Spondylolisthesis (neck)

What does this actually mean? Is there a link with RA? My rheumatoid symptoms started around 7 years ago and I was diagnosed in October 2009. I'd say things have been well controlled for around 18 months. I have mild and occasional flares but they're the damage to my joints has completely halted. 

I've been suffering with neck pain and stiffness, so had some scans. I have more wear and tear than is unusual for someone of my age but the neurosurgeon has discharged me as he cant see anything obvious surgical. I got a letter today (happy birthday to me!) with this as my diagnosis but he never mentioned this in my last appt. Fortunately, my spinal cord is not compressed, so it's not serious, just painful! I was terrified that I'd need surgery, so obviously I'm glad but I'm stuck with pain management and physio and "you need to learn to manage this". 

Thanks in advance.

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17 Replies

  • Happy birthday!!! Sorry thatyou are stuck with the pain, but glad that you don't need surgery. Life sucks sometimes doesn't it? I have  no answers, still struggling through a massive flare, but hope you can find some relief, somewhere M xx

  • Thanks, M. Sorry you're flaring. :( Sometimes, it helps to know that people just get it xx

  • So true x

  • Good to hear from you Mavis! Do hope you're taking good care of yourself.

  • Thanks....am trying to, but struggling at the moment.! Tomorrow is another day! M x

  • Hi crashdoll

    Sorry to hear you are dealing with this. Not much fun this RA lark is it?

    Spondylolithesis means that a vertebra has slipped a little.....most likely I would think due to some RA damage in the neck so everything isn't "fitting together" as well as it should. Not very nice to hear and I do think it should have been explained to you, but as long as it's only a slight slip and not pressing on spinal cord, then some physio and advice should help. I assume that since you have been discharged it is felt that everything is "stable" and that physio and pain management will be enough to help a little.

    Good luck and I hope you find some relief.

  • Oh sorry......Happy Birthday..... Hope you've had a lovely day 😊

  • Thank you, beaches. That does make sense and a bit how he described it but he didn't use the word until the letter which threw me a bit! 

  • Happy birthday Sophie! How odd it wasn't mentioned at your consultation. Anyway, spondylolisthesis is a vertebra that's slipped, in your case in your neck. I'm not sure I like the "you need to learn to manage this" though, more for the future than anything considering your age. Anyway, you've probably seen this if you've been searching but this explains nhs.uk/Conditions/spondylol...

    I hope you enjoy what remains of your birthday. x

  • Thank you. He did mentioned various little things but never gave them a name, hence my confusion. I will have a chat when I finally get to see the pain specialist. X

  • Happy birthday to you. I have been told i have degeneration in my neck and it sounds like a jar of ball bearings when i move.xxxxx

  • Ouch, necks are painful aren't they?

  • The sound of my neck actually woke me up the other day... I thought it was footsteps on gravel!

  • P.S. Thank you all for the replies and birthday wishes. I actually did have a very, very lovely day. So I shouldn't grumble too much! Next time, I'll save the medical letter for another time. At least it wasn't my credit card statement, haha! 

  • Glad you had a good birthday crashdoll :)

  • Happy birthday. Hope it's great for you. Xx

  • Hi crashdoll

    Hope you had a good birthday (won't ask which one 😉). 

    Having recently had one or four spinal issues (including surgery on my neck), the only relevant information I can give you is that according to my (excellent) spinal consultant and backed up by my (equally excellent) rheumatology consultant RA only ever affects the first vertebrae in your neck (C1).

    Don't know whether you know which vertebrae is affected, but if it isn't the first one, it isn't connected to RA. 

    As mentioned I've had a few problems with my spine and it is totally unconnected to the RA that I am also lucky enough to endure. 

    Kind regards


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