Spondylolisthesis

  • Medical Author:
    Catherine Burt Driver, MD

    Catherine Burt Driver, MD, is board certified in internal medicine and rheumatology by the American Board of Internal Medicine. Dr. Driver is a member of the American College of Rheumatology. She currently is in active practice in the field of rheumatology in Mission Viejo, Calif., where she is a partner in Mission Internal Medical Group.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Low Back Pain Relief
Low back pain is the most common symptom of spondylolisthesis.

Spondylolisthesis Symptom

Low back pain

There are many causes of pain in the back. Symptoms in the low back can be a result of problems in the bony lumbar spine, discs between the vertebrae, ligaments around the spine and discs, spinal cord and nerves, muscles of the low back, internal organs of the pelvis and abdomen, and the skin covering the lumbar area. Pains in the upper back can also be a result of disorders of the aorta, chest tumors, and inflammation of spine.

Spondylolisthesis facts

  • Spondylolisthesis is a forward or backward slippage of one vertebra on an adjacent vertebra.
  • Causes of spondylolisthesis include trauma, degenerative, tumor, and birth defects.
  • Symptoms of spondylolisthesis include
  • The diagnosis of spondylolisthesis is based on imaging.
  • Most people with spondylolisthesis can be treated conservatively, without the need for surgery.
  • Patients who fail to improve with conservative treatment may be a candidate for surgery.

What is spondylolisthesis?

Spondylolisthesis (spon + dee + lo + lis + thee + sis) is a condition of the spine whereby one of the vertebra slips forward or backward in relation to the next vertebra. Forward slippage of an upper vertebra on a lower vertebra is referred to as anterolisthesis, while backward slippage is referred to as retrolisthesis. Spondylolisthesis can lead to a deformity of the spine as well as a narrowing of the spinal canal (central spinal stenosis) or compression of the exiting nerve roots (foraminal stenosis). Spondylolisthesis is most common in the low back (lumbar spine) but can also occur in the mid to upper back (thoracic spine) and neck (cervical spine).

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/20/2016

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