Could my lower back pain be
Spondylolisthesis?

Understanding Spondylolisthesis: What is this Condition?

Although it may affect any section of the spine, in most cases of spondylolisthesis it will only affect the lumber segment. Spondylolisthesis is the medical term to describe vertebrae slipping out of place in the spinal column.

Grades of Spondylolisthesis:

There are for grades to spondylolisthesis that measure how much the vertebra has slipped out of alignment. Each grade represents a 25% slip; at 50% it would be classified as grade 2 spondylolisthesis. In cases of more than 100% slippage, or when the vertebra completely falls of the one below it, the classification is termed spondyloptosis.

There are different causes of spondylolisthesis, and depending on what it is, your condition may be classified into five different types; They are:

Degenerative Spondylolisthesis

Usually caused by weakening of spinal structure found in patients suffering from degenerative disease.

Isthmic Spondylolisthesis

May affect both adults and children and is usually caused by small fractures in the pars interarticularis, a part of the vertebrae located in the facet joint area.

Dysplastic Spondylolisthesis

This is a result of a congenital birth defect and is often termed as congenital spondylolisthesis.

Pathogenic Spondylolisthesis

Develops as a result of damage from tumors or infections.

Traumatic Spondylolisthesis

Spondylolisthesis occurs as a result of a traumatic event that damages the vertebrae.

Treatment for Spondylolisthesis:

The goal for conservative spondylolisthesis treatment is to strengthen the surrounding muscle to better hold the spine in alignment. Physical therapy to help strengthen back and abdominal muscles as well as increase flexibility plus anti-inflammatory medications is often the course of treatment. In some patients weight loss may be recommended as well.

Spondylolisthesis Surgery:

Spondylolisthesis should be considered if conservative methods of treatment fail to yield positive results. Surgical intervention requires a spinal fusion that will fuse the spine together in proper alignment permanently. It is important to exhaust all other treatments completely before surgery is considered as a spinal fusion will create a permanent change in the spinal alignment whether the surgery is successful or not.

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Visit any of our conveniently located clinics to go over your symptoms one-on-one.

Here’s What You Can Do:

Use our Pain Evaluation Tool to get a preliminary diagnosis online.


Go over your symptoms & any tests with a doctor in a virtual consultation.


Visit any of our conveniently located clinics to go over your symptoms one-on-one.

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- Kaixuan Liu, MD, PhD President, Atlantic Spine Center Read More about Dr.Liu
Dr. Liu