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What is spondylolisthesis?

Spondylolisthesis is a condition characterized by the slipping of spinal vertebrae, with forward slippage (anterolisthesis) being more prevalent than backward slippage (retrolisthesis).

Types of spondylolisthesis:

  • Dysplastic spondylolisthesis: This variant stems from a defect in a portion of the vertebra.
  • Isthmic spondylolisthesis: Often found in athletes exposed to motions involving hyperextension.
  • Degenerative spondylolisthesis: Arthritic changes in the joints lead to this form, with cartilage degeneration being a primary contributing factor.
  • Traumatic spondylolisthesis: Direct trauma or injury to the vertebrae, causing fractures in the pedicle, lamina, or facet joints, may lead to this type.
  • Pathologic spondylolisthesis: This form occurs due to bone defects or abnormalities, such as tumors.

When it comes to spondylolisthesis, timely evaluation, accurate diagnosis, and appropriate management are important. At NeuroSpine Plus, our dedicated team is committed to delivering personalized care and optimal outcomes for every patient.


What are the symptoms of spondylolisthesis?

Spondylolisthesis, a condition that often goes unnoticed, may not exhibit any symptoms for some individuals. However, if symptoms do arise, lower back pain is typically the primary complaint, which can radiate down the buttocks and thighs. Other symptoms of this condition may include:

  • Stiffness in the back
  • Numbness, weakness, or tingling sensations in the foot
  • Hamstring muscle spasms
  • Difficulty walking or maintaining prolonged periods of standing
  • Pain experienced during bending over

NeuroSpine Plus emphasizes the importance of identifying and addressing spondylolisthesis for optimal spinal health.

What are the causes of spondylolisthesis?

Common causes of spondylolisthesis include:

  • Athletics

    Young athletes (children and teens) who engage in sports like gymnastics and football, which involve significant stretching of the lumbar spine, have an increased likelihood of developing spondylolisthesis. Back pain in teens is frequently associated with spondylolisthesis, making it one of the most prevalent causes.

  • Genetics

    In some cases of isthmic spondylolisthesis, individuals are born with a thinner section of the vertebra known as the pars interarticularis. This thin piece of bone connects the facet joints, which join the vertebrae above and below, enabling spinal movement. The thinner areas of the vertebrae are more prone to fracture and slip.

  • Age

    With age, degenerative spine conditions can manifest as wear and tear weakens the vertebrae. Older adults with degenerative spinal conditions may have a heightened risk of developing spondylolisthesis. It becomes increasingly prevalent after the age of 50.

At NeuroSpine Plus, we understand the various factors that contribute to spondylolisthesis and provide specialized treatments to address this condition effectively.

What are the treatments for spondylolisthesis?

Nonsurgical treatments at NeuroSpine Plus include various options:

  • Rest

  • Medication

  • Injections

  • Physical therapy

  • Bracing

Although nonsurgical treatment is often effective, in certain cases, surgery may be necessary to alleviate the symptoms of spondylolisthesis. At NeuroSpine Plus, surgical treatment options include:

Spondylolisthesis FAQ

Spondylolysis is a defect in the pars interarticularis (or pars), a flat strip of bone that plays a vital role in spinal anatomy. Positioned at the posterior aspect of the spine, the pars acts as a bridge (or isthmus) between the upper and lower facets of each vertebra (spinal bone), ensuring stability and facilitating movement.

In contrast, Spondylolisthesis refers to a condition where a vertebra shifts forward, placing it in an abnormal position relative to the vertebra below it.

Spondylolisthesis affects approximately 4% to 6% of adults in the general population. Living with spondylolisthesis for an extended period of time without experiencing symptoms is not uncommon.

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