Spondylolisthesis and pinched nerve

If you have only seen one doctor about this issue a second opinion is an absolute necessity. Second opinions, not a second workup, are almost always covered by insurance as long as you stay in network. A second opinion uses the same images, blood tests, and other information already gathered. If the initial doctor failed to do a specific test or isn’t being prudent the second doctor will do the extra tests before giving their opinion.
You are your own best advocate but their will always be shrill voices telling you to not get the surgery. Listen to the moderate voices speaking the truth of their own personal experience.
I wish you the very best in the right solution for you.


My sympathies, dude. Spondylo Gr2 means u have “pars” stress fractures (athletic past?) which are slipping slowly and progressively forward, allowing your upper spine to slip forward on your lower spine & body with resulting spinal nerve root “pinching” causing your symptoms. This means that this is an anatomical problem and will never be permanently solved with Acupuncture, steroid injections or the like. I feel your pain. Truly I do.

As a radiologist and a fellow severe LBP sufferer, I sympathize. And I agree with your philosophy of No Surgery unless absolutely necessary. My pain is not radiculopathic like yours is. In other words it is strictly centered in my low back, not radiating down my leg. I am nearly 65 & have DJD & DDD & facet arthritis. No spondylo. From my handle, you can see I am a Radiologist. Seen a million MRI & CT & bones scans, so I know.

Also, your Gr. 2 spondylolisthesis will never heal itself naturally. Gravity and walking upright will slowly and continuously make it slip further forward, pinching the nerves even worse over the years.

You are young and you have your whole life ahead of you.

In your situation I would definitely consider listening to your doctors and consider spinal stabilization surgery.


Agree with the Chaplain

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I’ve noticed several comments regarding spinal “cord” injury from surgery. This is virtually impossible at the lower lumbar level, as the tip of the spinal cord actually terminates at T12-L1 (upper back) in most people.

Only nerve roots continue inferiorly, descending as pairs at each level within the CSF of the “thecal sac” and exiting under each of their appropriate vertebral “pedicles” within their respective “foremen ovale” or oval bony chokepoints. Every
Dr. has a small plastic model of this area showing the basic anatomy (bones + nerves).

As the “slip” continues forward, the nerve root, in this case the Left L4,5 or S1, depending on which level you are speaking of, is further compromised (stretched & pinched) in the bony foramen ie. less & less space = more & more symptoms. BTW S1 sensory symptoms = Big Toe. You said left L5 level, I believe. Under the left L5 pedicle is the left L5 nerve root, so sensory Sx should be attributed to that n. root ie. toes 2-5.

At any rate, since it is Gr. 2 = separation less than 25% the width of a vertebral body, it is still separated from its parent bone. So the likelihood of spontaneous healing and reunion is almost nil, especially if you are active.

Hope this helps with your decision-making process.


Hi my name is Lorrie and I have Fibromylagia I have had it for 26 yrs. But I do find some relief with massage and cupping. Hope you find some relief.

I’m actually the same age as you and have the same exact back diagnosis. I haven’t really tried anything yet, I should. My doctors gave me a backbrace to help when the pain gets bad… that only helps a little bit… I tried yoga but for me it only made things worse…
No one wants surgery, but might be the best option since you tried almost everything else.
I’m sending prayers your way…

Thank you!

I just wanted to say I understand what your going through. I was finally diagnosed with a severely herniated disc (and torn) at L5 S1. I also have spondylolysis (pars defect) and a bulge in every disc in my lumbar. It’s a bit different from yours but I sure know how bad the pain is. I have been suffering with this pain since I was a teenager. So I get it. I saw a couple of doctors and learned that the only option to treat this is a spinal fusion and I was told if I don’t fix it I will continue getting worse. I am scheduled for my fusion the day after Christmas and I’m nervous but I’m confident that I’m doing what’s best for me.
I strongly encourage you to get a second or even third opinion and really think about taking your doctor’s advice. I’ve heard that other people recovered and went back to what they were doing before the injury. Also, my doctor told me I have 90% chance my leg pain will be gone and a 70% chance my back will be better. I like those odds. Perhaps you may find another doctor who can give you a higher chance of success. Best of luck to you with your decision and I hope you recover well. PS: if you would like I can update you on how the surgery went. Also I apologise this reply is so long.

I agree with everything your saying but one thing. I have found minor relief with therapeutic massage. Of course it doesn’t last very long and is not a solution but I will say any relief is something when it’s constant pain. I think it’s good to help while waiting for your surgery date. Other than that, I agree 100%. Also, thank you for giving input on your free time. You must be one of the rare doctors who care about patient quality of life.

I suffer, therefore I share. Chronic pain can suck the life out of you.

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