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.