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Lumbar Spondylolisthesis

Spondylolisthesis is a condition in which one vertebra slips out of its proper position onto the bone below it. The condition may result from a degenerative disorder or an accident. In rare cases, spondylolisthesis may be acquired at birth.

In children, spondylolisthesis usually occurs between the fifth bone in the lower back (lumbar vertebra) and the first bone in the sacrum (pelvis) area. In adults, the most common cause is abnormal wear on the cartilage and bones caused by conditions such as arthritis. Bone disease and fractures can also cause spondylolisthesis. 

Spondylolisthesis Symptoms

Spondylolisthesis may vary from mild to severe, and can potentially be present without symptoms. The condition can produce lordosis (swayback) and in later stages may result in kyphosis (round back). Symptoms may include:

  • Lower back pain
  • Muscle tightness, especially in the hamstrings
  • Pain, numbness or tingling in the thighs and buttocks
  • Stiffness
  • Tenderness in the area of the herniated disc
  • Weakness in the legs

Spondylolisthesis Treatment

Treatment depends on how severe the slippage is. Your doctor may also recommend:

  • A back brace to limit spine movement
  • Pain medication
  • Physical therapy exercises
  • Surgery

Neck and Spine Regions

In medical terminology, the spine is divided into regions that correspond to their position along the vertebrae in the backbone. These sections are:

  • Cervical vertebrae in the neck (C1-C7)
  • Thoracic vertebrae in the upper back (T1-T12)
  • Lumbar vertebrae in the lower back (L1-L5)
  • Sacral vertebrae in the pelvic region (S1-S5)

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