The word "Spondylolisthesis" has been derived from the Greek words "spondylos" means "Spine" and "Listhesis" means "Slippage". Spondylolisthesis is a condition of forward dislocation of one vertebra over the one beneath it. If this dislocation is very much, it produces pressure on spinal nerves. Forward movement of vertebra is called "Anterolisthesis" while backward movement is said to be "Retrolisthesis". Thus the backbone deforms and the spinal stenosis becomes narrow.
This disease is generally seen in teenagers, however, the degenerative Spondylolisthesis is observed in people above 40 years. Youngsters who play gymnastics, lift heavy weights and take part in athletic competitions indulge in this disease because it puts a high pressure on the backside.
The symptoms of Spondylolisthesis are not obvious, when this condition happens; the patient feels pain in his lower back. He may have to use sticks due to tightness of the hamstring tendon or the pain may spread to the lower parts of the body. Initially, the patient feels it difficult to walk and run or he may lose the bladder control.
With respect to the slippage, the radiologists have categorized this condition into four degrees, ie
Grade I = (1-25)% slippage
Grade II = (26-50)% slippage
Grade III = (51-75%) slippage
Grade IV = (76-100%) slippage
Grade I and II are not so severe, so there is no need for surgery. The patient can be treated by physiotherapy, using braces, taking regular exercise, painkillers or home remedies, but the Grade III and IV are severe and the patient has to go through a surgical treatment. The doctor gets the X-Ray report, CT scans or MRIs and these degrees are measured to diagnose the extent to which the state of the patient is.
The surgery involves two steps:
First one is called decompressive laminectomy in which the affected part of the body is removed that is causing nerve pressure. This helps in pain reduction, but there is a chance of spine to be unstable after this step. At the second step that is said to be the spinal fusion, the un-stability is overcome by the bone transplant. Thus, the process of fusion provides the spine a solid support and keeps it firm at its place.
General causes of Spondylolisthesis are weak joints, genetic problems, infection, spinal extension, degeneration, etc. A fracture, misplacement of disc or joint damage may lead to Spondylolisthesis as a result of some accident.
For pain relief, anti-inflammatory drugs are suggested by the medical practitioner such as aspirin, naproxen, acetaminophen, etc. In mild cases, general treatments are considered enough to provide relief.