Spondylolisthesis occurs when a vertebra slips onto the vertebra beneath it. This causes the vertebrae to press on the spinal nerves resulting in lower back or leg pain, but it often causes pain in the hips as well. This can involve a dull ache or sharp pain in the hip, and numbness or tingling down the leg. To diagnose the source of hip pain, a visit to an interventional pain management physician is a recommended course of action.
At St. Louis Pain Consultants, our pain management doctors are experts in diagnosing and treating spondylolisthesis.
How Does Spondylolisthesis Cause Hip Pain?
Spondylolisthesis causes hip pain by putting pressure on the nerves in the spinal cord that send pain signals to the hip when the vertebrae slip out of place.
The facet joints are also affected when spondylolisthesis occurs, leading to hip pain. These are the joints that connect the vertebrae together and allow them to move. When spondylolisthesis occurs, the vertebrae rub against each other, causing inflammation in the facet joints.
Spondylolisthesis-related hip pain may get worse with bending forward, twisting the spine, or standing for long periods. The pain worsens at night when lying in one position for an extended period. This puts more pressure on the sciatic nerve or facet joints causing hip pain.
How Is Hip Pain Caused by Spondylolisthesis Diagnosed?
When you visit a pain management clinic, doctors perform a thorough medical evaluation to determine the source of pain. The doctor will review past medical history, ask about symptoms, and conduct a physical examination.
After the initial evaluation, the doctor may order imaging tests to get a better look at the spine. X-rays, MRIs, and CT scans are the most common tests used to diagnose spondylolisthesis. These imaging tests allow the doctor to see if the vertebrae are out of place and if there is any damage to the nerves or spine. At St. Louis Pain Consultants, advanced imaging technology is used to get an accurate diagnosis.
How Do You Treat Spondylolisthesis-Related Hip Pain?
Treatment for spondylolisthesis-related hip pain focuses on relieving the pain and restoring alignment to the spine. Our doctors work with patients to develop a treatment plan that meets their individual needs. Pain relief can often be achieved with non-surgical treatments which include:
A physical therapist teaches you exercises that stretch and strengthen the muscles around your spine. Strengthening the muscles can ease pain in the hip by taking pressure off the nerves that send pain signals to the hip.
Wearing a back brace can help stabilize the spine and take pressure off the spinal nerves, reducing hip pain.
Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory, can help to reduce pain and inflammation. If over-the-counter medications don’t provide adequate pain relief, pain management doctors will sometimes prescribe stronger pain medication.
Epidural Steroid Injections
These injections deliver pain-relieving medication to the affected area. The medication reduces inflammation and pain around the sciatic nerve resulting in hip pain relief.
This minimally-invasive procedure uses heat to deaden the nerve fibers that transmit pain signals from the spine to the brain. When the nerves are deadened, the pain signals can no longer reach the brain which relieves the associated pain in the back, legs and hips.
If non-surgical treatments don’t relieve the hip pain and it remains severe, our doctors may recommend a surgery consultation.
Surgical options for treating hip pain caused by spondylolisthesis include:
- Spinal Fusion. When the vertebrae are fused, this can cause the spine to stabilize, taking the pressure off the spinal nerves and facet joints.
- Laminectomy. Laminectomy is a procedure that removes the lamina, a small bone located at the back of the vertebrae. Removing this bone creates more space for the nerves and can relieve pressure on the spinal nerves thus reducing hip pain.
- Foraminotomy. The procedure enlarges the foramen. The foramen are small openings between the vertebrae that nerves travel through to reach different parts of the body. Enlarging the foramen takes the pressure off the spinal nerves which can provide hip pain relief.
Get Relief from Hip Pain Today by Visiting an Interventional Pain Management Clinic
Hip pain can be caused by spondylolisthesis when the vertebrae slip out of place and press on the spinal nerves. If you’re experiencing hip pain, visit an interventional pain management clinic to receive an evaluation and proper treatment.
At St. Louis Pain Consultants, our highly trained professionals utilize the most up-to-date technology to diagnose and treat their patient’s pain. They perform an extensive physical exam and order proper imaging studies to diagnose spondylolisthesis. They will develop a treatment plan depending on the severity of your symptoms. Our pain management services include epidural steroid injections, radiofrequency ablation, peripheral stimulation, and more. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.