Lumbar Spondylolisthesis

Lumbar spondylolisthesis is a spinal condition characterized by the forward displacement of one vertebra over an adjacent vertebra in the lumbar (lower) spine. This displacement can occur due to various factors, leading to instability in the affected segment of the spine. Lumbar spondylolisthesis is often graded based on the extent of displacement and can be associated with symptoms such as lower back pain and sciatica.
Key Features of Lumbar Spondylolisthesis:
  • Vertebral Displacement: Lumbar spondylolisthesis involves the anterior (forward) movement of one lumbar vertebra over the one below it. This displacement can be a result of structural changes or abnormalities in the spine.
  • Causes:
    • Isthmic Spondylolisthesis: Caused by a defect or fracture in the pars interarticularis, a part of the vertebra. This defect can result from repetitive stress, especially in athletes.
    • Degenerative Spondylolisthesis: Associated with wear and tear on the spine due to aging, leading to the breakdown of intervertebral discs and facet joints.
    • Traumatic Spondylolisthesis: Caused by an acute fracture or injury to the spine.
  • Symptoms:
    • Lower Back Pain: Persistent pain in the lower back is a common symptom.
    • Sciatica: Compression of nerve roots can lead to radiating pain, numbness, or tingling in the buttocks and down the legs.
    • Changes in Posture: Lumbar spondylolisthesis may result in an abnormal posture, such as an exaggerated sway in the lower back.
    • Muscle Tightness: Tightness or stiffness in the muscles of the lower back.
  • Grading:
    • Lumbar spondylolisthesis is often graded based on the degree of vertebral displacement, with Grade I indicating a mild slippage and Grade IV indicating a more significant displacement.
  • Diagnostic Approaches:
    • Imaging Studies: X-rays, MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging), or CT (Computed Tomography) scans help visualize the lumbar spine and assess the extent of vertebral displacement.
  • Treatment Options:
    • Conservative Management: Non-surgical approaches include physical therapy, pain medications, and activity modification.
    • Bracing: In some cases, a brace may be recommended to provide support and limit movement.
    • Surgical Intervention: For severe cases or when conservative measures are ineffective, surgical procedures like spinal fusion may be considered to stabilize the spine and reduce displacement.
Treatment decisions are individualized based on the severity of symptoms, the grade of spondylolisthesis, and the impact on an individual’s daily life. Lumbar spondylolisthesis may be asymptomatic in some cases and may require only periodic monitoring. Individuals experiencing symptoms suggestive of lumbar spondylolisthesis should seek evaluation and guidance from a healthcare professional.


Regain Functionality
& Get Back To Living