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Spondylolisthesis

Hidden threat for our health

Spondylolisthesis is the state where one of the vertebrae abnormally slips forwards (It can be backwards in some cases but is very rare). It is found most commonly in people who are more than 50 years old and in women more than men because the tendon and ligament of females are more flexible than men’s. So they are less stable and prone to dislocate more easily. The levels of dislocation can be divided into 4 levels:

  • Level 1: 25%
  • Level 2: 50%
  • Level 3: 75%
  • Level 4: 100%

For level 1 and 2, the symptom can be cured without surgery. But for level 3-4, general treatments are usually not effective so surgery is needed during these stages.

Causes

Spondylolisthesis is usually caused by deteriorated vertebrae which leads to collapsed herniated discs. This inflames each joint between spinal column and loosens surrounding tendon. The vertebrae joints become less stable and the herniated discs eventually collapse. Other causes are, for example, a serious accident where the patients’ vertebrae are clashed or a complication in females who passed pregnancy.

Symptoms

In the early stage, the symptoms are not so visible but when worsened, the patients will have a serious pain from the back to thigh and legs. If the affected spinal column is moved further and presses nerves, the patients will have numbness and weakness in the legs. They will feel their legs are heavier than usual and have troubles walking.

Physiotherapy treatment

The physiotherapists will use an electrical stimulator to reduce pain and numbness, mobilization technique and lumbar traction. Another necessary treatment is to exercise the back muscle to have it support the vertebrae and fix them to their position. For level 3-4, the opportunities that the spinal cord will be fully healed are quite limited.

For more information, please contact Rainbow Arokaya.

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