Spondylolisthesis is caused when a vertebra slips over the vertebra directly below it.  Usually occurring in the vertebrae of the lower back, this slippage can result in compression and pain.  Some cases of spondylolisthesis remain undetected for years, in the absence of symptoms, only surfacing as pain long after the initial vertebral slip.

Causes for this condition range from a congenital defect in the area in which the vertebra has slipped, overuse, or even a previous trauma which has compromised the spinal structure.


Pressure on your spinal cord or nerve roots caused by spondylolisthesis can produce back pain, muscle weakness and numbness in both legs (or just one) and even loss of bladder and bowel control (although this symptom is rare).

Pain when twisting or bending is another symptom of spondylolisthesis.

Diagnosis and treatment.

Imaging diagnostics as simple as X-Rays can detect a vertebra which has slipped out of position and reveals any fractures which may have taken place as a result.

Following diagnosis, patients are requested to cease any physical activities which may have precipitated the vertebral slippage.  Patients can also call on over the counter anti-inflammatories and painkillers.  In the instance of extreme pain, medications may be prescribed at your physician’s discretion.

Exercise is very often prescribed to strengthen the core (abdominal) and back muscles.  In the event of patient obesity, weight loss will be prescribed in concert with a program of strengthening exercises.

If the spondylolisthesis has provoked damage to the spinal cord or nerve root, or the implicated vertebrae continue to move, surgery may be recommended.

The most common means of addressing spondylolisthesis surgically are decompression and fusion.  These are sometimes achieved during the same intervention.  Decompression involves the removal of tissue and bone which may be exerting undue pressure, whereas fusion stabilizes the implicated vertebrae to stop movement in the spine.

Following surgery, patients are asked to wear a back brace or cast for a prescribed period.  Once this device is removed, the patient will engage in a period of rehabilitative care to strengthen muscles and support the recovery of mobility.

Spine Care Jersey City, NJ.

At Spine Consult NJ, we specialize in all conditions affecting the spine.  Working within the framework of traditional orthopedic practice, we call on modern technologies and techniques to offer our patients superior outcomes.

If you’ve been diagnosed with spondylolisthesis, or are seeking a diagnosis, we encourage you to contact us.  At Spine Consult NJ, we have your wellbeing in mind.  From diagnosis, through treatment and eventual recovery, we’re the team that goes on the journey the to a renewed quality of life with you.