Does Spondylolisthesis Require Surgery?
Spondylolisthesis is a condition that can cause mild to extreme lower back pain. It is a spinal abnormality where one vertebra slips forward onto the bone below it, putting pressure on a nearby nerve. Because of the severe pain, some patients experience, a pain management dr could recommend surgery to alleviate the pain.
In most cases, surgery isn’t necessary as long as the condition is not extreme. Instead, this problem can be treated with a brace or other less invasive care.
Which Patients Need Surgery?
It can be difficult to define when surgery is absolutely necessary. If a patient is experiencing serious pain, a doctor will likely recommend surgery. The pain is usually in the lower back, but it can also be felt in the legs and knees.
There are four different spondylolisthesis grades. Your doctor will determine your grade based on the condition’s severity.
Spondylolisthesis surgery is usually not recommended for grades I and II as they are mild. The slippage is below 50% and can be treated using conservative methods. Simple bed rest or a brace can be enough to relieve the pain.
Surgery might be recommended if grade III or IV spondylolisthesis becomes too severe. The slippage has reached points above 70%, which causes too much pain, making the condition difficult to manage.
Will Surgery Work?
Surgery is a last resort treatment option for spondylolisthesis patients who aren’t satisfied with other options. The surgery is usually done to help relieve the symptoms, but it’s also used to help manage the slipped vertebrae.
The main aim of surgery is to relieve pressure from the nerve. It can also help improve your spine’s movement.
Surgery is a major operation that requires a lot of preparation and planning. You will need to schedule a consultation visit with a specialist and take any necessary tests such as X-rays or MRI scans.
There are two main surgeries that can be performed for spondylolisthesis.
Spinal fusion is a procedure that joins two vertebrae together to relieve pressure from a slipped vertebrae. This operation is used for people who have problems with their spinal discs or nerve roots. The operation involves joining two vertebrae together using titanium plates and screws to create a solid structure.
In spinal decompression surgery, your surgeon will remove part of the vertebrae to relieve pressure on the nerve.
Infection risk: The incision may be open for a period, which increases the risk of infection. In addition, there is a chance that the wound will become infected.
Complications: Complications are uncommon but can occur with any surgery and include bleeding or infection at the surgical site, nerve or muscle damage, or damage to other organs in your body.
Injury to nearby nerves: A nerve may be damaged while correcting the slipped vertebra. In this case, it can result in numbness, tingling, or pain.
Other Treatments for Spondylolisthesis
As stated earlier, most cases of spondylolisthesis do not require surgery. Non-surgical treatments can still help relieve pain and make the condition more manageable.
Bed rest is the most common spondylolisthesis treatment. Your doctor may recommend that you stay in bed for a few days, depending on the severity of your condition. If you have a severe case of spondylolisthesis, you may need to stay in bed for up to six weeks.
Physical therapy can help relieve pain and improve movement. In some cases, patients will need to undergo physical therapy if they decide to have surgery. The therapy can help you strengthen your back and improve your range of motion.
A doctor may prescribe pain medication or anti-inflammatory medicine, such as ibuprofen. If the pain is severe, a patient may also be prescribed a muscle relaxant. Many patients find that physical therapy combined with pain medications works better than just one or the other.
You may need to change some of your daily activities if you want to alleviate (and prevent) pain from spondylolisthesis. Your doctor may recommend avoiding activities that put pressure on your spine, such as heavy lifting, prolonged periods of sitting, or strenuous athletic activities.
Back braces can help support and stabilize your spine. They can also help you maintain proper posture if you’ve had surgery for your spondylolisthesis. Back braces can be worn for a short period of time or until you achieve the desired results.
Seek a Pain Management Dr
Surgery is a last resort for spondylolisthesis. Surgery is only recommended in rare cases in which the risks of not performing surgery outweigh the benefits. Spondylolisthesis is a condition that can be treated effectively with physical therapy, pain medications, and lifestyle changes.
If you struggle with spinal issues, find a pain management dr that you can trust. Book a consultation today, and you will be one step closer to alleviating your back pain.