These terms have confused quite a few patients, owing to the similar names and pronunciation. But they are very different when it comes to symptoms. In this article, we will be giving you a practical health guide for Spondylolysis and Spondylolisthesis and the various spondylosis treatments available.
Spondylolysis is defined as a defect of a vertebra or the pars interarticularis of the vertebral arch. A majority of the cases occur in the lowest of the lumbar vertebrae (L5). If the pars “cracks” or fractures, it is spondylolysis. On the other hand, with spondylolisthesis, the pars interarticularis defect can be on one side of the spine or both sides. The fracture gap widens and the vertebra shifts forward. It occurs mostly at lumbar 4-5 and rarely higher.
It is known that spondylolysis is the most common cause of isthmic spondylolisthesis. Isthmic spondylolisthesis is where the bone slips over the other and is the most common cause of back pain in adolescents. The most common symptom is back or leg pain that limits a patient’s activity.
You must understand the cause before you can start the spondylosis treatment. There are several causes for spondylolysis. One such cause is the hereditary factor in the genetics of the family. An individual may be born with a thin vertebral bone and prone to this condition. Also, significant periods of rapid growth may encourage slippage. Overuse of bones of the lower back in some sport events like gymnastics, weight lifting and football cause a lot of stress on the bones resulting in a stress fracture on one or both sides of the vertebra. Spondylolisthesis cause spasms that stiffen the back causing the hamstring muscles to tighten resulting in changes to posture and pace. If the slippage is significant, it may begin to compress the nerves and narrow the spinal canal.
Only an x- ray of the lumbar spine will show the position of the vertebra; where the pars interarticularis is part of the lumbar spine. Usually, the fifth lumbar vertebra shifts on the part of the pelvic bone called the sacrum. The doctor measuring the standing lateral spine X-rays determines the amount of forward.
The spondylosis treatment consists of various options of non invasive medical procedures, back brace and physical therapy. Firstly, the individual should take adequate rest so that the symptoms go away. If back pain occurs, anti- inflammatory or pain killers may be used, under the advice of the specialist. A back brace and physical therapy may be recommended, depending on the extent of the injury. Stretching and strengthening exercises for the back and abdominal muscles can help prevent future recurrences of pain. If there is a drastic change in the slippage, or the back pain doesn’t respond to previous procedures, invasive medical procedures must be undertaken, only as a last resort.
Dr. Manisha Moorjani is a Postgraduate in Sports Physiotherapy and Fellow in Sports Sciences with a total experience of 3 years in treating and managing Sports Injuries and rehabilitation and Spine care for conditions like Spondylosis.
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Author : Manisha Moorjani