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The displacement of the vertebrae and intervertebral disks: symptoms, how to fix

The spondylolisthesis is a pathological change in the structure of the spine. Doctors use the term spondylolisthesis derived from the Greek words "spondylo" and "lestes", which literally mean "vertebra" and "offset". Spondylolisthesis at, there is a shift of the intervertebral discs, which are the link between the vertebrae.

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Anatomy in brief

The spine consists of 33-35 vertebrae are bound together by intervertebral joints and the amount form the spinal column, performing the supporting function of the body. In the spinal column is the spinal cord responsible for the transmission of nerve impulses from the brain and signals from the receptors to it.

Almost every vertebra are attached the muscles of neck, muscles of the lower back. Between the vertebrae are also connected by muscles which allow a person to bend and straighten the spine. The displacement of the spine leads to disruption of multiple functions.

Causes displacement of the vertebrae

To pathology of the vertebrae and the intervertebral disc can result in the following reasons:

  • Strong physical activity to the spine or sudden movement, especially with heavy loads. The displacement of the disk occurs due to the lack of muscle strength or weakening of the joints.
  • Congenital weakness of the spine. Especially dangerous is the displacement of the spinal discs is for children, because it leads to damage further disease of the spine. Often in childhood there is a shift of the thoracic vertebrae.
  • Age-related changes. Bone, like any bone, consists of 70% inorganic substances – phosphates and calcium. With age, degenerative changes occur in the bones – the amount of organic matter decreases, the bone becomes brittle. With loads of the vertebra can easily crumble, which will lead to displacement.

Spondylolisthesis is also a consequence of certain diseases – osteoarthritis, inflammation, injury. Sometimes a dislocated spinal disk occurs when the wrong actions during childbirth.


The symptoms of displacement of the vertebrae vary depending on lesions of different departments. Osteology identifies the following symptoms:

  • Numbness of the back;
  • Severe pain after physical exertion on the spine;
  • Numbness or weakness in the limbs;
  • Inflammation of the nerves.

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The area of numbness depends on the spine. It occurs because of displacement of the vertebra or disc of the artery that produces blood supply to the area. For example, if by displacement of the cervical numbing will be the throat, tongue, or neck. If there is a shift of the vertebrae, there will be numbness of the upper extremities.

Numbness in the fingertips when spondylolisthesis may be mistakenly confused with symptoms of a heart attack – it will only numb right hand.

By lumbar lesions may occur sciatica lumbosacral or limitation of motion of the lower back. Also, when the lumbar spondylolisthesis the patient can start to limp – there is a limitation of lumbar nerves responsible for the motor activity of the foot.

After exercise increases the pulse accelerated heartbeat, dilation of blood vessels. The displacement of the vertebrae is inflamed intervertebral disc, which expanded in size. By increasing blood flow inflammation increases, to the cells of the vertebra receives the histamine, the hormone inflammation, which extends the vertebral disc even more. Zaselyalsya nerves, the pain appear.

Inflammation occurs due to the release of histamine, which damage cells secreted into the intercellular space. First and foremost is the inflammation of the intervertebral disc, but he almost does not have its own innervation, becausehistamine acts on nerve.

The nerve increases in size, the body's own nerve begins to put pressure on the surrounding shell of its myelin sheath, the pain appear. It is important to differentiate it from osteoarthritis because a treatment has a different character.

The degree of displacement of the vertebrae

The calculation of the degree is on 100% scale, where zero is taken to be the natural position of the vertebra and 100% - the spine is fully protrudes beyond its normal position. This graduation is divided into four degrees:

First degree, with the shift from 1% to 25%. The offset recognized insignificant, depending on the shift amount of the pain can be in different movements of the back or seat. After heavy physical activity the pain takes permanent.

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The second level, offset from 26% to 50%, there is a pinched nerve. The pain is permanent, especially strong it becomes in the morning after waking up. Possible increased pain during walking, gait disturbance due to pain. Develops inflammation.

Third degree, offset from 51% to 75%. Depending on division, lost mobility of the different parts of the body. For example, due to the shift in the thoracic spine is lost the motor activity of the muscles of the upper limbs. The torso settles or changes in kyphosis and lordosis of the spine, which are visible externally.

The fourth degree, bias from 76% to 100%. Changes in gait, loss of motor activity, chest and stomach stretched forward, is skewed body in a direction opposite to the displacement. At the fourth degree, the displacement of the vertebrae pain symptoms are abrupt, possible loss of consciousness, severe numbness of the back.

There is also a fifth degree is characterized by a complete separation of the vertebra from the adjacent, gap joints, and strong spinal cord injury. At the fifth degree spondylolisthesis in the cervical people will die due to incompatible with life violations.

Treatment spondylolithesis

In medicine it is customary to divide the methods of treatment on symptomatic and causal. Unfortunately, in the case of spondylolithesis almost all treatment is directed at the elimination of symptoms to stop the development of the disease.

Medical methods

Among the medicines, doctors prescribe various names antispasmodic and analgesic funds. All kinds of pharmacological therapies in this case are relative to symptomatic treatment, which is aimed at improvement.

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Antispasmodic drugs aimed at relieving muscle spasm, unable to move back because of painful reflex muscle spasticeski compressed. Such spasms are a normal reaction to pain, but in this case can lead to bad consequences – the shift will increase under the strength of the muscles.

Analgesic drugs are designed relieve pain from the back and make life easier for the patient because of constant pain greatly reduces the comfort. Pathology causes escalate in pain, which can lead to the development of epilepsy. The brain will develop pain area, and will give this unpleasant disease development.

Lidocaine and novocaine blockade

Lidocaine and Novocaine belong to the drugs that block sodium channels and stopping of the pulse along the nerve. Used for pain from a strangulated nerves that nedopuskaet the development of a painful lesion in the brain and remove pain, to make life easier for the patient.

The technique is not costly but requires the doctor's knowledge of what to do for a correct statement. Because the injection is done in the region, close to the spinal cord, making procedure is possible only in conditions of sterile processing or operating, which makes it acceptable to conduct only in conditions of a hospital.

The blockade can be carried out not more than once every 5-6 days, however 2 or 3 degrees is the only method to symptomatic treatment.

Manual therapy

People are distrustful of acupuncture, however, an ancient Eastern technique currently supported by science. All the points in which needles are injected, are the nervous ganglia which are a cluster of nerve bodies. Impact on them allows you to activate the activity of certain organs and muscles.

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Of course, to calculate the fact which muscle it is necessary to bring the tone can only be a licensed therapist, the last training to acupuncture.

Corsets and collar Trench

Therapy is aimed atmaintaining the vertebra in the correct form. Collar Trench is a corset for the neck. As a result of the corset on the vertebrae decreases the pressure of the muscles and organs, vertebrae cease to move in the direction, restores blood circulation and restores normal operation of the spinal cord and nerves.

To use a corset constantly, it is impossible – the muscles relax, and their function is degraded, however, in severe cases, it is an urgent means to restore function. That needs to cease to wear a corset for the spine the symptoms will tell you themselves – in the back will be noticeable weakness and "emptiness".

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Physical activity

Spine is quickly restored on a hike. The weighting that causes the moderate compression in the spine, which strengthen the back muscles. They, in turn, self-align the vertebra and stop the breach in the vertebral discs. Do not attempt yourself overworked and have more than I can, because physical fatigue leads to problems.


Used in extreme cases, when supportive therapy fails to restore function of the spine. At surgical correction are inserted metal plates that support the drive and prevent progress of disease.

Before you can treat the displacement of the vertebrae surgically additional testing and try other methods, because, in spite of the safety of the method, any surgical intervention may cause far-reaching consequences for humans, abscesses, sepsis and even death. In some cases, surgery may be contraindicated.

If you suspect the displacement will go to the specialist because self-medication in this case can lead to fatal consequences.