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FAQ Frequently asked questions
What is spondylolisthesis?
Spondylolisthesis is a condition in which a vertebra (backbone) shifts out of position.
What are the symptoms of spondylolisthesis?
Symptoms of spondylolisthesis include lower back pain, stiffness and tenderness in your lower back, tight hamstring muscles, numbness, weakness or tingling sensations down the back of your leg and a 'waddling' gait when you walk.
What causes spondylolisthesis?
Spondylolisthesis can be caused by a number of factors, such as birth defects, fractures, overuse, infection, degeneration, or overstretching of the localized muscles and ligaments. The vertebra usually slips forward; a backwards slip is very rare.
Who gets spondylolisthesis?
People at high risk of spondylolisthesis are athletes who overextend their spines, or who have constant impacts, such as weightlifters, gymnasts or cricketers. Many cases are due to a birth defect that causes weakness in the spine. In older people, degeneration …
How is spondylolisthesis diagnosed?
To diagnose spondylolisthesis, your doctor will do a physical examination and also imaging tests such as X-rays, a CT scan or MRI.
How is spondylolisthesis treated?
To treat spondylolisthesis, it is recommended that you rest and avoid any activities that trigger your symptoms. Pain-relief medications and physiotherapy are also good options. If you have nerve compression and severe pain, your doctor may recommend a …
Can spondylolisthesis be prevented?
There is no absolute way of avoiding injury, but if you are aware of any weakness in your spine, it is advisable to be cautious with certain activities. Strengthening exercises to build up your abdominal core muscles will help protect your lower back.
What is the outlook for spondylolisthesis?
The outlook for the majority of spondylolisthesis cases is good. Avoiding triggers and performing regular stretching exercises can help relieve symptoms.
About this article
Author: Dr Idan Ben-Barak PhD, MSc, BSc (Med)
First answered: 11 Jul 2015
Last reviewed: 19 May 2018
Rating: 4.6 out of 5
Votes: 495 (Click smiley face below left to rate)