Spondylolisthesis refers to the forward slippage of a vertebra in the lumbar (lower) spine. It is a common cause of low back pain, particularly in adolescents.

Spondylolisthesis may be a congenital (inherited) condition, caused by degeneration due to age, or a result of trauma to the spinal cord, but is most often attributed to micro-fractures in the vertebra due to hyperextension and overuse. Athletes who play sports that involve bending and arching of the back, such as football, gymnastics, and weightlifting, are more prone to the condition.

Many individuals with spondylolisthesis experience no symptoms.

Others have mild to severe symptoms, such as:

  • Stiff or tight back muscles
  • Low back pain and tenderness
  • Pain in the buttocks
  • Pain and/or weakness in the thighs and legs
  • Tight hamstring muscles
  • Numbness and tingling sensation
  • Loss of muscle function
  • Difficulty controlling bowel and bladder functions
  • Swayback

The spine specialists at Lancaster Orthopedic Group will diagnose your condition based on your medical history, physical and neurological examination, and diagnostic tests, such as X-rays, CT or MRI scans.

Conservative treatments for spondylolisthesis include modification of activities, pain medication, physical therapy, and back braces. If the condition is not responding to conservative treatment, surgery may be recommended.