Spondylolisthesis

  • Medical Author:
    Catherine Burt Driver, MD

    Catherine Burt Driver, MD, is board certified in internal medicine and rheumatology by the American Board of Internal Medicine. Dr. Driver is a member of the American College of Rheumatology. She currently is in active practice in the field of rheumatology in Mission Viejo, Calif., where she is a partner in Mission Internal Medical Group.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

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Is it possible to prevent spondylolisthesis?

Spondylolisthesis cannot be completely prevented. Certain activities, such as gymnastics, weight-lifting, and football, are known to increase the stress on the vertebrae and increase the risk of developing spondylolisthesis.

What are the complications of spondylolisthesis?

Complications of spondylolisthesis include chronic pain in the lower back or legs, as well as numbness, tingling or weakness in the legs. Severe compression of the nerve can cause problems with bowel or bladder control, but this is very uncommon.

What is the prognosis for spondylolisthesis?

The prognosis for patients with spondylolisthesis is good. Most patients respond well to a conservative treatment plan. For those with continued severe symptoms, surgery can help alleviate the leg symptoms by creating more space for the nerve roots. The back pain can be helped through a lumbar fusion.

REFERENCE:

Wheeler, Stephanie G., Joyce E. Wipf, Thomas O. Staiger, and Richard A. Deyo. "Approach to the diagnosis and evaluation of low back pain in adults." UpToDate.com. Nov. 20, 2014. <http://www.uptodate.com/contents/approach-to-the-diagnosis-and-evaluation-of-low-back-pain-in-adults>.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/8/2015

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