How can spondylolisthesis be diagnosed?
Spondylolisthesis is a condition resulting in a painful experience including low back pain and other symptoms as well. It can be very painful in some patients and quite bearable in others depending on the severity of the condition. The symptoms may aggravate if the nerves passing are pinched causing altered sensations in the affected part. Early diagnosis and proper treatment and precautions are key to leading a healthy life.
Methods that are considered when seeing a patient with Spondylolisthesis are described in this article by Dr. Kalyan Bommakanti who is well-known as the Best neurosurgeon in India.
The healthcare provider starts off the process by asking about the symptoms first. This correlation of the signs and symptoms gives an idea about the condition.
Further investigation is done through physical examination, in which several movements and special tests are performed on the affected area to differentiate it from other possible conditions.
Straight leg raise is performed while the patient is lying supine resulting in pain. At the lumbosacral region, a prominent Step off sign is seen indicating the slippage of the vertebra. Range of motion at the lumbosacral region i.e. flexion and extension are limited.
Several imaging tests are also advised to make sure of the condition.
X-rays of the lumbosacral region are done to see if the vertebra is displaced and how much is the displacement. Other than X-rays a CT scan or MRI may be advised to observe the spinal contents in more detail to see whether the nerves are compressed or not and how much damage has happened to the discs and the nerves.
Based on these investigations, the condition of the patient is usually categorized as Grade I or II determining less serious condition usually cured without any surgery, and Grade III or IV as high grade and more serious which can require surgery as the only treatment option. The healthcare provider makes a final diagnosis and starts the treatment as required.