Even though it is a big word, the meaning of spondylolisthesis is simple – slipped vertebrae. It occurs when a vertebra slips forward and is over the vertebra beneath it. This happens most commonly in the lower back where the spine carries more weight and pressure.
There are many ways to cause spondylolisthesis. Any activity that involves tremendous bending and strain on the lower back can make one vulnerable to spondylolisthesis. Gymnasts, football players and weight lifters have a higher risk due to the extreme pressure and weight on their lower spine.
Because there are many ways to get spondylolisthesis, physicians have categorized it into five grades to specify the cause of it. These causes include birth defect, fractures, spondylolysis (a defect in certain parts of the vertebrae), aging or overuse, tumors or surgery.
The condition can easily go unnoticed because it is often symptom free. It is sometimes detected through an x-ray for an unrelated condition. Some patients do experience symptoms including low back pain and tenderness, buttock pain, thigh and leg pain, difficulty in controlling bowel and bladder functions, tight hamstring muscles, walking resembles waddling movements, swayback and protruding abdomen.
Treatment for spondylolisthesis includes bracing, chiropractic care, alternative methods, medication, exercise, physical therapy or surgery.