Spondylosis, spondylolysis, and spondylolisthesis are three related spinal conditions that can affect the vertebrae and cause pain, stiffness, and reduced mobility.
Spondylosis is a general term that refers to the degenerative changes that occur in the spine over time. These changes can include the loss of water content in the intervertebral discs, the formation of bone spurs, and the development of herniated discs. Spondylosis can occur anywhere in the spine, but it is most commonly found in the cervical and lumbar regions.
Spondylolysis is a specific type of spinal condition that occurs when there is a stress fracture in the pars interarticularis, which is the bony region that connects the facet joints of the spine. This can lead to instability in the spine and cause pain or stiffness in the affected area.
Spondylolisthesis is a condition that occurs when a vertebra slips out of its normal position and moves forward or backward in relation to the adjacent vertebrae. This can cause compression of the nerves in the spinal cord and lead to pain, numbness, or weakness in the affected area.
Risk factors for spondylosis, spondylolysis, and spondylolisthesis include age, repetitive stress on the spine, genetic factors, and certain medical conditions such as osteoporosis,”explains Orthopedic Surgeon Rolando Garcia, M.D.
Symptoms can include back pain, stiffness, and reduced mobility, as well as numbness or weakness in the legs or arms in severe cases.
Treatment for these conditions typically involves a combination of conservative measures such as physical therapy, pain management, and lifestyle changes (such as exercise and weight loss). In some cases, surgery may be necessary. The type of surgery will depend on the specific condition and the severity of the symptoms. It is important to work with a medical professional to develop a comprehensive treatment plan based on individual needs and symptoms.
In what cases surgery may be necessary to correct instability or relieve pressure on the nerves?
Surgery for spondylosis or spondylolysis is typically considered as a last resort when conservative treatments have been ineffective, and the condition is causing severe pain or spinal instability. Surgery may also be recommended if the individual is at risk of developing complications such as spinal cord compression or progressive neurological symptoms.
Examples of when surgery may be necessary to correct spondylosis or spondylolysis include:
- Spinal Fusion: Spinal fusion surgery may be recommended if there is instability in the spine due to the condition. In this procedure, two or more vertebrae are fused together using bone grafts or implants, which can provide stability and prevent further damage to the spine.
- Decompression Surgery: Decompression surgery may be recommended if the condition is causing nerve compression or spinal cord compression. In this procedure, the surgeon will remove any tissue or bone that is compressing the nerves or spinal cord, which can relieve pain and other neurological symptoms.
- Osteotomy: In some cases, an osteotomy may be performed to correct the alignment of the spine. This involves cutting and repositioning the affected vertebrae to improve spinal alignment and reduce pain or nerve compression.
It is important to note that surgery is not always necessary or appropriate for correcting spondylosis or spondylolysis. A medical professional will assess the individual’s specific situation and consider all non-surgical treatment options before recommending surgery.Please check our two locations. For all scheduling questions or for appointments, call 305.937.1999