Patient Comments: Spondylolisthesis - Symptoms

What symptoms do you experience with your spondylolisthesis?

Comment from: DebNZ, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: May 20

I was diagnosed with spondylolisthesis in 2001 (I was 36 years old). In 2008, I started to notice it was difficult getting up and down stairs and standing for any length of time. I saw a specialist, only to be told I also have stenosis (thinning of the spinal canal). I asked what treatments were available and she said “None, just carry on until you can't.” Fantastic, I thought. So here I am now, at 48, on morphine, not working, and about to make an appointment with my GP to get an occupational therapy consultation for a wheelchair assessment. On the upside, I was told at 16 that I would be on crutches until my mid-20s, and then in a wheelchair, and to look to the future with many surgeries in mind. I have managed to keep the wheelchair at bay for an extra 20 years. But now I can't go for a walk with my family, I'm pretty much housebound, and to do any gardening is not worth the pain it would induce, even being on morphine. All I can say to those of you who are heading in my direction – keep up the good fight until your body makes you submit. I wish everybody well.

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Comment from: ginger, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: February 15

I have had spondylolisthesis since I was 26, I am now 54. Recently I have been in chronic pain with pain in my left leg, can't walk far, struggle to dress in morning. I've had physio on and off had back exercise regime, had injections none of which has helped. I recently went back to hospital and was basically told that injections do not work, the operations are not successful I must do my back exercises, go to a back class, and lose weight. I may be heavier than I used to be but by no means am I overweight. I am so disheartened and this condition is really depressing me. I'm supposed to be going back to the hospital in 4 months and I think what is the point. I was attending the hospital many years ago and was discharged with medication as they said there was nothing they could do it seems that 20 years on there's still nothing.

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Comment from: 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: May 14

Hi! My name is Patrice. I was diagnosed with Spondylolisthesis in 2009, when I was 52. I had to have spinal fusion on my L3, L4 and L5. I had less than 3 months of walking when they operated. Don't get me wrong, I feel blessed to be still walking, but it's a daily struggle and I feel like I am getting worse. My walking is a struggle now and I can't do the things I used to. I can't keep my house up, gardening is something I still do, but I pay for it. I feel like I am fighting a losing battle and am so scared of being in a wheel chair and unable to work. I feel that is the way I am headed. It's very disheartening.

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Comment from: chixonmull, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: February 01

I am a 66 year old female with a diagnosis of spondylolisthesis. I have no leg pain but if I stand for more than a few minutes my back starts to feel "tired.” If I don't sit down or sit for long in a straight backed chair my back begins to hurt. I started lifting weights and my back began to stiffen up and became very painful. Now I even have to drive short distances, can't go on walks with my family and feel guilty because others think I am just lazy. When going through airports I need wheelchair assistance when I appear perfectly healthy. This is quite embarrassing but better than having to sit down every 15-20 feet. I will be starting physical therapy in a couple of weeks and hope that it helps.

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Comment from: hallasun, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: December 16

I get severe muscle cramps which sometimes start out with a jumpy nervous tingle just under the surface, followed by such a terrific pain that goes up and down my legs. Often the tendons on the sides of my legs contract so far that they bend my foot inward. It also can happen that I get a massive 'Charlie horse' cramp in the calf. It happens usually if I have been sitting for a long time and then get up. Quite often I get it after lying in bed. The pain is so severe that it makes me shout out. It can last for a few seconds or 20 minutes. There is no letting up of extreme pain however long it lasts. When I am in the cramp I try to formulate in my mind how to describe it to the doctor but I seem to be at a loss to do so as it doesn't always follow the same pattern. I have noticed sometimes that it feels hot. I get some form of this every day, sometimes more than once a day. I recently started going to an acupuncturist and after the first treatment I was pain free, not experiencing cramping for a few weeks but it has started up again just as severely but not as often. I still go to acupuncture because it felt like a miracle to me to not experience this unholy pain.

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Comment from: 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: May 17

I was diagnosed with spondylolisthesis about two years ago. Mine was due to a fracture to a part of my L5. I did physical therapy, which helped somewhat. I decided to retrain my spine. While sleeping, I got in a fetal position. This kept the spine curved, helping my condition. Apparently, if you arch your back it aggravates the condition. I have been almost pain-free for over a year. Oh yeah – I also slept on my back with a pillow under my calves. This position also puts the spine in the correct position. I have been stretching, and stretching my abdominals aggravated my condition, so I don't do that anymore. I am also interested in working out with weights, but am fearful I will do something to make my condition worse.

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