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Slips, Falls & Slipped Vertebrae: Understanding Spondylolisthesis

Slipping a vertebra can at times be common. Let’s discuss how you can prevent it, and what to do if you find yourself with one in this article.

The technical term for a slipped vertebra is spondylolisthesis. It’s caused by a vertebra sliding over the one beneath it — destabilizing the spine. Therefore, it can be very serious and require emergency surgery. The Meyerding Grading System is used to rank the severity of the injury:

Grade I: 1 – 25 % forward slip
Grade II: 26 – 50 % forward slip
Grade III: 51 – 75 % forward slip
Grade IV: 76 – 99% forward slip
Grade V: Complete slip off of the spinal column known as spondylosis

Along with establishing the grade of the slip, specialists also use the Wiltse Classification System to identify the type of spondylolisthesis a patient has. There are six types, including:

  1. Degenerative: age-related degeneration often caused by osteoarthritis
  2. Dysplastic: a birth defect also known as congenital spondylolisthesis
  3. Iatrogenic: a postsurgical complication
  4. Isthmic: often caused by a stress fracture in the pars interarticularis that occurs during childhood but often goes unnoticed until symptoms present in adulthood
  5. Pathologic: caused by other diseases that weaken vertebrae attachment points
  6. Traumatic: brought on by sudden injury like a fall or car wreck

This is all to say that there are a number of events that can trigger spondylolisthesis. The most common location for it to occur is in the lower back because it bears most of the torso’s weight, which causes added wear and tear to that region of the body.

Spondyloptosis Prevention and Mitigation

Though not 100% preventable, there are steps you can take to help avoid spondylolisthesis — especially certain types of the condition. They all go back to living a healthy lifestyle, which most disease prevention often does. To help ward off or at least mitigate spondylolisthesis, you can do the following:

  • Eat healthy foods that support spine health like calcium and vitamin D
  • Exercise regularly and focus on exercises that strengthen muscles that support your back
  • Get enough sleep, at least 8 hours, on a firm mattress that provides proper lumbar support
  • Keep a healthy weight
  • Lift heavy objects properly — from the knees

Spondylolisthesis Specialists in Cincinnati

If you have still have questions about spondylolisthesis or need to meet with a spine specialist, our expert team of specialists is here to provide you with the best plan of care for your needs. Schedule an appointment online today.