Patient Comments: Spondylolisthesis - Symptoms

What symptoms do you experience with your spondylolisthesis?

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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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: IU309, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: October 08

I just recently discovered that I have spondylolisthesis and I'm 19 years old. I had been extremely active my entire life hoping to play college basketball or volleyball. I also did gymnastics and played softball. And they definitely took their toll on me. I went into my doctor when I noticed that when I woke up in the mornings, my upper torso would be twisted in a different direction then my hips. My body would stay locked in this position for a good half hour before I could get my normal range back. Due to this, I went to get x-rays and found out that along with spondylolisthesis, I have an extremely curved spine and the disc located in between my vertebrae had been worn down, which cause the twist. I have been dealing with pain ever since. My doctor informed me that the best way to ease this is to remain active, but at a slower pace. Overdoing it was just as consequential as underdoing it. But I've noticed that has helped me as well as going to the chiropractor regularly. I also had to be careful of the position I slept in and what I slept on. To keep from experiencing a painful wakeup, I made sure not to sleep on my stomach. Little adjustments to my lifestyle made a difference!

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Comment from: redfox, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: October 08

At 67, I was recently diagnosed with L4-L5 spondylolisthesis. I am a runner for 40 years and ran a 1/2 marathon as recently as January 2013. In May 2013 I developed unbearable pain down the back of my left leg and thought it was a flare-up of what I've called sciatica since I was hit by a car 25 years ago. After finally going to the doctor for a true evaluation, I received this diagnosis. For me it is sitting that creates the most pain. I'm unable to sit for more than 45 minutes to an hour, so I find myself lying down most of the time. Ironically, walking is one of the few things that brings me relief. I continue to walk 4-5 miles several times a week. I've had shots and physical therapy which have helped but I seem to be at a plateau. I've been told that when the pain gets too severe, it will be fusion surgery. I continue to exercise as much as possible including weight work but use very light weights and am very careful to not arch my back in any way. The doctor believes this is trauma from my accident long ago that has gotten worse as I've aged. As a life-long athlete, I am struggling with the idea of losing mobility. While others are using a wheelchair, I can't even do that, since sitting is excruciating.

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