What is Spondylolisthesis?
Spondylolisthesis is a condition of the spine in which a vertebra slips out of alignment, moving forward on the vertebra below. The condition is usually caused by degenerative disease, such as arthritis. Other causes include bone diseases, trauma, and stress fractures, which may occur during sports that put a lot of pressure and stress on the back or overstretch the spine. Gymnasts, weight-lifters, and football players are at increased risk. Spondylolisthesis can also result from a congenital disorder of the spine.
At UPMC, we begin with conservative treatments such as medications to alleviate pain and physical therapy to stabilize the spine. Most patients experience relief from pain within a month or two with conservative treatment. However, if the vertebra continues to slip or if pain continues after conservative treatment, our neurosurgical team may recommend surgery such as decompression laminectomy or spinal fusion.