Spine Conditions

What is spinal spondylolisthesis?

Spinal spondylolisthesis is a condition in which a vertebra or spinal bone slips from its position relative to the vertebra above or below. When the vertebra moves from its position, it impacts the surrounding nerves, causing pain, stiffness and tingling in parts of the body.

There are several causes of spinal spondylolisthesis, which are classified by type. Spinal Spondylolisthesis | Dr Raj Reddy | Neurosurgeon | Sydney, Australia

  • degenerative spondylolisthesis – most often seen in adults
  • isthmic spondylolisthesis – involves putting too much load on your spine over time and is commonly seen in children and adolescents
  • traumatic spondylolisthesis – occurs because of a high-impact injury
  • dysplastic spondylolisthesis – characterised by an abnormal formation in the vertebra
  • pathological spondylolisthesis – a rarer form of the condition that can result from bone or tissue disorders or infection

You may be more prone to spondylolisthesis if you have an immediate relative with the condition, scoliosis or S1-level spina bifida.

What are symptoms of spinal spondylolisthesis?

Symptoms of spondylolisthesis include:

  • pain in your lower back
  • pain, numbness or tingling in your legs and buttocks
  • stiffness or tight muscles in your thigh area
  • weakness in your legs

How is spinal spondylolisthesis treated?

After a neurosurgeon conducts a physical examination, they may request an x-ray, CT or MRI to help with diagnosis.

Mild spinal spondylolisthesis does not always require treatment. However, a neurosurgeon may advise a patient to carefully strengthen their back and abdomen muscles. This helps their core to support their vertebrae and surrounding ligaments.

While some cases of spinal spondylolisthesis won’t require neurosurgery, more severe cases involve a surgical procedure that fuses the slipped vertebrae into its correct position. This alleviates pressure on the surrounding nerves.


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