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Spondylolisthesis & Spondylolysis

Spondylolisthesis/Spondylolysis Treatment

at Rolling Hills Medical in Torrance, CA

Spondylolysis Vs Spondylolisthesis

Do you have intermittent or chronic back pain that radiates into the buttocks? This is a symptom of spondylolisthesis and spondylolysis. Both of these conditions occur when a vertebra in the lower back experiences a stress fracture. Our doctors at Rolling Hills in Torrance provide spondylolisthesis and spondylolysis treatment options that are non-invasive and minimally invasive, and we only recommend surgery as a last resort.

Understanding Spondylolysis

Spondylolysis is a condition where a small crack forms in the pars interarticularis. The pars interarticularis is a very small portion of bone that connects the facet joints at the back of the spine. This type of crack usually develops in the L5 vertebra, but can also sometimes occur in the L4 vertebra.

Understanding Spondylolisthesis

Spondylolisthesis can occur as a result of spondylolysis. When the stress-fractured vertebra slips forward over the lower vertebra, the condition is then diagnosed as spondylolisthesis and is either labeled as low or high-grade.

  • Low-Grade Spondylolisthesis – Less than 50 percent of the vertebra has slipped over the lower vertebra.
  • High-Grade Spondylolisthesis – More than 50 percent of the vertebra has slipped forward over the lower vertebra.
Young female runner having backache caused by spondylolisthesis or spondylolysis.

Causes of Spondylolisthesis and Spondylolysis

Spondylolisthesis and spondylolysis are typically caused by overuse, and it’s more common in children and young adults, especially those who play sports that require a lot of overextending of the lower back, like gymnastics, football and soccer, than it is in older adults. However, these conditions can occur at any age and with any level of activity.

The second most common cause of Spondylolisthesis and spondylolysis is genetics. It some instances, it has been found that certain individuals may be born with thinner than average vertebral bones, which may be more susceptible to fracture and slippage.

Symptoms of Spondylolisthesis and Spondylolysis

For many individuals, spondylolisthesis and spondylolysis are asymptomatic, or the symptoms are so mild that they are not noticed. For these individuals, spondylolisthesis and spondylolysis may not be diagnosed until digital images are taken of the spine for a different type of injury, like a pinched nerve or suspected herniated disc. For individuals who do have symptoms, the pain may be mild or feel like a sprain or strain of the back. In some instances, the pain may radiate into the buttocks and worsen with prolonged activity.

Spondylolisthesis and Spondylolysis Treatment Options at Rolling Hills in Torrance

Patient performing hip exercise with a sports medicine doctor.

Here at Rolling Hills in Torrance, we offer non-surgical, minimally invasive and surgical options for spondylolisthesis and spondylolysis. Our spondylolysis doctor always strives to treat the condition with non-surgical and minimally invasive treatments before recommending spondylolysis surgery.

Non-Surgical Treatments

Non-surgical spondylolysis and spondylolisthesis treatment is always the first choice of our spondylolisthesis doctor.

  • Ice and Heat Therapy – Ice and heat therapy can help reduce inflammation and pain while promoting healing of soft tissues. Ice and heat can also be used when pain suddenly increases.
  • Pain Management – We offer individualized pain management program that utilizes over-the-counter and prescription medications as well as additional therapies and relaxation techniques to help reduce your pain and improve your quality of life.
  • Strengthening Exercises – Strengthening the back and core muscles can help alleviate pain and help better support the spine, which helps reduce pain.
  • Physical Therapy – Physical therapy is great for restoring function and mobility to injured parts of the body, including the back. This treatment involves performing extremely targeted exercises, movements and stretches both at home and in our office.

Minimally Invasive Treatments and Surgical Options

Out minimally invasive spondylolisthesis treatment options and surgical options are designed to help alleviate your pain so that you can get back to doing the activities you love. Our doctors typically recommend spondylolysis surgery as a last resort.

  • Radiofrequency Ablation – Helps reduce pain by targeting the aggravated nerve and preventing it from sending pain signals to the brain. During this treatment, a needle is guided to the nerve with the help of x-rays. Then, radiofrequency waves are passed through to the needle. As the temperature of the needle increases, a small lesion is created on the nerve to stop the pain signals.
  • Steroid Injections - Steroid injections or pain management injections are delivered directly to the spine in order to help control pain and restore mobility while other non-invasive treatment options, like chiropractic adjustments and physical therapy, are continued.
  • Spinal Fusion - This spondylolysis surgery involves placing bone grafts around the damaged vertebra in order to fuse it to the next to it. This can help stabilize the lower spine and provide pain relief.
  • Minimally Invasive Spondylolisthesis Surgery - Minimally invasive spondylolisthesis surgery has fewer risks and faster recovery times than traditional back surgery options. Our spondylolisthesis doctor can use minimally invasive techniques to provide disc decompression, fuse vertebrae and alleviate pressure on the spinal cord.

Post-surgical rehabilitation is crucial for full recovery. Rehabilitation will help to restore mobility and we often encourage the first session to proceed the day after surgery.

Spondylolisthesis Treatment in Torrance and Greater Los Angeles

As a leader in Pain Management and Spinal Surgery, Rolling Hills Medical offers advanced Spondylolisthesis diagnosis and treatment methods. Our team of multi-disciplinary hip specialists provides personalized care and treatment for each patient, based on their individual needs. Contact our Torrance Pain Management and Spinal Surgeons to discuss surgical and non-surgical Spondylolisthesis treatments. Call us today at 424-250-8699 for evaluation and treatment.

Dr. Neil Ghodadra, MD Orthopedic Surgery

Dr. Neil Ghodadra is our head of Orthopedic Surgery and one of our Ankle Specialists here at Rolling Hills Medical in Torrance. He has vast experience working with the NFL and other organizations around Los Angeles and Orange County. His background is compromised of training in cartilage restoration of the joint to preserve osteotomy, as well as treatment of other complex conditions.
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neil Ghodadra Arthroscopic Surgeon

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