exercise especially with extension of the lumbar spine. Other symptoms include tightness of the hamstrings, and stiffness and decreased range of motion of the lower back. Pain in the legs, thighs, and buttocks may worsen with standing. Some patients can develop pain, numbness, tingling, or weakness in the legs due to nerve compression. Severe compression of the nerves can cause loss of control of bowel or bladder function, or cauda equina syndrome.

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Comment from: TKT, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: March 29

I am somewhere between a grade 1 to 2 of spondylolisthesis apparently, and I've not gotten much help from any doctor I have seen for this. In 2003 I broke at least 2 vertebrae at the pars interarticularis and they slid because of that. Two may have been broken in an auto accident 10 years prior to that, as I was in pain for a year and 4 show breaks and movement. In 2003 I slipped on stairs while carrying a heavy box of books and landed on my rear. I had to keep on with the move to a new residence, which took several days. I developed extremely tight back muscles in my lumbar area due to my body trying to stabilize the fractures. I was in tremendous pain but was still mobile and had no health insurance or money to see a doctor, so I got a back brace and used ice and heat, but I didn't know there was a fracture! I was also sleeping on a horrible mattress! So I just suffered. I couldn't stand still for more than a few minutes or my back would seize up, and housework, especially vacuuming was very painful. I had periodic issues with continence. I couldn't stand up straight because the slip caused resulting lordosis. I didn't sleep well because of the chronic pain. Sometimes my back would just go out and I couldn't even stand up after lying down. I have always been athletic so this has been really discouraging.

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Comment from: mike c, 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: August 09

The day I turned 39, I woke up in the middle of night with lower back pain on the left side. I got out of bed and tried to walk it off. I sat down, and bam, my whole left leg went numb. I am very active playing non-contact football on a regular basis. I searched high and low for answers. I did not let this stop me. I went to orthopedic, chiropractor, and physical therapist (PT). My orthopedist said I needed to strengthen my core and keep stretching the surrounding muscles. The chiropractor told me that I should never play again and wanted to treat me for a lengthy time. The PT stretched me and taught me core exercises for my particular issue with the spondylolisthesis. I stretched and did the core exercises and 2 months later, the numbness was gradually going away. I took it slow, but started running again and stretching religiously. Three months later, I am playing again. I wear a back brace when I play. Outside of muscle tightness and some minor back pain, I am very close to full speed. It has been 7 months and I have had no setbacks. Every case is difference, but I feel that medication is not the way. I am no doctor, but I feel the core exercises are the key.

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