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 decreased range of motion of the lower back. 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: Linda, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: February 20

I was diagnosed in 1985. I was 14 and a freshman in high school, I had a grade 4 spondylolisthesis. I had immediate fusion on lowest four vertebrae. Recovery was long and intense. I fought my way out of that and lived a fairly active life with moderate pain on occasion. They don"t tell you at 14 that down the road things may get worse. I became pregnant twice in two years 19 years later which caused so much strain on the parts above the fusion that I couldn"t walk and developed nerve pain while pregnant. After giving birth I had an MRI and they found a few levels so the spine above current fusion were all protruding. I had bone spurs growing and stenosis all wrapped in one. All the damage and inflammation caused no fluid getting down spinal canal to my legs causing the nerve damage. My baby was 3 months old when I went into surgery. I woke up 10 hours later to find out my surgeon had to reconstruct my entire spine from T11 - sacrum. I woke up in so much pain, I wanted to die. I have 14 screws two rods in my back. My second surgery was in March or 08. I remain in chronic pain. I never have a day without pain. I have permanent nerve damage in my left leg. I have no feeling in my left buttocks and where incision is. I am limited in walking, sitting, standing for long periods of time. I could return to work. I was in physical therapy 18 months. I saw pain management for 4 years. I am living with this for 32 years now.

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Comment from: ashwini, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: March 18

I am suffering from spondylolisthesis at the levels L2-L3, L3-L4, and L4-L5, diagnosed since last 11 years. I had a history of motor vehicle accidents and one fall from a running train. I keep getting back pain with soft tissue swelling and pain and numbness to my right leg every now and then. I have also gained about 40 pounds in the last 10 years. I am told I also have an overactive bladder. I wonder if my lumbar problems have anything to do with my bladder problems. So far I was maintaining myself with exercises, but the pain is much more now every time I exercise or even swim.

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