What is Spondylolisthesis?
It is the forward movement of the vertebrae in relation to the segment below.
There are many types:
- Fracture of part of the vertebra
What are the symptoms and signs of Spondylolisthesis?
You usually experience:
- Lower back pain or buttock pain
- Sometimes no lower back pain
- Lower back pain when extending back
- Lower back pain after standing for a short period of time
- Difficulty walking
- Signs of stenosis (nerve impingement) in elderly patients that may lead to leg pain and numbness
In rare cases, bowel or bladder changes or loss may occur. If this is the case, seek medical care immediately with your GP or hospital.
What are causes of a Spondylolisthesis?
The bones in your spine are connected by several small joints that keep the bones in alignment while still allowing them to move. Spondylolisthesis is caused by a problem in one or more of these small joints that allows one bone to move out of line, causing structural forces that lead to pathology.
Some causes include:
- A defective joint that you’ve had since birth
- Joint damage by accident or other trauma
- Fractures from overuse of the joints or spondylolysis
- Degeneration due to age or overuse
Who experiences lower back pain caused by a Spondylolisthesis?
- 5-7% prevalence in Caucasian populations
- 40% prevalence in Eskimo populations
- Often appear in early life between the ages of 5 and 6 years old
- High grade translation of the vertebrae usually develops between 10 to 14 years of age
- Activities involving repetitive forward and backwards movement, such as gymnastics, rowing or dead lifts, may increase incidence
- Spondylolisthesis usually occurs in the lumbar spine (lower back) but may occur in a weak cervical spine (neck)
- Most common complication of any type of spondylolisthesis is nerve root impingement/radiculopathy at the level of slippage
- Disc degeneration occurs at the level of spondylolisthesis faster than other levels and increases the risk of discogenic pain
- Stenosis and cauda equina syndrome may result when a significant slip has occurred. Symptoms include bowel or bladder changes or disturbances. If you experience these, see your GP immediately.
If I do have a Spondylolisthesis, what can I do?
- Ice to the affected area. Click this link for duration
- Non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) – it is best to check with GP or pharmacist before use
Stenosis and cauda equina syndrome may result when a significant slip has occurred. Symptoms include bowel or bladder changes or disturbances. If you experience these, see your GP immediately.