More information about spondylolisthesis

Spondylolisthesis is a spine condition involving forward movement, or slippage, of the vertebrae. While this condition does not necessarily cause symptoms, they can develop if a nerve is pinched by the vertebra sliding out of place. There are a number of underlying causes of spondylolisthesis, but two of the most frequent are stress fractures and age-related degeneration. In rarer cases, birth defects, traumatic injury, infection or bone disease can cause the slippage.

The most commonly diagnosed type of this condition is called isthmic spondylolisthesis. It is usually caused by a stress fracture on a very small bone in the spinal joints. When this break occurs, very often on younger people experiencing rapid growth, it makes it very easy for the connected vertebra to gradually slip forward out of the spinal column.

Degenerative — or age-related — spondylolisthesis is commonly found in older adults who have been diagnosed with other degenerative spine conditions, like spinal arthritis or stenosis. A degenerative spine condition develops due to the natural aging process of the spine. Wear from everyday activities makes the parts of the spine wear out over time. Discs shrink, ligaments harden and the cartilage on joints wears out. This creates the unstable conditions that allow a vertebra to slip forward out of place.

During the development of spondylolisthesis, the movement of a vertebra can interfere with nerves in the spinal canal, causing painful symptoms like lower back pain, muscle spasms and stiffness in the lower body.

As you continue to research spondylolisthesis, we encourage you to use our extensive library of articles about the condition and the treatment options available to you: