Spondylolisthesis — definition and overview

Spondylolisthesis is slippage of one vertebra over the one beneath it in the spinal column. Often for patients with this condition, a vertebra in the spine will slip due to injury or other spine condition and will move out of the natural alignment of the spine. This could result in problems such as pain, stiffness, and limited mobility in the spine and other areas of the body.

At Laser Spine Institute, we treat a wide range of conditions, including spondylolisthesis. Our patient-centered approach is focused on helping people better understand their condition and the treatment options available. As you research spondylolisthesis, please feel free to reach out to our caring team. We are here to help you find answers and create a treatment plan that fits your needs and your lifestyle.

Spondylolisthesis overview

The spine is made of small segments of bone called vertebrae that are stacked on top of each other. In between each vertebra is a flexible disc that provides cushioning. The vertebrae are linked together by facet joints, which allow the vertebrae to bend and move.

Many cases of spondylolisthesis occur in the lumbar spine as a result of the natural aging process, but this condition can also be related to factors like congenital birth defect and injury. Spondylolisthesis often develops in the lumbar (lower) region of the spine because of the amount of weight it supports combined with its flexibility.

Symptoms of spondylolisthesis may include chronic pain from nerve compression, difficulty walking for extended periods of time and limited movement in the spine.

Treatment options for spondylolisthesis

There are several types of treatment options for spondylolisthesis, depending on the cause of the condition. This spine condition can be caused by the natural aging process, injury or other spine conditions, such as spinal stenosis.

The first form of treatment for patients with spondylolisthesis is generally a course of conservative therapies. Common options include:

  • Chiropractic care
  • Physical therapy
  • Exercises
  • Stretches
  • Medication
  • Epidural steroid injections
  • Lifestyle changes

If you have tried conservative treatment for your spondylolisthesis and you have not received any lasting results for pain relief, you may want to consider a surgical option to treat your condition.

At Laser Spine Institute, we offer minimally invasive decompression and minimally invasive stabilization surgery to treat spondylolisthesis that is a safer and effective alternative to traditional open back procedures, such as spinal fusion.^ By using muscle-sparing techniques, our surgeons are able to access the spine with a small incision that allows for an outpatient procedure. Contact us today to learn more.

Ask for your free MRI review* to determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures.