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Understanding how your spine works can help you better understand spondylolisthesis. There are other less common types of spondylolisthesis, such as slippage caused by a recent, severe fracture or a tumor.As we age, general wear and tear causes changes in the spine. They lose height, become stiff, and begin to bulge.
This slippage can narrow the spinal canal and put pressure on the spinal cord.
This narrowing of the spinal canal is called spinal stenosis and is a common problem in patients with DS.
X-rays will show aging changes, like loss of disk height or bone spurs.
X-rays taken while you lean forward and backward are called flexion-extension images.
They can show instability or too much movement in your spine. This study can create better images of soft tissues, such as muscles, disks, nerves, and the spinal cord.
It can show more detail of the slippage and whether any of the nerves are pinched. These scans are more detailed than x-rays and can create cross-section images of your spine. Cortisone injections around the nerves or in the "epidural space" can decrease swelling, as well as pain.
This means that narrowing of the spinal canal is less likely than in other kinds of spondylolisthesis, such as DS in which the entire spinal bone slips forward.
Patients with DS often visit the doctor's office once the slippage has begun to put pressure on the spinal nerves.
This will include looking at your back and pushing on different areas to see if it hurts.
Your doctor may have you bend forward, backward, and side-to-side to look for limitations or pain.