As we learned in my previous article, the risk factors of spondylolysis, which include genetics, overtraining in sports, and obesity can all lead to spondylolisthesis. And because these conditions work hand in hand so to speak, the treatments for them are similar to a certain degree. Let’s break them down individually.
Like any medical condition, early diagnosis of spondylolysis is key to a faster recovery. But how you can recover faster if doctors and researchers have yet to come up with a solid plan for treatment? Yes, you read that correctly. There is no set agenda for treating this condition, but studies do show significant improvement when combining the use of a back brace and physical therapy to strengthen the muscles around facet joint and increase flexibility around the pelvic muscles. In a case of spondylolysis where the bones will not heal, electrical stimulation and surgery have proven success as well.
Sponsylolisthesis is measured by grades. Depending on the “grade of your severity” depends on your treatment. There are four possible grades of this condition depending of the degree of slippage. Each grade represents 25 percent. For example, 0 percent slippage - or no grade of the condition - means the vertebrae are in the right position and exactly the distance they should be from one another. Grade 2 would equate to 50 percent slippage, meaning that the two vertebrae affected would be within 50 percent contact with each other. Grade 4, or 100 percent slippage means two of your vertebra are literally sitting on each other's lap. That’s not good not matter how you try to spin it. So, what do you do now?
In treating spondylolisthesis, like I said early, it mainly depends on the severity of your slippage. Grades 1 and 2 commonly reacts well to physical therapy, stretching and exercises, and a back brace. If your condition falls under a grade 3 or 4, you may be looking at surgery to be your best option.
No matter what your treatment plan may be for either spondylolysis or spondylolisthesis, the fact is, you already developed the condition. I want to take a minute to emphasize the importance of ways you can avoid it, so treatment isn’t necessary. Aside from the obvious health problems that obesity facilitates, it is also a common risk factor for spondylolysis and spondylolisthesis. Excess belly fat puts pressure on your foundation, which weakens the pars, causing a stress fracture. Research shows that excess body weight destabilizes the spinal column as well.
Decreasing your body mass index and strengthening your core gives you the optimal chances of maintaining a healthy back free of spondylolysis and spondylolisthesis.