Spondylolisthesis (sliding of back bone)

Back | Orthopaedics | Spondylolisthesis (sliding of back bone) (Disease)


Spondylolisthesis, a tongue-twisting name for a painful condition, occurs when a stress fracture of one of your vertebra--a condition known as spondylolysis--weakens the bone so much that it slips out of place.

Causes and Risk factors

In children, spondylolisthesis usually occurs between the fifth bone in the lower back (lumbar vertebra) and the first bone in the sacrum (pelvis) area. It is often due to a birth defect in that area of the spine or sudden injury (acute trauma). In adults, the most common cause is degenerative disease (such as arthritis). The slip usually occurs between the fourth and fifth lumbar vertebrae.

Other causes of spondylolisthesis include bone diseases, traumatic fractures, and stress fractures (commonly seen in gymnasts). Certain sport activities -- such as gymnastics, weight lifting, and football -- put a great deal of stress on the bones in the lower back. They also require that the athlete constantly overstretch (hyperextend) the spine. This can lead to a stress fracture on one or both sides of the vertebra. A stress fracture can cause a spinal bone to become weak and shift out of place.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Spondylolisthesis treatment involves bed rest, associated with taking painkillers and anti-inflammatory. Besides acute crisis lombosciatica prescribing a spinal rehabilitation gym and wearing a corset.

Treatment varies depending on the severity of the condition. Most patients get better with strengthening and stretching exercises combined with activity modification, which involves avoiding hyperextension of the back and contact sports. Nonsurgical treatments are tried first. This may include: anti-inflammatory medicines to reduce back pain, a stiff back brack, physical therapy