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The word "spondylolisthesis" comes from the Greek word for "spine" (spondylos) and the Greek word for "slipping" (listhesis). Spondylolisthesis is a medical condition that affects the spine. The condition is caused by one or more vertebra bones slipping out of place and onto the bone below. The condition is extremely painful and is usually caused by trauma. Spondylolisthesis is also a condition in which the vertebrae bones move more than they should, causing vertebrae to "slip" out of place. Should the vertebrae bones slip, the nerves in the area of the injury can compress or pinch spinal nerves causing substantial lower back and leg pain.

What are the Differences Between Spondylolysis and Spondylolisthesis?

Spondylolysis and Spondylolisthesis are both conditions that involve the spine, and they both cause lower back pain. However, the two medical conditions are different.

  • Spondylolysis: Spondylolysis is a medical condition that is caused by a stress fracture or cracks in the vertebrae. 
  • Spondylolisthesis: Spondylolisthesis is not caused by cracked or fractured vertebrae but by unnatural vertebrae movement, which causes the vertebrae bones to slide out of place and affect the bone underneath. Spondylolisthesis is also caused by spondylolysis when the vertebrae fracture slips out of place.

Spondylolisthesis is classified according to the underlying cause of vertebrae movement. The three types of Spondylolisthesis include:

  • Congenital Spondylolisthesis: Congenital Spondylolisthesis is a birth defect that transpired when a fetus' spinal column fails to properly form during gestation. The baby will be born with slightly misaligned vertebrae that slip out of place throughout their life.
  • Degenerative Spondylolisthesis: Degenerative Spondylolisthesis is caused by gradual thinning and deterioration of spinal discs as a person ages. As a person's disks become thinner over time, the discs become less effective and slip out of place.
  • Isthmic Spondylolisthesis: Isthmic Spondylolisthesis is caused by a fracture or crack that weakens the vertebrae bones causing them to slip out of place.
  • Pathological Spondylolisthesis: Is caused by a disease such as osteoporosis or a bone tumor in the spine resulting in vertebrae slippage.
  • Traumatic Spondylolisthesis: Traumatic Spondylolisthesis is a type of Spondylolisthesis caused by physical trauma.

Spondylolisthesis cases are classified by four "grades" of severity. These grades are based on the amount of vertebra bone splippage:

  • Grade 1 1% to 24% 
  • Grade 2 25-50%
  • Grade 3 51-75%
  • Grade 4 76-100%

Treating Spondylolisthesis involves relieving the patient's pain in their legs, and lower back, and treatment comes in three levels. The first treatment level involves the use of pain and anti-inflammatory medications with physical therapy. 

The next level of medical treatment may include epidural steroid injections. These injections contain powerful anti-inflammatory steroids that are injected into the epidural space of the spine. These injections can be highly effective but generally do not last for long periods of time.

The final treatment option involves spinal decompression surgery with or without vertebrae fusion. This surgical procedure involves the surgeon removing a disc from the spine. This forms a space that reduces the pressure the "out-of-place" vertebrae bone is putting on the nerve.

Spondylolisthesis is often caused in motor vehicle accidents or slip and fall accidents. When a spondylolisthesis injury is the result of an accident caused by another's negligence, the spondylolisthesis injury victim may be legally qualified to pursue financial compensation. Monetary compensation for spondylolisthesis injuries caused by a car accident usually includes accident-related medical expenses, physical therapy, medication, lost wages, pain and suffering. The injury victim may also be compensated for property damage, rental cars, and other damages. 

What Causes Spondylolisthesis?

Spondylolisthesis is a degenerative spinal disc disease that occurs with age. However, spondylolisthesis can be caused by physical trauma caused by an auto accident.

How to Treat Spondylolisthesis?

Treating spondylolisthesis begins with medication and physical therapy. The next step in treatment could include epidural steroid injections. The last resort for treating spondylolisthesis includes spinal decompression surgery. Leaving spondylolisthesis untreated can lead to partial paralysis in the legs, permanent nerve damage, and/or a spinal infection.

The most common vertebra to slide out of place due to spondylolisthesis is the L4-L5 vertebrae. These vertebrae bones provide the widest range of spinal movement.

Legal Help for Car Accident Victims 

Did your loved one sustain spinal injuries in an accident caused by another's negligence?  Protect your legal rights by calling Montlick Injury Attorneys Nationwide, 24/7, at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). Our Car Accident Injury Lawyers in Georgia are here to listen, understand your situation, and advise you. 

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