Patient Comments: Spondylolisthesis - Symptoms

What symptoms do you experience with your spondylolisthesis?

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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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: Daynerw, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: March 31

I had 2 spinal fusions for spondylolisthesis, in 1982 and 1984. Bone marrow was taken from both hips to fuse L3, L4, L5, and S1. Now after 30 years, I have developed intense pain throughout my lower back, hips, thighs, and left foot. MRI shows arthritis throughout the fused area, and my hips. Degeneration has occurred in the upper lumbar region due to the immobility from the fusions. At night, the pain and dead weight from sleeping on my hips wakes me, is so intense I cry out. I am stiff and can't roll over. The cold weather kills too. I've gone through physical therapy, etc. Dead end! I am now applying for disability.

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Comment from: tuna, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: November 04

I was just diagnosed with spondylolisthesis. I'm reduced from 8 to 5 hours at work. I tell you, by the time my shift is over I can't walk and I stand on concrete floors. Doctor prescribed gabapentin for relief and it helps a bit but now he wants me to use a back brace and do physiotherapy. I also get the numbness in my right thigh; it's not fun.

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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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