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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Does anyone have experience with Bertolotti's Syndrome?

    It's the articulation on L5-S1 vertabrae. I've already had one surgery for spinal stenosis, which cleared up the pain, sciatica and numbness for around 12 months but now the numbness is back and LBP is present again. I personally think a resection is the way to go. Thoughts?
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    Dr Michael Powderly

    Chiropractor, Kinesiologist

    .Dr Michael Powderly is a Chiropractor of 22 years’ experience, practicing in Surrey Hills Melbourne, and consulting for the Melbourne Rebels Super 15 Rugby Union … View Profile

    Bertalotti's syndrome is actually very common. About 10% of the population have a transitional lumbar vertebra. Your L5 vertebra is like a hybrid of L5 and your sacrum. Having a transitional vertebra alters the mechanics of the spine and can make it more vulnerable to injury. However, the presence of a transitional vertebra doesn't necessarily cause pain. Many people have one and don't even know about it.

    The likely cause of your pain is a secondary injury resulting from your abnormal spinal mechanics. A disc, a facet joint, or ligamentum inflavum injury could all cause the nerve compression you seem to be experiencing. It sounds like you have had a laminectomy to reduce your canal stenosis. Before you consider further surgery perhaps get a skilled neurological & orthopaedic exam to clinically determine the exact cause of your injury and pain. A chiropractor could provide that assessment.

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