Spondylolisthesis risk factors

Spondylolisthesis risk factors are anything that would increase the chance of developing spondylolisthesis, or the sliding of vertebrae outward from the spine. This painful condition can be caused by a congenital defect, but is more commonly the result of a traumatic injury, pathological problems or arthritic changes in the spine.


The spine is made of more than two dozen segments of bone, known as vertebrae, which are stacked on top of one another to form the spinal column. These vertebrae are held in place by muscles and ligaments, connected by facet joints at the back of the bone and cushioned by discs. Spondylolisthesis occurs when one of the vertebrae — most commonly in the lower back — slips forward in the spine as a result of a spinal defect.

This condition is often demonstrated by a change in posture and gait, and can lead to significant back pain at the site of the spondylolisthesis. Additionally, this slippage can cause neuropathic pain if a nerve root or the spinal cord becomes compressed.

Common spondylolisthesis risk factors

To understand how to avoid spondylolisthesis requires a closer look at the potential causes of the condition. In general, vertebral slippage is most commonly caused by:

  • Congenital defect — this means the condition is present at birth
  • Pathological damage — caused by tumor, disease or bone abnormality
  • Injury — bone damage caused by major injury or fracture to the vertebra, as well as gradual damage caused from high-impact sports
  • Osteoarthritis — cartilage degeneration in the spinal column caused by arthritis

Spondylolisthesis risk factors can be summarized into two categories: risks you can avoid and those you can’t. While you have no control over congenital defects or pathological problems, avoiding activities that put undue stress on your spine and practicing good spine health can help limit your chances of developing the disorder.


If you have already been diagnosed with spondylolisthesis and your symptoms have not responded to conservative treatments such as physical therapy, Laser Spine Institute understands your frustration. We offer minimally invasive decompression and stabilization surgeries that have been proven to treat cases of spondylolisthesis without the highly invasive nature of traditional open spine surgery. To date, we have already helped more than 75,000 patients find relief from neck and back pain. To learn more about our minimally invasive treatment options for spondylolisthesis, contact Laser Spine Institute today.