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Complete Information Of Spondylolisthesis: Causes, Symptoms, And Treatment

Spondylolisthesis is a spine condition where one vertebra slips forward over another, causing discomfort and mobility problems. Recognizing its symptoms, understanding its causes, and exploring treatment options are crucial. In this blog, we’ll provide comprehensive information on spondylolisthesis to offer clarity and guidance to those affected.

What Is Spondylolisthesis?

Spondylolisthesis occurs when a vertebra slips forward onto the one below, causing lower back pain, stiffness, and mobility issues. It can stem from congenital defects, stress fractures, or spine degeneration. Treatment varies from physical therapy for mild cases to surgery for severe ones. Understanding its causes and symptoms helps in choosing the appropriate spondylolisthesis treatment for better management of this condition.

What Are The Types Of Spondylolisthesis?

It is categorized into different types based on the causes of spondylolisthesis:

Degenerative Spondylolisthesis: This type of spondylolisthesis develops as the spine ages and undergoes wear and tear. Weakening intervertebral discs cause instability, resulting in one vertebra slipping over another.

Isthmic Spondylolisthesis: This type results from a defect or fracture in the pars interarticularis, a small bone part connecting vertebrae. It can be congenital or develop during childhood or adolescence.

Traumatic Spondylolisthesis: This type occurs due to a sudden spine injury or trauma, causing vertebrae to shift out of place, as the name suggests.

Pathological Spondylolisthesis: This type is caused by conditions like tumors or infections, weakening the spine’s supporting structures.

Causes of Spondylolisthesis:

  • Aging can lead to degenerative spine changes causing spondylolisthesis.
  • Congenital abnormalities or defects in the spine.
  • Repeated stress or overuse of the spine, common in athletes.
  • Surgical procedures on the spine weaken its integrity.
  • Rarely, tumors or infections affecting the spine can cause spondylolisthesis.

Symptoms of Spondylolisthesis:

The symptoms of spondylolisthesis vary depending on severity and impact on nearby nerves. Common signs of spondylolisthesis include:

  • Lower back pain, which may radiate to the buttocks and thighs.
  • Stiffness and reduced flexibility in the spine.
  • Muscle weakness or tightness, particularly in the legs.
  • Leg or foot numbness or tingling sensation may occur.
  • Difficulty walking or standing for extended periods.
  • Changes in posture or gait.

It’s crucial to recognize that individuals with cervical or lumbar spondylolisthesis may vary in symptoms, ranging from none to severe pain and mobility issues.

Diagnosis and Treatment:

  • Assess patient history for symptoms like lower back or leg pain.
  • Physical examination to check range of motion and strength.
  • Order imaging tests like: X-rays, CT scans, or MRI to confirm diagnosis and severity.
  • Consider bone scans or electromyography for further evaluation if needed.

Consult with specialists like Dr. Arun Rajeswaran, renowned as the best neurosurgeon in Dubai, for comprehensive assessment and treatment planning. After diagnosis, treatment aims to relieve symptoms, and stabilize the spine. Treatment options may include:

Non-Surgical Treatment for Spondylolisthesis

Conservative Therapy: For mild to moderate cases, conservative treatments like rest, physical therapy, pain medication, and bracing may be recommended. Physical therapy exercises strengthen core muscles and improve flexibility, supporting the spine.

Injections: To reduce inflammation and ease pain, epidural steroid injections or nerve blocks may be administered, especially if conservative treatments fail to provide relief.

Lifestyle Modifications: A healthy lifestyle with balanced diet, no smoking, and regular exercise can manage symptoms and prevent spine deterioration.

Advanced Treatment for Spondylolisthesis

Surgery For Spondylolisthesis: If conservative treatments fail or in severe cases, surgery may be necessary. Procedures aim to stabilize the spine, decompress nerves, and realign vertebrae. Options include spinal fusion or decompression surgery to relieve nerve pressure.

People with spondylolisthesis should consult the best neurospine surgeon in Dubai to create a personalized treatment plan tailored to their needs.


Spondylolisthesis presents a significant challenge for those affected, impacting their daily lives with pain and mobility issues. Understanding its causes, symptoms, and treatment options is vital for effective management. Whether through conservative methods like physical therapy and lifestyle changes or more advanced surgical interventions, seeking appropriate care tailored to individual needs is crucial. By addressing cervical or lumbar spondylolisthesis comprehensively, individuals can regain control over their lives and alleviate the burdens imposed by this condition.

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Dr. Arun Rajeswaran

Consult Dr. Arun with a professional experience of more than 13 years in the field of Neurosurgery

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