Spondylolisthesis is a traumatic injury that occurs when a vertebra slips forward over an underlying bone. The condition usually occurs as a result of age related degeneration of the spine. Also known as Lumbar Spondylolisthesis, it can cause mild to severe pain in the lower back and legs. Mainly, there are two types of Spondylolisthesis that can be seen in adults:

Degenerative Spondylolisthesis: It occurs due to degenerative wear and tear of the spinal vertebrae. Changes in the normal spine anatomy lead to buckling of the discs and may subsequently loosen the vertebra, causing it to slide forward.

Spondylolytic Spondylolisthesis: In this, the vertebra slips due to a break in any of the bones in the lower back. Spondylolytic Spondylolisthesis causes only the front part of the bone to move, therefore, it does not put pressure on the spinal canal.


  • Congenital spinal deformity
  • Traumatic spinal fracture
  • Performing repetitive or highly stressful activities
  • Bone degeneration due to age or overuse
  • Spinal Arthritis


  • Persistent pain in the lower back
  • Tenderness around the site of prolapsed vertebra
  • Stiffness in buttocks, thighs and legs
  • Tight hamstring muscles
  • Numbness and weakness in legs
  • Difficulty in walking
  • Loss of bowel or bladder control, in rare cases


  • After evaluating the symptoms and medical history, the orthopedic doctor may examine the patient’s back.
  • He may exert pressure on specific areas and ask the patient to bend towards the back, front or sideways to look for limitations in movement.
  • Imaging tests that may be conducted in order to confirm the diagnosis include X-ray, MRI, and CT scan.


Medication: The orthopedic doctor may prescribe anti-inflammatory medications and analgesics to relieve the symptoms of Lumbar Spondylolisthesis.

Physical Therapy: Performing certain exercises can help to strengthen and stretch the muscles in the abdomen as well as lower back.

Back Brace: Wearing a back brace may also help to provide support to the spine and speed up the healing process.

Surgery: If conservative treatment does not provide relief, surgery may be recommended. The most commonly recommended procedures include Spinal Stabilization and Fusion. The surgery aims at releasing pressure off the spinal cord or nerves and restoring the stability of the spine.

For diagnosis and treatment of adult Spondylolisthesis in the low back, visit OrthoTexas.