Spondylolisthesis is a spinal condition wherein a displaced vertebra presses on a nerve, generally causing pain in the lower back region or legs.

Spondylolisthesis Symptoms

Many people are unaware of the fact that they have spondylolisthesis, with some never experiencing any symptoms despite having the condition.

In people who experience spondylolisthesis symptoms, the following are the common ones:

  • Lower back pain
  • Radiating pain in the buttocks, thighs & legs
  • Stiffness in the back area
  • Pain when bending downwards
  • Tightness or muscle spasms in the hamstring
  • Trouble standing/walking for a prolonged duration
  • Weakness, numbness or tingling sensation in the foot

Spondylolisthesis Causes

One of the primary spondylolisthesis causes is overextending the spine, and it usually happens in youngsters involved in athletic activities. On the other hand, degeneration of the spine & spinal discs is the main reason for spondylolisthesis in older adults.

Another factor that might be instrumental in developing spondylolisthesis is genetics. Some individuals are born with a slim vertebral bone than normal, which puts them at a higher risk of developing this spinal condition.

Depending on the cause, there exist 6 major types of spondylolisthesis, including:

Congenital Spondylolisthesis As the name suggests, congenital spondylolisthesis features a defective vertebra at birth in an individual.

Isthmic Spondylolisthesis This type of spondylolisthesis is the result of another well-known spinal condition named spondylolysis. In this type, a crack or fracture in the slim part of a vertebra causes the vertebrae to slip back, forward, or over a bone present below it.

Degenerative Spondylolisthesis Degenerative spondylolisthesis is generally evident in older adults as it involves the wear & tear of the spinal discs causing a vertebra to be displaced from its original position.

Traumatic Spondylolisthesis Traumatic Spondylolisthesis In this type of spondylolisthesis, a trauma/injury results in a vertebra slipping out of place.

Pathological Spondylolisthesis Conditions like cancer or osteoporosis cause this type of spondylolisthesis.

Post-Surgical Spondylolisthesis Post-surgical spondylolisthesis involves a vertebra being displaced out of position in the aftermath of spinal surgery.

Spondylolisthesis Diagnosis

The diagnosis of spondylolisthesis typically begins with the healthcare professional enquiring about the symptoms & medical history and conducting a physical examination. This is usually followed by imaging scans being carried out for precise diagnosis.

A spinal x-ray is first performed to check whether a vertebra has moved out of its initial position, with MRI and CT scan conducted to examine the spine in detail, including the spinal discs & nerves.

Spondylolisthesis Treatment

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