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L5 SPONDYLOLISTHESIS

Started by nogama_mustafa on 06/27/2010 6:16am

PLEASE ADVISE ME WHAT CAN BE DONE TO GET RID OF SPONDYLOLISTHESIS.

IN THE CT SCAN I FOUND THAT THERE IS A CRACK IN MY L5 LUMBAR SPINE AND WHICH IS CREATING ALL THE PAIN IN MY BACK LOWERING UPTO THE THIGHS, I AM NOT ABLE TO WALK PROPERLY OR STAND ON MY FEET, NEITHER I CAN SLEEP CALMLY IN THE NIGHT. EVERY NIGHT I AM IN PAIN LIKE FISH WITHOUT WATER.
MY MRI WAS OK AND FOUND EVERYTHING CLEAR. I AM FACING THIS PROBLEM SINCE LAST 7 YEARS AND I HAVE CONSULTED SO MANY DOCTORS HERE BUT OF NO USE.
NOW I AM LIVING ON PAIN KILLERS AND MY BODY IS GETTING WEAKER AT ALL TIMES.

CAN SOMEONE SUGGEST ME WHAT TO DO FOR THIS L5 CRACK WHICH I HAVE????

THANKS ALL IN ADVANCE

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23 Responses

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I was just diagnosed as having sponylosthesis affecting the l4-s2. I am going to physical therapy, and about to undergo epidural steroid injections. if these do not work on the first try I will be undergoing surgery to fuse my slipped vertebre and allow my pars fractures to heal. I refused the narcotic pain meds they only serve to make me fuzzy and my pain seems to increase on them, I have found that time in a swimming pool in water up to my neck helps ease the pressure on my low back. Alternating ice and heat help some. I use a stim machine some to help, and the ultrasound through the PT office helps as well. Massage can also help with the muscular pain, but be certain to mind a therapist who understands your particular situation and is trained to handle that. Hope this helps

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You CANNOT get rid of spondylolisthesis!
I have no idea which vertebra is causing my endless pain and loss of mobilkity. You see, in the Uk, we never get to see our X-ray or MRI results. We are sent to see a consultant at the hospital and the results are sent t our GP.....

We are then in the care of our GP and we never know the ful extent of the dasmage: we just have to endure it.

I endure constant pain, that varies from tolerable to agonising and disabling. I never sleep a night through, waking almost every time I need to turn over in bed.

I don't drive, so I'm stuck in my houuse most of the tiome, going mad for lack of contact.

I'm dependant on Co-codamol - though that drug doesn't help eae the pain for the most part.

I was told that the only,'cure,' available for spondy is spinal fusion surgery. It's too risky and I declined to have it.

I grow less and less mobile, while my pain grows ever more dominant.

I am lonely because I have little out-of the- home contact.

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It's not POSSIBLE to get rid of spondylolisthesis!

Once you have it, you're stuck with it!

It was more than ten years before it was diagnosed for me.
Ten years in which the increasing pain was treated as arthritis, treated with anti-inflammatiory drugs.
They, in turn, wreaked havoc with my digestive system.

I had an MRI in 2008. That showed the true picture of the damage to my spine - and all I was offered was fusion surgery.

I declined that - knowing how very risky it is and how it leads to further problems in the spine.

I have no idea which particular vertebra is causing my problem. See, in the UK, we don't see our MRI results. They're sent to our GP, not to us.

I can hardly walk at times, because the pain is SO intense. I never sleep a night through.

I'm dependant on Co-codamol.

DO NOT EXERCISE! In my experience, trying to do that makes the pain very much WORSE!

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Maggi, I just got the great news I have Spondy myself. Level 1. I was told therapy was only option. I am in so much pain and can not sit for long periods and can not sleep well. I have tried therapy before and everytime I do I end up back at the doctor in so much pain I hate myself. LOL. I am so lost in the whole process. I also have a bulging disc. Any input would be helpful from anyone.

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My friend, you NEVER get rid of spondylolisthesis!

Take it from me; I've been the route of not knowing WHAT was causing my increasing pain, to being sent for uncomfortable X-rays, to finally, being sent for a consultation with a spinal surgeon......She ordered an MRI - which was an experience I NEVER want to repeat!

Three weeks later, a letter arrived, calling me back to see the consultant......Her diagnosis was that I should have a spinal fusion operation.

I knew about this procedure from having seen my ex-father-in-law have it - and was wary.

Researching the surgery online and then consulting my own GP, I learned just how HIGH is the incidence of failure of the surgery to relieve the pain.

I declined to have the operationand thus exist on a cocktail of drugs.
Better that, I think, than risk eight hours of surgery to finish up no better - or indeed, WORSE - than I am now.

At least, as my situation stands, I know where I stand - or DON'T stand, depending on the pain.....!

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Hi,

I had a cracks in my L5-S1 area for 7 years. I tried steroid epidural injections, electoids that were to burn the nerve ends, trigger point injections, cortozone injections by them selves, physical therapy.....basically, everything. Nothing worked. I could not walk very well and I had the leg pain as well.

I had the spine fusion surgery with instrumentation. I woke up and I could not feel a portion of my foot up through my calf. 2 years later I am worse now then I was prior to my surgery. My condition now is "failed spine surgery" patient that suffers from "chronic lower back pain". There is nothing they can do for me now except for a dorsal column stimulator or more medication.

Have you tried the Dorsal Column Stimulator? I tried it for a week and it worked for me. Helped my pain and reduced it significantly. I am having a hard time accepting a surgery that will place a battery under my skin but if I had been given the option before I would have taken the stimulator.

If you have not tried it.....ask about it before you have ANY type of major surgery. I am now a 100% percent disabled veteran and cannot work. I cannot stand, walk, sit, lay in any one position for more than a few minutes without wanting to cry.

try anything and everything before the surgery. I hope you reply and keep in touch. Not everyone understands our pain and it is nice to have someone who understands to talk about it with.

Nikki here is my email imayeoman@yahoo.com

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It's true that no-one who hasn't experienced the never-ending pain of Spondy can even begin to grasp the all-pervasive nature of the condition.

I'm sad to hear that surgery left you, Nikki (sorry if I've got the wrong person) with damage thatt has made your situation worse. That kind of result was why I, after researching spinal fusion surgery, decided against it.
Since then, I've spoken to too many people whose lives have been wrecked by having fusion surgery that I know I was right to refuse it.

I'm never free of pain to a greater or lesser degree and am dependant upon Co-coadamol to keep me going. Much better that, though, than to have had my limited mobility made even MORE limited by failed surgery......

This is the first group I've found, after much trawling of the 'net, that offers REAL suppofrt.

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It's true that no-one who hasn't experienced the never-ending pain of Spondy can even begin to grasp the all-pervasive nature of the condition.

I'm sad to hear that surgery left you, Nikki (sorry if I've got the wrong person) with damage thatt has made your situation worse. That kind of result was why I, after researching spinal fusion surgery, decided against it.
Since then, I've spoken to too many people whose lives have been wrecked by having fusion surgery that I know I was right to refuse it.

I'm never free of pain to a greater or lesser degree and am dependant upon Co-coadamol to keep me going. Much better that, though, than to have had my limited mobility made even MORE limited by failed surgery......

This is the first group I've found, after much trawling of the 'net, that offers REAL suppofrt.

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It's true that no-one who hasn't experienced the never-ending pain of Spondy can even begin to grasp the all-pervasive nature of the condition.

I'm sad to hear that surgery left you, Nikki (sorry if I've got the wrong person) with damage thatt has made your situation worse. That kind of result was why I, after researching spinal fusion surgery, decided against it.
Since then, I've spoken to too many people whose lives have been wrecked by having fusion surgery that I know I was right to refuse it.

I'm never free of pain to a greater or lesser degree and am dependant upon Co-coadamol to keep me going. Much better that, though, than to have had my limited mobility made even MORE limited by failed surgery......

This is the first group I've found, after much trawling of the 'net, that offers REAL support.

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As per next post

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Hi Maggi,

Sorry to hear that you have such pain and mixed perceptions about the effectiveness of surgery for spondylolisthesis.

In addition to the "majority" of people who actually have successful surgery for spondylolisthesis, I am more than glad to indicate my successful surgery outcome.

3 years ago, I was diagnosed with Isthmic Spondylolisthesis Grade 1 at the L5/S1 vertebral level. I experienced daily mechanical pain for which I am sure that you can also attest to. I was told by a chiropractor that it was more than likely that my spondylolisthesis would not deteriorate any further and that conservative treatment ( I.e. physiotherapy, chiropractory, and topical formulas) would suffice.

However, 8 months after being diagnosed, my pain levels had substantially increased and I was having intermittent flair up's which involved multiple disc bulges (this is the domino affect from a destabilized spine - spondylolisthesis was the stressor). Despite continued efforts to mitigate my evolving daily pain, conservative treatment was not helping and I was then starting to experience neurologic issues which involved intense sharp stabbing and burning neuropathic pain down my right leg (sciatica).

After persistent pain and obvious neural problems which were associated with the isthmic spondylolisthesis domino affect, I had undertaken extensive research for a prospective neurosurgeon before my first consultation in February, 2011. Upon my consultation with my neurosurgeon, he arranged an MRI for me and the results confirmed significant further deterioration involving Neuroforaminal stenosis (nerve impingement from narrowed foramina nerve canal) at L5/S1 level; disc bulge with annular tear and facet joint degeneration at L3/L4; and disc degeneration, broad based disc herniation, and facet joint degeneration at L4/L5 level. Upon seeing the evidence, my neurosurgeon arranged for me to have a Minimally Invasive Transforaminal Lumber Interbody Fusion (TLIF) with hardware at L5/S1 level.

Furthermore, I had my surgery on the 11th July this year and I am now at 9 weeks post surgery. I must say that, I am feeling absolutely wonderful and my pain levels are 90% better than they were before surgery! Without surgery intervention, the reality is that I would have continued having long term crippling pain not to mention more serious neurologic deficits (I.e. loss of muscle function; incontinence; decreased leg sensations; leg weakness; abnormal reflexes; paralysis; and further deterioration of my lumber spine area) Therefore, not being able to work and maintain any quality of life.

I note that you quote "you can't get rid of spondylolisthesis" within your posts. May I point out that, the surgical process of having the TLIF procedure results in realignment and restabilization of the spine, thus, spondylolisthesis (vertebral slippage/overlap) is eliminated. If coupled with a suitably experienced/qualified spinal surgeon, the TLIF procedure has a low incidence of complications and in fact, many clinical studies and surveys indicate that the majority of TLIF patient's report substantial pain reduction as well a successful fusion rate (i.e. 90%>).

As with any surgery, you need to weigh up the risks verses the benefits (in my case, the benefits clearly outweighed the risks). When considering spinal surgery, you also need to make sure that you select a suitably qualified and experienced orthopedic or neurosurgeon who has demonstrated expertise in successfully performing spinal surgery procedures as such careful selection will heavily influence the surgery outcome. Yes, there can be potential issues that may arise from surgery implications, though, having an experienced and well recognized surgeon can mitigate such risks.

Given your situation, I believe that you should undertake more research as well as talk with spinal professionals and spinal surgery patients before adopting a dismissive perception of surgery. Pain/disfunction or relief....the choice is your's. Of course, I sincerely wish you all the very best in resolving your condition.

Nogama Mustafa:

With respect to the minority of failed surgery cases, there are positive outcomes to spinal surgery, myself and many other's can certainly attest to that! Please do not hesitate to ask me any questions that you may have?

I recommend that you seek a spine professional's opinion as well as undertake your own research before being influenced by unsubstantiated claims. In addition to this forum and the Spine Universe website, I found that the "Medifocus Guide on Spondylolisthesis" was also a great starting point for informative information.

Take care and kind regards,

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Hi Maggi,

You had my name right :) Yes, what you said is correct. I am one of the 10% that the surgery was an absolute failure. The other person who posted had the same surgery as I did and sounds like she is doing great. If I believed I would be worse I would have never agreed to the surgery. I was in so much pain and "thought" I tried everything so I gave it a shot to improve my quality of life.....

I didn't try the Dorsal Column Stimulator until AFTER my spine fusion surgery. Stupid me because as you know, the drugs don't work unless you are taking enough to make you drool on yourself or others but the stimulator did work in relieving my pain.

I would suggest a person tries everything and anything prior to having major surgery and then do not go through with it until you absolutely need to. I am fortunate that my injury happened while I was in the Navy on active duty and my injuries are service connected which means the government pays a decent amount each month and every month for the rest of my life. If it weren't for that, I don't know how I would have handled being a single mother of 2 young sons and being physically incapable of working, I am very fortunate. Kids are healthy, I can walk....kinda, and our needs are met.

I am really interested in hearing about which path you take wrt your long term care.

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Hi Nikki,

Sorry to hear that your previous surgery was unsuccessful, no person should ever incur that sort of negative outcome. In your case, do you know what was the root cause of your failed surgery?..non fusion?

On a positive note, you made me laugh with your comment about drugs only being effective after the point of drooling over someone. I can relate to that (figure of speech) as I have another spinal issue to address (I.e. cervical neuroforaminal stenosis at C3/4 & C6/7 levels). My main symptoms are intense daily neuropathic burning pain which extends down both arms to forearms and middle fingers.

I really hope that you find some treatment out there which will improve your condition? It is amazing how many new treatments are emerging and I am therefore sure that you will find one.

Keep up the positive spirit and good luck with your pain management.

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Robert; I DID consult a spinal expert......She told me that surgery was my ONLY option if I wanted to avoid ending up wheelchair-bound......Yet I later, during my research into fusion surgery, I spoke with several former patients of this surgeon - all of who had been left with varying forms of worse pain - and in two cases, irreparable nerve damage!
I then spoke to a physiotherapist, who has to deal patients post-fusion - and she told me that this surgeon has a terrible reputation for carrying out fusion surgery and leaving her patients cut adrift, with no positive outcome and leaving them to cope as best they can.

It's not easy to gain treatment when you can't pay to consult the top in their field. Most of us have to make do with what we're offered.

As I've mentioned, I don't even know which of my vertebrae is displaced! I haven't seen my MRI images. Under the British NHS, one hasn't the automatic right to see test results. In fact, one has to go through (metaphorical) hoops to be able to do so.

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Hi Robert,

My surgeon and family doc do not know why the surgery did not work they just know it didn't. I asked why it failed and they couldn't say one way or the other The bones are fused and the plate is in the proper place but my pain from worse to worser....lol.
I have literally tried every pain remedy. I won't take the amount of meds my doctor said would allow me to pain free because I am a mom first.....a cripple second. I take high doses of morphine that is released throughout the day....which controls the drooling. lol.
The VA is setting me up with acupuncture....more needles...that should be fun. lol. I try to be as positive as possible but after yearssssss of disappointment it has become more difficult, as I am sure you can relate.

Are you going to have an additional surgery???

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Hi Nikki.

It's a shame your doctors can't identify the key factors involving your failed spinal surgery. You mentioned that you receive a regular government pension from previously serving in defense, would such funding support permit you to pursue a second opinion from a reputable spinal surgeon?

I would be interested to hear how you progress with the acupuncture? Does shaking in anticipation for the needle complement the drug drooling syndrome?...ha, ha!! lol

You had asked if I will have the additional surgery? Given that conservative treatments for Cervical Neuroforaminal Stenosis are unlikely to be of much benefit, I am intending to have a Cervical Foraminotomy. However, and since I have two separate levels of cervical neuroforaminal stenosis, I am feeling a little more apprehensive this time.

Although the foraminotomy procedure creates extra clearance for the impinged nerves within the vertebral foramen's, I have read that potential weakness of the surrounding vertebrae can result from the removed vertebral bone section.

In the meantime, and until I see my neurosurgeon in November, I have been taking Tramadol which only takes the edge off my intense nerve nerve pain. I tried a natural topical product for treating neuropathic pain called Neuragen PN, though, this has only mitigated 5-10% of my nerve pain.

After having a cervical foraminal epidural (cortisone) injection 4 weeks ago, I was disappointed that it did not have any affect in reducing my intense arm burning pain. When I see my PT for my TLIF L5/S1 post surgery rehabilitation tomorrow, I should find out if my neurosurgeon will permit me to have cervical traction?..there could be a risk that the pulling affect may affect my surgery site at L5/S1.

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Hi Robert, My doctor told me the same thing "have the surgery or end up in a wheel chair". They must have had the same teacher. lol. How did your appointment go??
I've developed additional pain (near my surgical site) that feels like a sharp stabbing pain that prevents me from walking. It has progressed over the past week or so and it has become so severe that I am on bed rest until I have a new MRI. Who knows. What I would give to be able to go for a walk like a "normal" person. lol. ehhh it could be worse.

Did you try the traction?

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Hi Nikki,

Sorry to hear that you have developed what sounds like sciatica, you may have foraminal stenosis which could be causing the nerve impingement?

My PT appointment was good, I was given a few more exercises to undertake for my post TLIF rehabilitation and she also discussed some of the exercises that will be undertaken at my scheduled hydrotherapy session on the 27th September. Unfortunately, the PT forgot to ask my neurosurgeon if the traction treatment would aggravate my lower spine? (i.e. TLIF at L5/S1). I will chase her up this week, otherwise, I will contact my neurosurgeon directly myself as I want to potentially reduce my intense burning arm pain ASAP!

I seen my local general practitioner last Friday to arrange a referral to start having PT for my cervical neuroforaminal stenosis at the same hospital where I currently undertake physiotherapy for my post surgery TLIF.

After researching a few prospective physiotherapy treatment options for cervical neuroforaminal stenosis, I will ask to try Hot and Cold Therapy and TENS. I will mention these treatments to my PT when see her again next Wednesday.

Are you taking any stronger medication for your recent sharp stabbing like pain? Did you previously mention that you are taking Neurontin?

I am very interested to hear what your MRI results identify? Take care and don't worry about the risk of drooling...it definitely sounds like you are in need of some effective pain medication! lol. We should have a joint drooling session together as I am feeling that way as well with my cervical foraminal stenosis issues..ha, ha!!

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Hi Nikki,

How are you going?

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Hope you do it fine.

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I take a high dosage of pain meds every single day.
I'm not actually,' drooling.....!'

See, I know how much to take to just take of the edge of my pain, without becoming insensible. I never take the permitted maximum dosage - unless I need to do something unusual.

Spondy is the hidden disability. To look at us, no-one would know how much pain we endure every moment of our lives. I know that certain people have questioned why I get disability allowance when I'm able to walk to the local shops and home again. Tjose are the people, though, who can never see the nights I'm kept awake by the inability to turn over in bed without pain lancing through my hip and left leg. Nor will they ever witness the times that my leg goes into the most agonising contortions - that leave me trying NOT to scream. I grit my teeth and try to cope with the sheer agony.

It has been suggested on another board within this forum, that I'm somehow less than able to appreciate the effects of spondy because I haven't had fusion, that has failed......
Well, the reason I declined fusion surgery is that I've actually SEEN people who've suffered the effects of failed surgery. NO WAY do I want to be in that position! The initial operation, surely, is bad enough, without having to undergo further surgery to correct the failure of the first.....?

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I am 37 and was diagnosed with a pars fracture, L-5, S-1 spondy when I was 17. It's been 20 years I've dealt with the chronic low back pain, hip, buttock, hamstring pain, and most recently nerve pain in left leg, calf, and toes. I've been dancing my whole life, (taking breaks here and there) while also working a desk job during the day for the past 10 years (both of which haven't been good for my back). Finally went to get an MRI and I still have a Grade one, but the disc has been ground into nothing after all these years. Am finallly considering surgery, disc replacement and fusion of the L-5, S-1). I am never in total debilitating pain where I can't make it to work. I get mild chiropractic adjustments, I do yoga (which has become more annoying for my low back lately), I use ice, massage, advil, the occasional Vicodin when my low back flares up really bad. I just don't know how long I want to be in this cycle of pain, but I also don't know if fusion will end it - or if it might start the cycle of surgeries. I am so used to having chronic pain and trying to manage it, I can't imagine have a surgery not work, or make things worse. But I imagine if I did do the fusion and it helped immensely, I could possibly spend the next few decades of my life without constant discomfort. Spondys SUCK and are extremely frustrating. I read both good and bad things about fusion surgeries. Ever since I was 17 I've always thought I will probably need the surgery but wanted to postpone it til I was much older. Maybe that is a terrible idea. I just have no idea :( For now, my meetings with a few surgeons have motivated me to find a new P.T. pilates instructor and totally change my workout routine and start strengthening my core and approaching exercise in a whole different way.

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Guys check out this vid about an Olympian from Montreal. He has grade 3-4 spondylolisthesis and did not quit Olympics or have surgery. We may never heal but we can maintain and strengthen what we have which will reduce the pain tremendously. It's a two part vid that I think may be worth your time http://youtu.be/d3QVio5dWMA

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