What is


Spondylolisthesis occurs when one vertebra re-adjusts itself to slip forward over the vertebra beneath it. The condition of Spondylolisthesis is more commonly reported in people between the ages of 30 and 50, and Degenerative Spondylolisthesis is more often seen in those in age 50 and older. Symptoms of this condition are low back pain and pain in the leg, which can hinder movement and activities.

what are the


Commonly observed symptoms of Spondylolisthesis and Degenerative Spondylolisthesis are:

  • Pain in the low back and leg. However, pain can also occur in either the leg or the back, as opposed to both.
  • Sciatica, aches in both legs, or fatigue in legs when standing for long periods or walking (pseudoclaudication) another blog topic
  • Sitting does not cause as much pain as standing
  • Tight hamstring muscles and less flexibility in the low back area
  • Pain with backward arching of the back
  • Weakness in the legs
  • Because the lower spine doesn’t have a spinal cord, even when the pain is significant there is no risk of compromising the spinal cord. In extreme and rare cases, a condition known as cauda equina syndrome (another blog topic) can occur, leading to nerve root damage and potential loss of bladder or bowel control. When this happens, medical attention should be sought immediately.

What are the


Non-Surgical Treatment Options

A broad spectrum of non-surgical options are usually helpful in alleviating symptoms of Spondylolisthesis. The most often utilized treatments, or a combination thereof, include:

  • Activity Modification - changing exercise habits or practicing self care by resting, applying Ice or Heat packs, or using OTC pain relievers after activity
  • Manual Manipulation - Aids in mobilizing and helping dysfunctional joints gain flexibility
  • Epidural Injections - Effective in reducing pain, most notably pain in the leg
  • Surgery - Rarely indicated, unless pain is debilitating or interferes with desired activities


Surgical Treatment Options

The most widely accepted surgical option for Spondylolisthesis uses a combination of two procedures performed together during one operation, the Laminectomy and Spinal Fusion Surgery. A laminectomy will decompress the spine, but spinal fusion with pedicle screws is usually done as well, to help stabilize the spine.