Spine conditions

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. This can cause pain, stiffness and tingling in parts of the body.

There are several causes of spinal spondylolisthesis, which are classified by type.

  • 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.

Spinal Spondylolisthesis | Dr Raj Reddy | Neurosurgeon | Sydney, Australia

What are the 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 does a physical examination, they may request an x-ray, CT or MRI to help with diagnosis.

Mild spinal spondylolisthesis does not always need 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 need neurosurgery, more severe cases can be treated with a surgical procedure that fuses the slipped vertebrae into its correct position. This alleviates pressure on the surrounding nerves.


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