Adult Isthmic spondylolysis and spondylolisthesis

By avn
5:31 am Posted April 21, 2016
In Spondylolisthesis

An overview of Adult Isthmic spondylolisthesis and spondylolysis

The spine consists of interconnected bone segments, which form the vertebrae. The lowest of the Lumbar vertebrae in the lower part of the spine the L5 vertebra, is prone to develop a crack in a small part called the Isthmus (otherwise called Pars-inter-articularis). A condition where this develops is called Spondylolysis. This crack may not be necessarily because of aging and very often develops in childhood but symptoms in many cases begin to appear during adulthood in the early thirties and forties. Usually, this crack does not create any problems but, in few cases, it may cause pain in the back and discomfort. This crack is actually a stress fracture and occurs because of continuous stress on the lower backbone. Spondylolysis, does not heal like a normal bone and may cause pain and other symptoms over time and may need medical intervention at times. In many cases, the cracked bone may slip over the vertebrae below; a condition termed as adult isthmic spondylolysis or spondylolisthesis.

Symptoms of Adult Isthmic spondylolisthesis and spondylolysis

Very common symptoms of adult isthmic spondylolysis or spondylolisthesis include pain in the back, stiffness, numbness tingling pain, muscle tightness, weakness of the leg, increased sway back and a limp. This pain may increase while walking or performing daily activities. Complete rest may improve the condition of the patient and provide some relief. Surveys have shown that 5 to 10% of adults consulting a spine specialist for a lower back x-ray have been diagnosed for spondylolysis or isthmic spondylolisthesis.

Diagnosis of isthmic spondylolisthesis and spondylolysis

Diagnosis of this medical condition begins with an x-ray recommended by the doctor. However, a crack or slippage is very often clearly visible on an x-ray. Very rarely additional tests like computed axial tomography (CT Scan) or an MRI may be required to the evaluation of the patient’s condition. These tests will clearly show the tissues, which have undergone damage, the extent of damage that has occurred and if this has affected the nearby bones.

Treatment for Adult Isthmic spondylolisthesis and spondylolysis

In most cases Adult Isthmic Spondylolysis or Spondylolisthesis does not require surgery as the L5 vertebra is protected by strong ligaments. For a long period of time this condition is asymptomatic and when the pain begins to manifest, the doctor may recommend complete rest to ease the pain. Non-surgical treatment by Orthopedics may also include anti-inflammatory medication, analgesic drugs either orally or through injections. This will help reduce the pain, swelling and support the patient to perform daily activities without any hindrance. Braces may also be recommended for stabilization. Physical therapy may be advised to improve flexibility and strength. Yoga is becoming extremely popular for strengthening of the back muscles after the rest periods.

Ayurvedic treatment of Adult Isthmic Spondylolisthesis and Spondylolysis

Ayurvedic treatment is very popular for treatment of many types of back problems and adult Isthmic spondylolisthesis is no exception. Ayurvedic medications and oil applications are very effective when used for a period of time in relieving the pain and other symptoms without the need for pain killers. Persons who have, pinched nerves leading to pain spreading to the legs or numbness in the legs due to the nerves getting involved, may require more intense Ayurvedic therapies with rest or with physical therapy and stabilization to overcome the problems. In almost all cases it is possible to avoid surgery with Ayurvedic treatment by experienced Ayurvedic physicians.

Surgical treatment of Adult Isthmic Spondylolisthesis

Surgical treatment is recommended only to those patients whose condition has either not improved or worsened is spite of non-surgical treatment. If a spine nerve has been compressed in cases, a surgery helps in reopening a tunnel or way for the nerve to move freely. Fusion may also be suggested to avoid further slippage. Fusion surgeries have a success rate of about 75% in relieving symptoms of isthmic spondylolisthesis.

Recovery from Adult Isthmic Spondylolisthesis surgery

Recovery from surgery depends on several factors including the occupation of the patient. If the patient is passive and his daily routine does not include too much of physical activity, the same may recover in two or three weeks whereas it may take several months in case of active patients.

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