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Treatment for cervical spondylolisthesis

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,578
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:23 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
I'm wondering if anyone here has had spondylolisthesis bad enough that you were unstable to the point your doctor suggested surgery?


  • It's very weird there is no one on this site with experience regarding repair of cervical spondylolisthesis concidering this site reseaches so many. I find it frustrating to be seeking support about something so important without the benefit of others feedback. I would enjoy being able to compare experiences and understand risks and benefits of not having surgery to putting up with the pain and other symptoms and the instability.
  • I did respond but for some reason it didn't show up. Probably user error.

    I’m pretty lame about knowing the detailed descriptions of spiney problems so I did not think that I knew what spondylosis was. I just looked up my MRI results and it states mild to moderate spondylosis with a minimal amount of stenosis at C4-5.
    I managed my neck pain for 5 years by modifying my behavior and watching my neck at work on the computer.

    I was rear ended by another driver in Jan 08 which aggravated the condition and really increased the pain.

    I had cervical fusion to C4-5 on April 30, 2008 and am (mostly) pain free now if I’m careful not to overdue.

    Feel free to PM me if you need any support or have questions.

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  • Thanks Ewaight for repsonding. Well, spondyolisthesis is defined differently then spondylosis. Still you may have had spondylolisthesis (mouthful) and its just not stated on MRI or plain films. The "spondy" part means "vertebra" or with the "losis" probably means something like "condition of the vertebra" which is usually "degeneration." So the spondylolisthesis means "vertebra" and then the "listhesis" means "slippage."

    So the doctos have to figure out how much slippage and if its a lot-- is it stable and causing trouble like pain, myleopathy, stenosis, radicuopathy etc. I have pain (neck) and numbness in my hands, shouldres, arms sometimes. I get a burning up the back of my head, a mixed bag of symptoms all the time. Really spondylolisthesis of the neck is usually from trauma but mine is probably mostly from degeneration and then the facets joints are breaking down making my vertebra slip. This can be very serious. From what I've read its much less common then slipped disc of the lumbar spine. You often hear people talking about their slipped disc and they are usually discussing their lower back. Its hard to find information about patients dealing with cervical spine spondylolisthesis and their surgery and its hard to find much published about it either. In an ideal world you'd read about this condition and ask others about their course of treatment etc. But I'm practically getting nothing.

    Four years ago I had the unfortunate experiece of having 4 craniotomies and am dealing with chronic post crainiotomy headaches which is also everyday. These type of headaches are known to happen but there is little research being done so its been difficult to get answers and help to manage them. Between these two issues (head and neck) I'm really having difficulty finding answers. When I come onto this website or any website I don't often get feedback because people can't relate to my situations.

    I"m really glad you are doing well. Maybe you can ask your doctor if you had spondylolisthesis? That way, you can tell me what you doctor says. Kind of a back door way for me to get info!
  • i'm new to the site...i have 3 mm cervical sp..listhesis and can't even find out if this is min mod or severe, i think it is minimal and that the disc bulge below is causing my neuropathy...i do know that if you have severe spon..listhesis you must have a fusion due to danger or spinal cord injury....jb
  • Hi, Bridgie, I just got diagnosed with cervical spondylothesis in the C-4,c-5. My chiro wants me to get a fusion there as soon as possible. Have you had surgery yet, Bridgie?
    I have had neck pain for over 30 years, progressed to shoulder, back, arms, lower back, now left leg, feet, numbness, have had massage, chiro, pain meds, other meds, I use a hot tub, heating pad, and on and on and on.....
    Still pain every day.
    I'm scared about surgery, but what else is there? Has anyone else had this diagnosis?
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  • bridgie said:
    Really spondylolisthesis of the neck is usually from trauma but mine is probably mostly from degeneration and then the facets joints are breaking down making my vertebra slip. This can be very serious.
    I was talking to a neurologist and the PT people about this. I would really be grateful if you could post any articles or info you have on this.... what is your age? Im 29
  • On Dec 17, 2008 I underwent anterior cervical fusion for spondylolisthesis c5 & c6 fused to c4. July 7, 2009 I go in for posterior cervical fusion. C6 did not heal due to my Lupus/Rhumatoid Arthritis. I have been in pain for 2 1/2 years. My family dr suggested I see a chiropractor/massage therapy in 2006. I am confident that the chiro did not help my condition. I needed relief much sooner that I got it. It was so painful when the chiro was adjusting my neck, I would scream out in pain and have tears in my eyes. I needed to see a specialist in 2006 / 2007.

    Surgery is very scary. I have been living on pain killers for 2 1/2 years and that is no life either.

    Good luck to you in making your decision.
  • Actually I'm sorry you've been thru so much. Your likely correct--its likely I'm suffering too long as well w/out surgery. What made you and the doctors decide to operate? Did they decide you'de become unstable? Were they worried or was there any question the surgery might not help your pain? What kind of symptoms did you have before surgery besides pain? How was the spondylolisthesis diagnosed?

    Too bad about the poor healing of C6. Please let us know how you are. And I'm sorry so many questions. Its just that I have'nt hardly met anyone with this condition that's had surgery.

  • Can disc replacement be used for this condition ? I am scared of fusion because like pbabince said it was no help...
  • JKDE302~
    I appreciate your concerns. One surgeon I spoke with talked about two artificial discs and one fusion because of spondylolisthesis and need to stabalize the vertebra. If/when I move towards surgery, I'll seek multiple opinions. I'm holding out for various reasons but in waiting our US docs will gain experience w/ADR especially multiple levels. I've followed patients on a ADR website. Interesting to read about patients having surgery in Europe especailly Germany where theyve been doing the surgery over 10 years. I think for those of us with spondylolisthesis in the cervial spine a very good and experienced surgeon is very important.
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