Florida Spine Institute


Spondylolisthesis is a condition that occurs when one vertebra slides forward over the one below it. This most commonly occurs in the lumbosacral area of the lower spine, and can cause pressure on nerve roots. Symptoms of spondylolisthesis typically include weakness in your legs, pain in your buttock, a limp, and lower back pain, although symptoms may not emerge for years after the vertebrae have slipped out of place.
Your vertebrae are all connected by small joints that keep them in line but still allow for a wide range of motion. When there is a problem with one or more of the joints, vertebrae can easily slip out of place. These problems can be congenital, caused by overuse, trauma, or damaged by arthritis. Spondylolisthesis can affect people of all ages, from children and teens involved in strenuous sports such as weightlifting or gymnastics, or adults who have damaged joints due to overuse.

    • Treatment Options for Spondylolisthesis

      When diagnosed with spondylolisthesis, adults can try a variety of non-surgical treatments to see what is most effective in managing their pain. Some common options include:

      • Hot/cold compress: This will help to reduce pain in a specific area; ice is used to numb the area, while heat helps to promote blood flow and relax muscles.
      • Medications: You can use over the counter medications for pain and oral steroids to help with inflammation.
      • Physical therapy: All exercise programs will concentrate on stretching the muscles in your legs and back, focusing on your hamstrings to relieve the pressure on your back.
      • Epidural steroid injections: Injections are recommended if your pain is considered more severe. The injections can be both a pain medication and steroids to help reduce inflammation, depending on what is most successful.

      If the nonsurgical methods have been unsuccessful for a few months, your doctor may recommend a spinal fusion to fuse the vertebrae to each other, securing them into place. Spinal fusion surgery is a very effective treatment for spondylolisthesis but requires a lengthy recovery, which is why doctors pursue non-surgical treatments first.

If you are suffering from back pain that runs from your lower back down to your leg that seems to get worse with bending or twisting, contact one of the compassionate physicians at the Florida Spinal Institute to see if you have developed spondylolisthesis and to learn about your treatment options.