Spondylolisthesis is a condition which can cause lower-back pain wherein a lumbar vertebra slides out of place.  The fifth lumbar vertebra (L5), located above the sacrum, is most prone to Lumbosacral Spondylolisthesis, followed by the fourth lumbar vertebra (L4). Spondylolisthesis is a key factor behind back pain in teenagers, mostly during the teen-age growth spurt, while Degenerative Spondylolisthesis is common in individuals over 40 years. Below is a more detailed look at Lumbosacral Spondylolisthesis, with special emphasis on surgical and physical therapy treatment. Read on!

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Lumbosacral Spondylolisthesis Treatment

Conservative treatment methods are usually effective in managing Spondylolisthesis, wherein using anti-inflammatory medications or steroids such as cortisone, can significantly reduce low-back pain. Physical therapy treatment is often incorporated into spondylolisthesis treatment. Such exercises for Lumbosacral Spondylolisthesis treatment focus on strengthening and improving the flexibility of the abdominal and lower-back muscles.

Conservative treatment

Under the conservative treatment method, the patient is advised to refrain from sports and other activities until the pain subsides. Over-the-counter, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as naproxen (Aleve or Naprosyn) and ibuprofen (Motrin) help in reducing inflammation and pain. Some cases, however, require epidural steroid injections (ESI’s), administered directly into the vertebra to reduce inflammation and alleviate pain.

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Physical therapy

Stabilization exercises are one of the most important forms of spondylolisthesis treatment in the absence of surgery. These core exercises help strengthen abdominal and back muscles, while reducing the spinal movement. In most cases, patients require 8 to 12 weeks of aggressive daily physical therapy and stabilization exercises to achieve clinical improvement.


Surgery might be a necessary option, in cases where the vertebra continues to slip, or where the pain is not alleviated by using conservative treatments. Primary objectives of spondylolisthesis surgery, include stabilizing the spine, relieving the pain, and restoring the patient’s body functions.

Decompressive Laminectomy
The procedure involves removal of part of the bone, pressing against the nerves. While the surgery helps in reducing pain, it may also leave the spinal column unstable.

Spinal Fusion
The spinal fusion procedure provides stability to the vertebrae. In fusion surgery, the spinal disc is removed and replaced by a cage or bone graft.  Rods, screws and a bone graft may be implanted to the rear end of the spine at the same time.  With time, the bone graft heals and fuses with the spine, thereby, stabilizing and keeping it in place.

Wrapping up

Not every patient responds positively to conservative modes of spondylolisthesis treatment, for which surgeons have to resort to surgical correction of the spinal column. Surgery usually involves fusion of the slipping joint in the spine, or reduction of the pressure on the vertebral column via a laminectomy. If you have any questions on Lumbosacral Spondylolisthesis or Degenerative spine conditions, experts at Texas Health Spine and Orthopedic Center can help. To schedule an appointment, fill out our online booking form or give us a call at +1-888-608-4762.