Spinal Instability or Lumbar Instability is a condition that occurs when the inter-vertebral discs in the spine begin to degenerate. The bulge of the disc decreases and begins to lose height. This causes the vertebrae to displace from their anatomical position and override the disc. It eventually produces friction between the vertebrae, causing pain and several other symptoms. The micro movement within the spine irritates the nerves that emerge out of the joint spaces. The condition may increase the risk of Spinal Arthritis and development of bone spurs. Spinal Instability may also affect the ability of the spine to maintain the body’s structure and movement.


  • External trauma or fracture of the spine
  • Metastatic tumors in the spine
  • Degenerative Disc Disease
  • Congenital defects in the spinal cord
  • Scoliosis
  • Spondylolisthesis
  • Disorders of the connective tissues
  • Poor lifting techniques


  • Severe pain in the back while lifting objects, bending and straightening the spine
  • A feeling of locking in between a physical activity such as getting up from a chair
  • Muscle spasms
  • Pain may radiate down into the legs and buttocks, generally affecting one side of the body
  • Numbness in the lower extremities and arms
  • The symptoms may get aggravated after prolonged sitting or standing
  • Laughing, coughing or sneezing may also induce pain


  • Details of the patient’s medical history and lifestyle may be noted down
  • MRI and CT scan severe pain in the back while lifting objects, bending and straightening the spine
  • X-ray imaging (in a sitting and standing position) may be required to study the changes in the bone structure
  • The doctor may probe the spine to recreate conditions that are likely to cause pain. This helps to diagnose the pattern of pain and the movements that cause it.


  • Physical therapy may be effective in treating mild Spinal Instability as it focuses on strengthening the muscles in the spine.
  • Pain killers and anti-inflammatory medicines may be prescribed by the doctor.
  • Microdiscectomy- Surgical removal of the intervertebral disc that is impinging on the spinal nerve.
  • Spinal Fusion – Two or more spinal vertebrae are fused together to prevent any movement between them and improve the stability of the spine.

For treatment of Spinal Instability and other orthopedic conditions, visit OrthoTexas. To schedule an appointment call 972-492-1334.Updated 5/14/19