Spondylolisthesis (spawn-dee-lo-LISS-tha-sis) is a condition of the spine in which one of the vertebrae slips forward or backward. The condition can be caused by a congenital defect the patient is born with, an injury or trauma, arthritic changes in the joints of the vertebra, or a bone defect.
This is different from a slipped disc, where one of the spinal discs in between the vertebrae has ruptured.
- Back pain that is worse when moving or carrying things
- There may also be radiating pain in the leg that worsens with standing and is relieved with sitting.
To diagnose the source of back pain, we will take a medical history and conduct a medical exam. We may also use the following diagnostic tools:
- Imaging, such as X-rays, CT scans or an MRI
Treatment for spondylolisthesis depends on the location and severity of the injury. Typical treatments include:
- Physical therapy targeted at the cause of pain, such as flexion-based exercise with emphasis on core strengthening
- If there is also a stress fracture, bracing of the spine is necessary to allow the bones to heal.
If non-surgical treatments do not help, or if the pain worsens, surgical treatments would be considered, such as:
- Spinal fusion to prevent motion at the segment of the spine that is affected