What is Spondylolisthesis?

Spondylolisthesis is a spinal condition that affects the lower vertebrae. This disease causes one of the lower vertebra to slip out of place onto the vertebra below it. In some cases, this may lead to your spinal cord or nerve roots being squeezed. This can cause back pain and numbness or weakness in one or both legs. Although Spondylolisthesis mostly affects the lower back region, it may develop in the cervical (neck) and thoracic (middle back) areas of the spine as well. It is treatable in most cases. But in some rare cases, it can also lead to lose of control over your bladder or bowels.


The bones in your spine come together at several small joints that keep the bones lined up while still allowing them to move. Spondylolisthesis is caused by a problem with one or more of these small joints that allow one bone to move out of line.You can have Spondylolisthesis if you have:

  • A defective joint that you've had since birth (congenital).
  • A joint damaged by an accident or other trauma.
  • A vertebra with a stress fracture caused by overuse of the joint.
  • A joint damaged by an infection or arthritis.


The main reason for the back pain in teenagers is Spondylolisthesis. It also affects children and teens involved in sports. Some sports, such as gymnastics or weight lifting, can overuse back bone to the point of causing stress fractures in vertebrae, which can result in Spondylolisthesis. Adults develop Spondylolisthesis due to the stress fractures that occur due to the wear and tear on the back. It can also occur without stress fractures when the disc and joints are worn down and slip out of place.

Symptoms of Spondylolisthesis may include:

  • Back or buttock pain.
  • Pain that runs from the lower back down one or both legs.
  • Numbness or weakness in one or both legs.
  • Difficulty in walking.
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control.
  • Leg, back, or buttock pain that gets worse when you bend over or twist.

There are some cases where Spondylolisthesis cause no symptoms at all.


If left untreated, Spondylolisthesis can lead to a lot of spine complications in future and it can affect significantly your health and well-being. Treatment for Spondylolisthesis involves both therapeutic and surgical methods. It begins with stopping any physical activity that leads to vertebrae damage. Proper exercise techniques can help keep this condition from developing.


To get relief from the discomfort caused by Spondylolisthesis, anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving medications such as NSAID’s are prescribed.

Physical Therapy

The most effective treatment for Spondylolisthesis is to undergo Physical Therapy. Our offices at New York City offers Physical Therapy for patients going through pain.