Our treatment recommendations emphasize minimally invasive approaches and usually include physical therapy and exercise programs.
Physical therapy may focus on strengthening the muscles in the stomach and back. Most exercises are designed to help with safe stretching and mobility.
Nonsurgical treatment also may include:
- Ice or heat
- Rest: Your doctor may recommend you stop or cut down on sports and other activities that place excessive stress on your back. You and your doctor can see if this helps improve back pain and other symptoms.
- Bracing: In some cases, doctors recommend wearing a back brace for a period of time to limit movement in the spine and let a fracture heal.
Make sure you exercise regularly and eat a healthy diet.
If you smoke, drink, or take recreational drugs, talk with your care team. They can recommend programs to help you quit or reduce your use to improve your health.
There are several medication options for spondyloarthritis and spondylolisthesis. These include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as naproxen, ibuprofen, meloxicam, or indomethacin. These may help relieve pain and inflammation.
Your doctor also may recommend an over-the-counter pain reliever such as acetaminophen.
For joint swelling that is in one area, not widespread, your doctor may recommend injections of corticosteroids directly into the joint or area around a tendon to provide relief.
Other medication options include disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (also called DMARDs). These are used most often to help people whose condition affects joints in the arms or legs.