What is Spondylolisthesis?

By Ehren Allen, PT, CMT

What is Spondylolisthesis?

The quick answer, spondylolisthesis is a spine condition that occurs when a vertebra slips forward onto another vertebra. The pain can increase if the vertebrae slip too far and pinch a nerve. Often the patient does not have the abdominal core strength or the patient experienced a traumatic event to the spine.

What are Types of Spondylolisthesis?

What is Spondylolisthesis? It can cause back pain

Pain can increase if the vertebrae slip too far and pinch a nerve

  • Degenerative: This condition occurs with the advanced aging process. The disks between the vertebrae become less spongy with age and cannot resist the shear forces in the spine. The result is an increased slipping forward on the vertebrae.
  • Congenital: This patient from birth has an abnormal formation of bone. The spine is more susceptible to slippage due to the abnormal formation at birth.
  • Isthmic: This is a patient that already has spondylosis, which is a condition that results in small stress fractures in the bone. The stress fractures weaken the bone to cause the forward slippage of the vertebrae.
What is spondylolisthesis?

Vertebra slips forward

What are the Symptoms of Spondylolisthesis?

The majority of patients diagnosed with spondylolisthesis experience low back pain or pain along their entire spine. In some cases, patients don’t experience any symptoms and are unaware that one of their vertebrae even slipped. This condition is common with young adults who participate in gymnastics, offensive lineman, CrossFit/Olympic lifters, and baseball players.

Treatment of Spondylolisthesis

Rest and taking a break from physical activities is the most common remedy for Spondylolisthesis. Braces and other devices used for back support are also suggested to keep a straight posture. Physicians commonly prescribe physical therapy. In some cases, surgery may be required.

Related Articles: Best Core Stabilization Exercises

 Physical Therapy Options

A slipped vertebrae can be uncomfortable for anyone. JOI physical therapists at JOI Rehab can help manage your pain symptoms and improve your core strength. JOI also offers access to our Spine Center, which provides relief for patients experiencing back or neck pain. If you are interested in scheduling a physical therapy appointment to treat Spondylolisthesis, call 904-858-7045.  

By: Ehren Allen, PT, CMT

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