Spondylolisthesis is a condition in which vertebrae in your spine begin to slip, and actually begin to make contact with the bone below it. This is sometimes more commonly known as having a slipped disc. While many patients with spondylolisthesis may have no symptoms, others experience mild to moderate back pain, as well as a stiffness throughout the lower back, and even down to the thighs.
Tenderness on the back in the actual area of the slipped disc is another tell tale sign of a problem. While most cases are not severe and require only a change in life style, special stretches, and avoiding potentially hazardous activities such has contact intensive athletic competition and the lifting of heavy weights, some times patients aren’t so lucky.
Patients with more advanced or severe forms of spondylolisthesis are sometimes required to wear special implements, such as very restrictive back braces which will prevent further harm and hopefully help to correct some of the issues associated with the slipped disc. Still, in the most severe cases, spondylolisthesis surgery is required.
Any surgery involving the spine is potentially dangerous in that the spine protects the coil of nerves that make up the central nervous system, and any damage to said nerves can have severe and permanent effects on a person.
Spondylolisthesis surgery is particularly dangerous as pertaining to the method through which the procedure must be done and to the area of the spine being operated on. As Google Health reports, this surgery has a higher rate of injury to the nervous system than others of its ilk.
But it’s not all dark and scary. In the first place, spondylolisthesis surgery is reserved only for patients experiencing severe and unceasing back pain which is not abated by any other form of treatment, or for patients that are starting to display neurological changes due to the disease.
Fortunately, instances of these two cases are rare, and about eight out of ten patients with confirmed cases of spondylolisthesis respond to more low impact treatment options. Of those that are forced to undergo surgery, doctors can proudly report that despite the complexity and technical difficulty of the procedure, almost nine out of ten patients who are forced to undergo surgery as their only treatment option report being happy with the results of their surgery.
Through a simplified crunching of numbers on those already simplified statistics, an unscientific estimate would predict that only about two percent of people who have spondylolisthesis severe enough to require even any treatment at all will not be able to be helped by medical care, rather it be simple or surgical.
This number does not even account for the (most-likely) large number of people who have cases of spondylolisthesis so mild, they have never even thought to seek treatment for the problem.
In general, a slipped disc is unpleasant, but many go undetected for years or even lifetimes as their symptoms are never any more severe than a simple occasional sore back. People in good physical health who stretch and safely exercise on a regular basis, like many medical conditions, will be less prone to experiencing the most negative effects of spondylolisthesis.
Still, the effects of a slipped disc can become more severe with age, so if you’re worried you may have spondylolisthesis, even if you don’t have any of the more severe symptoms, or the symptoms you have are irregular and sporadic, it still might be a good idea to seek the help of a doctor just to get checked out and insure that you won’t have any more difficult to manage problems once you reach old age.