What is Spondylolisthesis?


Spondylolisthesis is a condition of the spine when a bone in the spine called a vertebra slips forward out of place. The term comes from the Greek for “spine,” spondylos, and for “to slip,” listhesis. It’s pronounced “spon-dee-low-lis-thee-sis.”

The more common causes are congenital, isthmic and degenerative spondylolisthesis. The congenital form is due to a birth defect affects bone formation or growth, which can make someone more prone to developing the congenital form of spondylolisthesis. Athletes, children and anyone participating in strenous acticity may develop stress fractures which weaken the vertebrea a dn may leading to isthmic spondylolisthesis. As someone ages, changes can occur in the spinal discs and make them less able to control the movement of vertebrae, which can result in degenerative spondylolisthesis.

What You May Be Feeling

Spondylolisthesis can cause lower back pain

Lower Back Pain

Spondylolisthesis can cause bladder control issues or pain

Bladder Control Issues or Pain

Spondylolisthesis can cause shooting pains

Shooting Pains

Spondylolisthesis can cause tenderness


Spondylolisthesis can cause leg numbness

Leg numbness

Spondylolisthesis can cause leg weakness

Leg Weakness

Sometimes there are no symptoms in patients with spondylolisthesis. When symptoms do exist, the most common is back pain, usually in the lower back. Sometimes, the pain may radiate down the legs, or even feel like a tight or pulled hamstring. If the slipped vertebra is pressing down on a nerve, there may be pain, numbness, or tingling in the leg or foot.

Potential Treatment Options

A laminectomy is a very common procedure that removes a portion of what is known as a the lamina in order to create space in the area affected by the bulging disc. Learn More.


A laminotomy is a spinal decompression surgery where only a very small portion of the lamina is removed to remove pressure on the nerves and spinal cord to relieve pain. Learn More.


During an ACDF the damaged disc in the neck is removed, relieving pain and pressure, while at the same time providing new much needed stability with a reinforced implant. Learn More.


During a lumbar fusion the damaged disc is removed from the lower back (lumbar spine), and the two vertebrae are fused together with a reinforced implant to create more support. Learn More.

Also known as an RFA, this procedure uses high-energy radio frequency to ablate the troubled nerve, essentially eliminating the source of pain. Learn More.


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