Spondylolisthesis, The Basics

Spondylolisthesis is a condition of the spine whereby one of the vertebra slips backward or forward compared to the next vertebra.

SpondylolisthesisBackward slippage of an upper vertebra on a lower vertebra is referred to as retrolisthesis, while forward slippage is referred to as anterolisthesis. Spondylolisthesis can lead to a deformity of the spine as well as a narrowing of the spinal canal (central spinal stenosis) or compression of the exiting nerve roots (foraminal stenosis).

Spondylolisthesis can be described according to its degree of severity. One commonly used description grades spondylolisthesis, with grade 1 being least advanced, and grade 5 being most advanced. The spondylolisthesis is graded by measuring how much of a vertebral body has slipped forward over the body beneath it.

A spondylolisthesis can produce increased lordosis (also called swayback), but in later stages may result in kyphosis (roundback) as the upper spine falls off the lower spine. Symptoms of spondylolisthesismay include:

  1. Lower back pain
  2. Weakness in the legs
  3. Pain, numbness, or tingling in the thighs and buttocks
  4. Tenderness in the area of the slipped disc
  5. Stiffness
  6. Muscle tightness (tight hamstring muscle)

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, and are concerned about the potential of having spondylolisthesis, request an evaluation today with Milwaukee’s top back and spine surgeon Dr. Branko Prpa

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