There are two different types of Spondylolisthesis’ and they include an Anteriolisthesis and a Retrolisthesis.  In an Anterolisthesis the vertebra has slipped anterior or forward in relation to the bone below.  In contrast, a Retrolisthesis is when the vertebra has slipped posterior or backwards in relation to the bone below.  Spondylo’s is the abbreviated name and are based on a grading scale from 1 to 4.  A degree 1 Spondylo is mild while a degree 4 is very severe and a 100% slippage.  Individuals suffering from a mild Spondylo may not even possess any pain and will only have it brought to their attention on x-ray incidentally.  Patients suffering from a grade 3 and 4 Spondylo are usually in your office because they are in severe pain and want you to get them out of it.  These are severe cases and must be handled with delicately and efficiently.  Many times these are surgical cases that can only be treated with surgical fusion of the bone or in between the vertebra themselves.

Chiroporactic Care

If the case is mild and less severe in nature then the patient may benefit from Chiropractic care with adjustments to above or below the specific Spondylo. A Chiropractor will never adjust directly on the bone that is displaced either forward or backward for fear of further displacing it.  The Chiropractor may also incorporate a technique called Chiropractic BioPhysics depending again on the severity of the curve abnormality.  If mild, they will introduce mechanical traction to the area of the spine in need of correction.  They will also introduce passive therapies like massage therapy, acupuncture, electrical muscle stimulation, ultrasound, diathermy, and core strengthening rehabilitation exercises to correctly and safely decrease pain, local inflammation, and strengthen weak and inhibited muscle groups.  A Chiropractor will make the necessary referral if the patient is not responding to the Chiropractic treatment program or if the case is beyond the scope of practice of a Chiropractor.

Talk to Your Doctor

It is important to talk to your primary care physician about your treatment options, expectations of care, and what to expect after treatment has begun and what to expect for months and years to come.  Individuals need to be cautious of their current and future activity levels to not further displace the vertebra.  In most cases, the Spondylo was caused from a high-impact activity like gymnastics or soccer (hyperextension injuries), trauma, or is a congenital finding (meaning the patient was born with it).

Learn more about chiropractic treatments for spondylolisthesis.