Spinal problems - spondylolisthesis

Spondylolisthesis is a spinal condition that involves the slipping of one spinal vertebra over the one immediately underneath it.
There are 2 types of spondylolisthesis:-
  1. Congenital spondylolisthesis - this is where the front and load bearing part of the vertebra (usually in the lower lumbar spine), has failed to unite with the back part, which carries most of the muscle and ligament attachments. This is either a congenital failure or is influenced by sport, repetitive actions or single trauma in late teenage. It results in one vertebra slipping forward on another and often a 'shelf' or 'step' can be felt when examining the back.The true diagnosis is sometimes not picked up until 20-30 yrs old, after successive episodes of pain and disability.

  2. Degenerative spondylolisthesis - this can occur as a part of the degenerative process of the spine in later life. The disc wears and becomes narrow, allowing the facet joints to overide with one vertebra slipping forward on the one below. This results in back pain and often concurrent leg pains when the nerves exiting from the spine are compressed. The onset can be sudden or progressive over several episodes of pain

Both types of spondylolisthesis can be managed by Osteopathic treatment in the early stages. However, they may progress on to requiring injection treatments (into the pars interarticularis) or surgical stabilisation. If a surgical opinion is required we can arrange it.

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