Spondylolisthesis – Definition, Causes, and Treatment


Spondylolisthesis is a condition where a vertebra moves forward on top of the vertebra below. It’s possible at any level but L5-S1 is the most common. In some cases it can lead to spinal nerve or cord compression. This can cause back pain, numbness and weakness in both legs and in severe cases, loss of bowel and bladder control.

Sometimes there are no symptoms until many years after the slippage.


Back, buttock or neck pain that gets worse when you bend over or twist
Tightness in legs
Numbness and/or weakness in legs
Difficulty walking
Pain down the legs
Loss of bowel or bladder control in rare cases
What is the cause?

Stress fracture or defect in the spinal joints . The defect can be congenital, caused by an accident or injury. A stress fracture caused by overuse (certain sports) or the joint damaged by infection or arthritis.
There are different grading systems to diagnose spondylolisthesis.

1. Grade I is a slip of up to 25%.
2. Grade II is between 26%-50%.
3. Grade III is between 51%-75%.
4. Grade IV is between 76%-100%.
5. Grade V, occurs when the vertebra has completely fallen off the next vertebra.


  • Rest
  • Core strengthening and activation
  • Improve flexibility in the spine and lengthen and strengthen the hamstrings
  • Contrast hydrotherapy to reduce inflammation
  • Back brace
  • Prognosis is generally good for people with spondylolisthesis

If you are experiencing any back or leg pain, please go to see a back specialist.



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