Spondylolisthesis

The spine is made of several bones called vertebra. They are lined up so the spinal cord can run through the center of the bones. Spondylolisthesis is when one of the vertebrae (usualyy in the lower back area) slips out of place. It moves forward compared to the vertebra below and develops slowly over time.

  • Causes

    Spondylolisthesis is most often caused by a stress fracture. The fracture can make the vertebra unstable and allow it to slip forward. This type of fracture often occurs when a lot of stress and pressure is put on the back. This can occur with certain sports activities.

    The condition can also be caused by spinal problems that are present at birth, like spina bifida.

  • Definition

    The spine is made of several bones called vertebra. They are lined up so the spinal cord can run through the center of the bones. Spondylolisthesis is when one of the vertebrae (usualyy in the lower back area) slips out of place. It moves forward compared to the vertebra below and develops slowly over time.

    Spondylolisthesis
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  • Diagnosis


    Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. Images of the spine will be taken with:

    • X-ray
    • CT scan
    • MRI scan

  • Prevention


    Take the following steps to help protect your spine:

    • Exercise regularly.
    • Get plenty of rest between workouts.
    • Take measures to protect your back when participating in sports.
    • Maintain a healthy weight.

  • Risk Factors

    Factors that may increase your risk of spondylolisthesis include:

    • Rapid growth
    • Being an athlete, especially gymnasts, weight-lifters, and football players
    • Family history

  • Symptoms


    Spondylolisthesis begins to progress at age 10-15 years. Symptoms may not appear until adulthood.
    In many cases of spondylolisthesis, there are no obvious symptoms. Symptoms that may be present include:

    • Low back pain, which may feel like muscle strain
    • Stiff back
    • Muscle spasms of the hamstring
    • Buttock pain and spasm
    • Changes in posture and/or gait
    • Numbness, weakness, or tingling around the pelvis, buttochs, or thighs
    • Loss of bladder control

  • Treatment

    Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Treatment options include: