Spondylolisthesis

spondylolithesis

Overview

Spondylolisthesis refers to the slipping of part or all of one vertebra forward on another. Spondylolisthesis symptoms may vary from mild to severe. A person with spondylolisthesis may have no symptoms. If symptoms are present they may include pain, which usually spreads across the lower back and may feel like a muscle strain, stiff back and tight hamstring muscles, resulting in changes to posture and gait. If the slippage is significant, it may begin to compress the nerves and narrow the spinal canal.

Risks
  • Genetics: many people are born with the condition
  • Arthritis, which causes abnormal wear on the cartilage and bones
  • Activities that put stress on the bones in the lower back and require overstretching the spine
  • Injuries
Treatment

Treatment depends on how severe the slippage is. Initial treatment for spondylolisthesis is always non-surgical. Most patients get better with exercises to stretch and strengthen lower back muscles. Surgery may be needed if slippage progressively worsens or if back pain does not respond to non-surgical treatment.

  • Bracing to reduce stress
  • Stabilising and stretching exercises
  • Mobilization of joints