Spondylolisthesis causes pain in the lower back, muscle spasms, weakness and/or tight hamstrings. The disorder is characterized by the slippage of a vertebra over the one directly beneath it, and it occurs most often in the lumbar, or lower, region of the spine. This is probably due to the fact that the lower back bears the most weight and has to absorb intense directional pressures. These stressors weaken or injure the vertebrae, possibly causing them to shift.
There are a number of spondylolisthesis causes, but certain activities put people at higher risk. Gymnasts, weightlifters and football players are especially susceptible to spondylolisthesis since they place an enormous amount of pressure on their backs, particularly their lower backs. Other spondylolisthesis causes include:
- Fractures – Spondylolisthesis is most commonly caused by fractures resulting from hyperextension (overarching) or a trauma to the spine. The fractures can be partial or complete, and sometimes fragments of bone are broken off which can cause a pinched nerve.
- Aging – As the body ages, the vertebral discs become dehydrated, making them less capable of handling movement and absorbing shock. As a disc loses its ability to act as a cushion, it increases the chance that a vertebra will slip forward.
- Tumors – Tumors can weaken bones, thereby causing fractures and potentially leading to a vertebral slip.
- Surgery – A vertebral slip can result from a back surgery, however, it is not common.
- A birth defect
If you’ve been diagnosed with spondylolisthesis, the good news is that you have treatment options. Most physicians will first recommend exercise, medication, a spinal brace, pain medication or a combination of treatments. But, if you’ve tried non-surgical treatments and are still experiencing pain, it may benefit you to visit our spondylolisthesis treatment page to learn more about how our minimally invasive procedures can benefit you. Our caring staff will employ our state-of-the-art procedures to release spinal nerves from pressure, which works to address the true source of pain. Take a look at our testimonials page to see how Laser Spine Institute has helped others reclaim their lives. If you have any questions or would like a review of your MRI or CT scan, contact us today.