Nagging lower back pain or aching in the buttocks can be a sign of a very common spinal condition called spondylolisthesis. Most common in the lower back, spondylolisthesis occurs when one vertebrae slips forward relative to another.
Not everyone with spondylolisthesis will have symptoms. Treatment will depend on the severity of symptoms, and whether the condition is stable or worsening.
Who gets spondylolisthesis?
Spondylolisthesis typically occurs in adolescent athletes and adults. Gymnasts, who perform movements that can hyperextend the spine, are at greater risk of developing the condition. Football, track and field and weightlifting athletes are also at risk.
The elderly, who are experiencing age-related breakdown of the spine, are also more likely to suffer from spondylolisthesis.
Symptoms of spondylolisthesis
While some people have no symptoms at all, people often experience spondylolisthesis as a nagging mild to moderate low back pain or aching in the lower back or buttocks.
Not everyone experiences spondylolisthesis in the same way. Symptoms may include one or more of the following:
- Persistent low back pain
- Tenderness in the lower back
- Back and leg stiffness
- Tight buttock and hamstring muscles
- Thigh pain
Discomfort may be worse after exercising. In severe cases, pain from nerves compressed by the slipped vertebrae can radiate down into the legs.
Treatment for spondylolisthesis
Treatment will depend on the severity of symptoms. Spondylolisthesis that is detected by imaging but which doesn’t cause symptoms may not require treatment.
Treatment for spondylolisthesis might include activity modification, medication, physical therapy, injections to reduce pain and inflammation, and/or a back brace.
In only the most severe of cases, spinal fusion surgery may be necessary to correct the deformity and stabilize the spine. Dr. Baig is skilled in performing the most advanced and least invasive spinal fusion procedures available with the goal always being to relieve pain, improve mobility and give you back your quality of life. He will only perform surgery if he is confident it will provide significant results.