Spondylosis — the correlation between spondylosis and spondylolisthesis

Spondylosis is a common spine condition that typically affects people later in life. The term “spondylosis” describes the natural degeneration of the spine. While mild cases of spondylosis generally do not carry symptoms, more progressive cases of the condition might result in the development of other spine conditions.

One of the most common spine conditions associated with spondylosis is spondylolisthesis, which is the misalignment of the spine. Symptoms of spondylolisthesis often include stiffness, limited mobility, and pain in the lower back. If you are experiencing these symptoms, schedule an appointment with your physician to determine the cause of your pain and create a treatment plan to help you find relief.

The relationship between spondylosis and spondylolisthesis

Once you understand the main description of spondylosis and spondylolisthesis, you will begin to understand why the two spine conditions are often associated with each other.

The spine is comprised of several small bones, called vertebrae, stacked on top of each other. The purpose of the vertebrae is to establish the structure of the spine. In between each vertebra is a disc and a joint, which allow the vertebrae (and ultimately the spine) to move and bend easily.

Spondylosis describes the natural deterioration process of the vertebrae, joints and discs in the spine due to years of compression from weight gain and repetitive motion. Spondylolisthesis describes the misalignment of the vertebrae of the spine due to the deterioration of joints and discs to hold the vertebrae in place.

As the joints and discs deteriorate due to spondylosis, a vertebra might slip out of alignment, either moving into the spinal canal or over top of the vertebra below it. This occurrence is described as spondylolisthesis. When spondylosis is left untreated, the condition could worsen and lead to the development of spondylolisthesis.

Symptoms of spondylolisthesis caused by spondylosis

While spondylosis is usually not symptomatic, spondylolisthesis often results in pain and stiffness in the back and limited mobility when moving or bending. The most common symptoms associated with spondylolisthesis include:

  • Chronic pain in back
  • Radiating pain in leg and buttock
  • Difficulty bending or moving
  • Pain when bending or moving
  • Inability to stand, sit or walk for extended periods of time

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you should consult your physician about a diagnosis of your condition and the treatment options available to you. There are several treatment options for spondylosis to prevent it from developing into spondylolisthesis. In the event that you have spondylolisthesis, there are treatment options available to help alleviate your pain and realign the vertebrae in your spine.