Spondylolisthesis is a condition that occurs when a vertebrae of the spine ‘slips’ out of place – shifting forward and causing issues with the shape and function of the spine. By being out of place, the vertebrae in question may compress nerves that are traveling through the spinal column and to the rest of the body. Depending on the location of the issue, nerves exiting the spinal column may also be restricted from leaving and compressed as well, leading to pain and other symptoms.

There are a variety of reasons Spondylolisthesis may occur. In adults, arthritis in the spine and loss of disc elasticity is a common cause. As the body ages, the discs, ligaments and other structures of the spine break down – potentially leading to a case of the similar-sounding Spondylosis. When this occurs, a vertebrae slipping out of place may be more common.

More infrequent causes include a sudden injury or traumatic event that leads to a broken vertebrae. Other possibilities may be a result of diseases, cancer, or simply wear and tear from overuse. Spondylolisthesis may also appear in children – but rather than any specific event causing the issue, it appears as a birth defect.

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Many individuals who have the condition show no symptoms – and may not even know there’s an issue until a doctor notices for them. If symptoms to arise, they may include:

  • Muscle spasms
  • Pain in the extremities
  • Numbness
  • Tingling

Treatment for Spondylolisthesis, when necessary, depends on the severity of each case. Medication and rest is often the first line of defense, Some individuals may need to wear a back brace for some time in an attempt to properly move the vertebrae back into position,targeted spinal injections are also utilized when appropriate. When these methods are ineffective, or the case is particularly severe, surgery may be required in an attempt to reduce nerve compression or re-stabilize the spine.

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