Spondylolisthesis is a defect in which one or more vertebrae slip out of alignment with the spine.  This condition can occur anywhere on the spine but is most common in the lumbar spine and is a common source of lower back pain.

There are multiple causes for spondylolisthesis.  It may be congenital or caused by being actively engaged in sports like gymnastics, weight lifting, or soccer.  Such activities involve hyperextension of the spine and thus put it at the risk of spondylolisthesis.

The body may also become vulnerable to this condition with aging. As people grow old, their bones, ligaments, joints, and muscles become weak and more susceptible to injuries.

There are often no direct symptoms associated with spondylolisthesis. Many people do not have symptoms, or the symptoms are so generalized that many people who have this condition do not even know it. Moreover, people who know that they have this issue frequently do not find themselves ill or suffering.

However, a patient with spondylolisthesis may occasionally suffer from walking abnormalities and complain of constant lower back pain. Pain in the legs is also very common in people with this condition. Such muscle pain exaggerates with the physical activity and lessens when resting.  If the problem becomes severe, the patient might face postural abnormalities.

Treatment for spondylolisthesis depends on the age and overall health of the person, the severity of the symptoms, and the extent of the slip.  Conservative treatment includes resting, medication, and physical therapy.  Surgery may be an option if the vertebra continues to slip or conservative treatment does not relieve the pain.

This information is not designed to replace a physician's independent decision about the appropriateness or risks of a procedure for a given patient. Always consult your doctor about your back problem or medical conditions. Life Spine does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.