Spondylolisthesis occurs when a lumbar vertebra slips out of place and slides forward, distorting the shape of your spine. This occurrence may compress the nerves in the spinal canal along with compressing the nerves that exit the foramen (open spaces on the sides of your vertebrae). Pain and other problems can result from these compressed nerves. Arthritis and the loss of disc elasticity that come with aging are the most common causes of spondylolisthesis. Other causes include an overuse injury called “spondylolysis”, which is a stress fracture of the vertebral bone.
Spondylolisthesis also can result from a sudden injury that leads to a broken vertebra, as well as diseases or tumors that weaken the spine. Additionally, some people are born with a birth defect of the spine which can cause spondylolisthesis. Symptoms vary from person to person with some people experiencing no symptoms at all.
You may feel pain in your lower back or have hamstring spasms. Pain may spread down your leg to your foot with foot numbness and tingling. Treatment options depend on the severity of your condition. You may benefit from rest, medications, a back brace and physical therapy. If those methods are not successful, you may benefit from a surgical procedure to reduce nerve compression or to stabilize your spine. Your PCA physician will work with you to create an individualized treatment plan.