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Exams and Tests for Spondylolisthesis

Diagnosis

Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history, and perform a physical exam. Other tests may include:

  • X-ray —a test that uses radiation to take a picture of structures inside the body, especially bones (may be performed while you are standing)
  • CT Scan —a type of x-ray that uses a computer to make pictures of structures inside the body
  • MRI Scan —a test that uses magnetic waves to make pictures of structures inside the body Treatment

Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Treatment options include:

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy for spondylolisthesis usually involves exercise, especially exercises that strengthen the abdominal muscles and the extensor muscles of the back. A back brace may also be recommended.
If you are overweight, your doctor may instruct you to lose weight.


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Medications

Pain medications, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), may be recommended to help manage pain.

Injections
Steroid medication injections may help reduce pain. These injections are given around the nerves that exit the spinal cord.

Surgery
If the slippage of the vertebra is severe or if your pain does not respond to other treatments, surgery may be recommended. This may involve fusing two of the vertebra together in a procedure known as spinal fusion.

Prevention
Take the following steps to help protect your spine:
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Get plenty of rest between workouts.
  • Take measures to protect your back when participating in sports.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.


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This information is not designed to replace a physician's independent judgment about the appropriateness or risks of a procedure for a given patient.
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