The spine is a delicate concentration of nerves, encased in and protected by the vertebrae system. The nerves from the spine are able to exit the vertebrae and to connect to your entire body, as well as your brain. Basically, the spine ensures the most crucial connections we need for breathing, moving, and feeling.
This is why the vertebrae system and the cord are so important: so much depends on how well the protective support system of these nerves functions! When there are issues with the spine, our entire way of being may be under threat. Spine-related illnesses, malformations and injuries are among the most difficult and sensitive conditions we can experience.
Since it can be so uncomfortable to live with, most patients who suffer from back pain end up over-medicated to get rid of the pain, but not properly treated.
According to Harvard Health scientists, back pain is one of the most over-diagnosed and over-treated conditions. This means that there are plenty of doctors still resorting to invasive treatment (like surgery), when more effective and mild treatment, like the chiropractic alternative, is widely available.
How Do Anterolisthesis and Retrolisthesis Affect Your Spine?
Anterolisthesis and retrolisthesis are some of the most common spinal issues for most adults. Though common, their effects can become a serious threat to your health and mobility, if the conditions are left untreated. Here is a brief overview of everything you have to know about anterolisthesis and retrolisthetis.
In short, both of these terms refer to the situation where some of the spine’s vertebrae move a bit, becoming displaced and putting extra pressure on the nerves.
If the vertebrae are displaced forward, then the condition is called anterolisthesis. If, on the contrary, the vertebrae are displaced towards your back, then the condition you suffer from is retrolisthesis. The orientation of the displaced vertebrae is the one that gives these two conditions their particular names. But, when it comes to treatment, they have more or less the same effects.
As for causes, retrolisthesis is often caused by genetic factors, being very similar to spondylosis, while anterlisthetic is actually often caused by an accident (like a powerful blow).
While the pressurized nerves are a source of pain and discomfort, the worst part of it is that the rest of the spine needs to re-arrange itself in order to properly support your weight.
This readjustment of the vertebrae can cause other significant issues, both in terms of further damage to other areas of the spine, and for the rest of your body, as well.
The most common symptoms patients suffering from anterolisthesis or retrolisthesis are quasi-permanent back pain and stiffness, accompanies by numbness, weakness, and a tendency to develop other spine conditions.
You can generally feel the symptoms of retrolisthesis in the higher spine area, including in the back of your neck. In fact, this area is the most sensitive to disc and vertebrae slippages and damage.
The common symptom is a permanent, dull pain in the neck area. If you suffer from pains which have become quite chronic, you should get the possibility of retrolisthesis checked.
As for anterolysthesis, this condition usually occurs in the lower back area, being a traditional symbol for the back pain of human adults.
Symptoms may include numbness, a tingling feeling in any area of your body (limbs and torso), as well as a tightening feeling in the torso.
Possible Treatment for Anterolisthesis and Retrolisthesis
Surgery is sometimes the only viable solution for treating anterolisthesis and retrolisthesis, especially if the misplaced vertebrae are already about to fuse together.
The doctors aim to place a bone graft in the affected area, while removing the disc or the vertebrae which were malfunctioning. The doctors may also include peddle screws to keep the bone graft fusion secure in place.
All in all, the surgery solution is surely effective, but should be avoided when possible. As noted in the Harvard study referenced above, going to massages and to the chiropractor for a few months may solve these problems in a less invasive way. This can help postpone the surgery indefinitely or even render it completely useless.
Depending on the seriousness of your diagnosis, your physician will be able to recommend you the best course of action. Just remember to try more natural alternatives before moving forward with surgery for your misaligned vertebrae.