What is Spondylolisthesis?
The word spondylolisthesis is of Greek origin and breaks down as spondylos, which means “spine or vertebra, “ and listhesis, which translates to “to slip or slide.” It makes sense, then, that the spinal condition known as spondylolisthesis is a result of one of the vertebrae in your spinal column slipping out of place, or alignment, onto the vertebrae below it. The bones in your spine come together at joints, which are responsible for supporting the spine while allowing it to bend and move. When there is a problem with one of these joints, it will allow one of the bones to move out of alignment. Common problems with the joints that allow the bones to slip over each other include a congenital joint defect, joint damaged by trauma, stress fractures caused by overuse of the joint, or damage caused by an infection or arthritis. Athletes and those who work in labor-intensive fields are at a higher risk for developing spondylolisthesis.
If the vertebrae only shift slightly, you may not have any symptoms at all, or it may be years before you start to develop symptoms. If the vertebrae slips too far, it may compress a spinal nerve and cause low back pain and numbness or weakness in one or both legs. You may feel pain in your back or buttock and muscles in your legs may feel tight or weak. In rare cases, it may even lead to loss of bladder or bowel control. If this severe condition happens you should seek medical attention immediately. If you think that you may be suffering from spondylolisthesis, seek out the care of a spine specialist.