About Spondylolisthesis Stories ...

Welcome! Spondylolisthesis Stories is a compilation of personal stories involving individual's diagnoses, experiences, surgeries, and life with Spondylolisthesis.

My hope is that this site may offer a voice and platform for those with the spine condition to share their personal stories with the medical community, fellow Spondyo patients, and the world as a whole. Spondylolisthesis Stories also provides a wide array of information, personal knowledge, support and ideas for those with Spondylolisthesis. Whether you were recently diagnosed, learning to live with the condition, making difficult decisions regarding surgical interventions, in the early phase of recovery following an operation, or further into your journey, this site covers it all!

In addition to general stories about this spine condition, personal stories which focus on the subject of Spondylolisthesis & Pregnancy may also be found. These shared experiences detail the matter of labor and delivery, and include women with both unfused slips and those whom have had surgery prior to pregnancy. It has been my experience that this topic is one which is shrouded in some mystery. By sharing these stories I hope we may be able to shed some light on the subject; offering guidance and ideas to those females with Spondyo who would like to become pregnant but fear the unknowns which this condition can create.

I am always seeking new stories and would love to hear yours! Let your story and voice be heard! Please contact me (Brenna), at spondyostories@gmail.com, in order to share your story here. If you are seeking additional help and support from others with Spondyo, please ask to join the "Spondylolisthesis and Retrolisthesis Support Group" on Facebook. *This group is closed, and therefore, offers a higher level of privacy and comfort for all members to share openly and without fear of judgement. It is open to anyone with Spondylolisthesis (or a family members of those with Spondylolisthesis) to join.

Below the Spondylolisthesis stories you will find several survey questions. If you have Spondylolisthesis, please take a moment to review these questions and select your answer(s). You are also encouraged to join in and participate by interacting in the "Community Answers" board, located at the bottom of the page. Feel free to post questions and comments, share stories, answer the questions already presented, and ask your own questions! I greatly appreciate your participation and look forward to reading your answers and comments!

Spondylolisthesis Stories ...

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Spondylolisthesis Story #10: Nikki

Nikki - Spondylolisthesis Story 

Here is my story so far ... 

I am 21 year old female, small build weight.

In late September/Early October 2011 (a month before my 21st birthday), I bent down to pick something up when I was tidying … as I bent I got a bit of a niggling pain in my back. I thought “Aw, what is that?!” I just rested after until the pain went. I had never had any back pain before so just thought I had pulled it when bending.

A couple of weeks later I was walking quite quickly down the road for an appointment. And, as it felt as though I had taken a too big of a step, that’s when my right side of my pelvis/groin felt like it had just twisted around. It really hurt! I couldn’t just stopped walking so carried on. Within a day or so it then led to Sciatica in my right leg. It was just through the bum area. When I told my Dad he explained how he also suffered from it for years. He said if he twists or bends and traps something, that will cause it. He said it takes a few months sometimes for it to completely calm down.

After a couple of weeks of shuffling my legs because of the pain, I went to the doctors. She confirmed I had Sciatica, and gave me Diclofenac & Co-Codamol. After taking these, they didn’t do much of a difference at all, so a colleague recommended an Osteopath. 

After my consultation with my Osteopath (where we delved into my medical history), I realized that I've actually endured a few traumas to my spine. One being when I was about eleven years old. I fell off of a book shelf and hit my spine (in the lumbar area), but when I went to hospital they said it was just bruised, as nothing showed on the x-rays. After that, I thought that it was psychological that I felt the need to bend forwards when I was standing up for too long, and the fact I could no longer do cartwheels because I couldn’t keep my spine straight. She said that it felt like a fracture to my spine, but not a normal type of fracture, something known as Spondylolisthesis (a slipping vertebra), a tilted pelvis, and something wrong with the Sacroiliac Joint.

She did some work on it and it felt tons better. Straight away I was no longer shuffling my feet and my Sciatic pain had died down a heck of a lot. A couple of days later I was sitting on my sofa, as I got up and turned I had a massive click and fell to the floor in pain unable to move! A paramedic came out and got an on-call doctor to come to me ASAP to prescribe some stronger painkillers.

I went to the Osteo the next day and she said that everything she has adjusted before has been undone in that one turn.

Anyway, a few months of treatment and she recommended that I get an x-ray because she was worried something is still slipping. My Sciatica has gone from one leg to both. I have had a lot of muscle pain and pins & needles/burning in my lower limbs.

So I went to my General Practitioner who straight away felt the step in my spine. She referred me for an x-ray and she provisionally diagnosed me with Spondylolisthesis. I told my Dad, who told me that my Nan has Spondylosis, and her Dad had spine issues as well.

I had my x-ray and got the results after 1 ½ weeks! Nothing shown – no further action. GUTTED!

So I went back to my GP and said well, I have been told the x-ray should have been done with me both standing and maybe bending forwards, in order to show it better. I also said it should have been from an oblique angle. The doctor said she didn’t want to give me another x-ray, but will refer me to a consultant. I was happy with that!

While waiting for an appointment I saw a Chiropodist. He who told me I have "flexible flatfoot," so I got some shoe soles to help with them. My legs were in a lot of pain afterwards, but I guess that’s from building up the muscles that haven’t been working due to the rolling in feet.

I then saw the Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon. He did the usual examination and was worried that it may too be slipping, and that I may have something pinching the Sciatic Nerve as well. He referred me for an MRI. Hurrah, I may get some answers!

In the meantime, I spoke to a doctor and told them I have been in pain when I go out and don’t know what to do, they said that I need to sit down as soon as it hurts. I explained that this can be very difficult because: 1. What if there are no seats? 2. What if the seats are hard with no back support (which hurts a lot!)? 3. What if it’s raining?! and 4. How do I get home from there if I am in too much pain to walk?! They then realized my concerns and suggested a wheelchair for when it starts to hurt. Which is what I have now done – and it has helped! I am now eating better because of it and still going out – not as much as before, but its' better than nothing!

So … when I had my MRI the lady put a wedge under my knees and my legs rolled outwards when she did it, but she didn’t move them straight, so I thought this was okay. I then got my results last week and they have said I have Lumbar Scoliosis and a herniated disk between the L5 and S1 vertebras. I, of course, was SO shocked by this! This has never ever been mentioned; not even the Orthopedic Surgeon Consultant noticed any type of Scoliosis. They have advised pain management!

So I went to my Osteo very frustrated and confused. She could not believe it was Scoliosis or a herniated disk. She got a colleague, who is also a trained Osteopath, to have a look. She felt the step in my spine and looked at my spine and said it’s perfectly straight, it’s just that step. She then did an examination, and there was no pain where there really should have been if I had a herniated disk or something. She tested things on my back asking when it hurts, etc. They both said it completely points to Spondylolisthesis.
She did a lot of massaging on my right hamstring, which has been very tight lately, and did the usual maintenance (on my pelvis, Sciatic Nerve and Psoas). She advised that I get a second opinion, because if I accept treatment for Scoliosis it would not be the right one for me, especially if they inject my disk with steroids when its not needed! She said it may have looked like Scoliosis on the MRI because of the unstable vertebra, or because of the way I laid (I laid straight on my x-ray and nothing showed on that?!).

Then I was at the London Marathon for my work on Sunday, and we have these fabulous Physiotherapists. I asked if they could quickly rub down my left calf, as it was VERY tight (I felt bad as I wasn’t a runner but they didn’t mind!). She explained how it was in a mess. There was a lot of tightness and some inflammation, which prevented her from getting all of the spots of muscle problems (I think they were in spasms or something of some sort). I explained everything that I am going through at the moment and she said she definitely thinks there is more going on. She said it sounds like Spondylolisthesis and can’t believe they have diagnosed Scoliosis.

I have also been advised by a few people to look up Fibromyalgia, as it hurts to scratch or poke my skin in most places! So perhaps it could be a combination?
Basically, for the past 7 months I have suffered with chronic pain that all started when I bent down to pick something up. It has led to a lot of muscles problems and Sciatica. Also, like I said, it has also meant that I have had to hire a wheelchair, which is causing me a lot of mental issues – which yes, may be depression, but it’s because of the pain and lack of answers!!

I also work full time, so that it causing me a lot of problems which I am unsure that I can cope with for much longer. It's a lot with all the back & forth to the doctors, etc., in my search for answers/diagnosis, so that at the very least I can do some correct exercises that will benefit me!
I recently called my Osteopath, who is going to write a letter (hopefully by my doctor’s appointment on Saturday morning) to suggest a second diagnosis.

This is obviously a difficult time for me, as well as for my Husband. It has caused a great deal of upset.

Work is very difficult and I am in a very difficult situation. I almost feel like I don’t ever want to come back in, as I just want to give up trying to fight the pain and feeling like I’m not a concern.

Oh, and I also have an appointment with an Orthodontist to look at getting a mouth guard, as I have a lower bite and cross bite. I’m hoping this will help with my jaw alignment, and ultimately help with my body alignment (like the shoe insoles!).

I think I have covered everything!

Any help is greatly appreciated!!! 

- Nikki

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Would you like to share your personal story and experiences involving Spondylolisthesis? I am currently seeking others to share their respective experiences with the spine condition; including symptoms, diagnoses, treatments, surgeries, and all of the details in-between. Have your voice be heard & help make a difference in other's lives by telling your story here! If you're interested, or would like to inquire further regarding this project and website, please contact Brenna through the Spondylolisthesis Facebook Page: FB.Spondylolisthesis, or email Brenna at spondyostories@gmail.com! I look forward to hearing from you and getting your story posted!

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