Spondylolisthesis is a back condition that occurs in both children and adults. In this article we will discuss the different types of Spondylolisthesis together with its causes and symptoms. We then offer the recommended exercises and treatment options available.


What is Spondylolisthesis?

Spondylolisthesis is a medical term for slipped vertebra. This occurs when one vertebral body slips forward over the bone below it. It often affects the lower vertebral bodies. Spondylolisthesis causes back pain, numbness, and/or weakness in one or both legs.

What Are The Symptoms of Spondylolisthesis?

One of the most common symptoms of Spondylolisthesis is an achy-type sensation, however, there are two additional types of pain associated with this condition.

  1. Sciatic – Sciatic pain involves tingling, numbness and weakness that starts from the lower back and radiates to the buttocks, down to the back of the thigh and calf. 
  2. Claudication – Claudication generally means limping and difficulty in walking.  The numbness and weakness in the legs is related to prolonged activity such as walking and standing. The symptoms are normally felt in the back, buttocks, thighs, or calves.

The Five Types of Spondylolisthesis

1. Isthmic

Usually caused by a fatigue fracture and people who play sports that involve repetitive stress to the lumbar vertebrae are most at risk.

2. Congenital or Dysplastic

This is caused by inadequate bone formation in the spine. Misalignment of the spine puts the vertebrae at risk of slippage. This occurs during a childhood growth spurt in about 14{b67a0f01f7b147b7e978da5adbadca47e09d0d78364efaa0732b6ae8d4f320dc} to 21{b67a0f01f7b147b7e978da5adbadca47e09d0d78364efaa0732b6ae8d4f320dc} cases.

3. Degenerative

This type is most commonly seen in older patients  and is caused by erosion. This results in breakage to the pars interarticularis. Longstanding instability as a result of disc and facet joint degeneration is usually the cause.

4. Traumatic

This is a fracture in the neutral arch as a result of direct injury or trauma.

5. Pathologic

This is the least common form which is brought on by destructive lesion to the pars interarticularis due to severe osteoporosis, carcinoma, or metastasis.

Exercise Recommendations

Doing some knee-to-chest stretch exercises of the tight iliopsoas muscles and hamstrings may help relieve the symptoms temporarily. Core strengthening exercises can also be particularly helpful.  However, it is not recommended to attempt any new exercises or stretches as some of these can cause or exacerbate symptoms.

Chiropractic Treatment

Treatment of Spondylolisthesis depends on the signs and symptoms a patient has. At the Back Doctor Chiropractic Clinic in Chester, we have helped patients with this problem.

If conservative treatment does not relieve the symptoms, the condition has most likely become sever and surgical consultation may be required.

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