Are you searching for a spondylolisthesis explanation that you can actually understand? The technical aspects of listhesis can be confusing, but we can explain the nature of the condition to you in a way that makes perfect sense.
Spondylolisthesis is a rather common spinal abnormality, affecting people to different degrees. Since the condition is so case-specific in its causes, symptoms and treatment, it is really a good idea to learn all about listhesis so that you can take a more active role in your care. Being passive during healthcare is a great way to end up a victim of misdiagnosis, financial exploitation and unnecessary treatment. We are sure that none of these fates sounds appealing to you.
This patient guide seeks to explain spondylolisthesis in simple, easy to comprehend language that every patient can utilize to improve their chances of finding relief.
Most Basic Spondylolisthesis Explanation
Ok, so let’s start with the basics. The human spine is segmented, which means that it consists of individual bones called vertebra which are held together by joints where bones meet, softer spinal discs and an assortment of ligaments, tendons and tissues that bind everything together.
Picture a person standing upright. The spine runs from the skull all the way to the pelvis, where it indirectly joins the legs via attachments to the pelvic girdle. The bones of the spine are all stacked on top of one another with spacers called discs in between each bone.
Let’s focus on imagining the spine from the side view of a standing person, also called the profile or sagittal view. When we look at the spine from this view, we can see that it has many natural curvatures. The spine forms a gentle cascade of vertebral bones with the smallest at the top and the largest at the bottom. The spine flows through several curvatures in the neck, upper back, lower back and buttocks regions.
Each vertebral bone will have a position relative to those bones above and below it. It may be a bit forward, almost directly in line or slightly rearward of the vertebral bones which neighbor it, depending on where in the spine these bones exist. Remember, the spine has several natural curvatures.
Spondylolisthesis is a condition where one or more vertebral bones move out of their normal alignment with the bones above and below it in the spine. This is the most basic explanation of spondylolisthesis.
Expanded Spondylolisthesis Explanation
Ok, so now you know that spondylolisthesis describes an atypical movement of one or more bones from their normal spinal alignment. This is easy to understand, right? Let’s go a bit deeper and improve your knowledge of the diagnosis.
When the abnormal vertebral bone movement is forward, towards the front of the body also called the anterior plane, the condition can be called anterolisthesis. Basically this just means abnormal forward movement of a spinal bone.
When the movement of the vertebral bone is rearwards, towards the back of the body also called the posterior plane, the condition can be called retrolisthesis, which just means rearward movement of the vertebral bone from its typical position in the spine.
Furthermore, both varieties of anterolisthesis and retrolisthesis range in severity. The further the bone moves out of position, the higher they are graded by doctors. The grading scale ranges from 1 to 4, as well as an extreme category above 4 called spondyloptosis. To really understand these conditions, we highly recommend reading our full coverage of spondylolisthesis grading.
Taking the time and effort to read articles like this shows that you are on the right path when it comes to dealing with your listhesis condition. The more you learn, the better you will do when it comes to achieving accurate diagnosis and optimal treatment for your spondylolisthesis. We are happy to help by providing this website free of charge to teach you everything you need to know to become a fully informed patient.
We also cover spondylolisthesis on our original back pain website and on several other sites of The Cure Back Pain Network. If you really want to understand the big picture of the condition from multiple points of view, please use of site search function to query the term spondylolisthesis and learn all that you can from our expert editorial board. Remember, all of our websites are completely free to use and enjoy!