Spondylolisthesis – Chiropractic Focus


spondylolisthesisNow that is a mouthful of 17 letters. No wonder they call this a $50 word. The term Spondylolisthesis is a scientific label or diagnosis of the condition in which one vertebral body is slipped forward over another. The condition may have started in infancy or it may be congenital. There is little to no pain in most cases until there is further instability of the spinal segments involved and the pain sensitive tissues like muscles, ligaments, nerves, cartilage and discs become inflamed, swollen, torn, stretched or otherwise irritated. A person could possibly go through their entire life without suffering any problems from this developmental condition.

When the “spondylo” becomes painful and an x-ray or an MRI test is performed, the radiologists report reads like a serious disease with many more $50 words; enough to scare anyone into following recommendations of surgical spinal fusion by the orthopedic surgeon. A more realistic and conservative surgeon, who obviously has seen this condition before, will opt to treat the actual cause of the pain, the soft tissues, and refer the patient for physical therapy to include passive therapies like ultrasound and electrical muscle stimulation to reduce the inflamed tissues; combined with core strengthening exercises. When that doesn’t work and surgery is thankfully left off the table, there are little options left, medically speaking, other than to just continue to manage the pain with medications.

Then comes the informed patient or the referral from the informed physician to the Doctor of Chiropractic. This has a monumental impact on the painful cases of Spondylolisthesis.

The chiropractor is specially trained to diagnose and treat the causes back and neck pains, so the spondylo has several specific options for case management that most chiropractors are very familiar with and utilize regularly in their practices. This condition is so well-managed by the chiropractic profession that it should be the healthcare provider of choice as the specialist for the problems associated with Spondylolisthesis.

How does the chiropractor treat this spinal condition? Through a variety of manual manipulation and soft tissue therapies that focus on each and every aspect of this back and nerve condition. As a 35+ year chiropractor I have seen and treated hundreds of such cases with satisfying results. It is rare that someone does not respond to timely, appropriate chiropractic care to relieve, abate and resolve the pain and disability associated with Spondylolisthesis.

When a person presents themselves with spine and nerve related pains and undergoes a proper and complete chiropractic evaluation, the spondylo is readily seen and the correct measures initiated to resolve the pain and disability. Sometimes a lumbosacral brace is used temporarily, sometimes there is the need for disc decompression protocols and/or passive therapies; while other times all that is required is a series of spinal adjustments (manipulations) careful administered to restore segmental stability or the integrity to the motor units of the affected area of the spine.

In plain English… it all just works! No drugs! No Surgery! All natural but very effective.

Chiro-practically yours,

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  • Reply
    08/28/2017 at 11:28 pm

    Hello doc Mike, I am currently diagnosed with L5-Sacrum grade 1 spondylolisthesis for a year now and experiencing constant lower back pain and left leg numbness. Been to 3 sessions of physical therapy but didn’t see any improvements. I am very interested into having a chiropractic treatment and was wondering how can I start. Thank you.

    • Reply
      Michel Tetrault
      11/24/2017 at 4:43 pm

      Dear Liana, Sorry to hear of your problems. Spondylolisthesis is not a curable condition but chiropractic can certainly help with the pain. Fact is the Grade 1 Spondylo was there long before you ever had any pain. Doctors of Chiropractic perform a consultation, spinal exam (you can bring your x-rays) and review of the examination findings before proceeding with care. It will likely take more then 3 sessions, so please listen to the doctor and stick to his or her plan for you. docMIKE

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