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Spondylolisthesis occurs when one vertebra slips forward in relation to an adjacent vertebra, usually in the lumbar spine. Spondylolisthesis can be congenital (present at birth) or develop during childhood or later in life. The disorder may result from the physical stresses to the spine from carrying heavy things, weightlifting, football, gymnastics, trauma, and general wear and tear. As the vertebral components degenerate the spine’s integrity is compromised.

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Another type of spondylolisthesis is degenerative spondylolisthesis, occurring usually after age 50. This may create a narrowing of the spinal canal (spinal stenosis). This condition is frequently treated by surgery.

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Common Symptoms

  • Pain in the lower back, thighs, and/or legs

  • muscle spasms

  • weakness and/or muscle tightness in the hamstrings

Severe Symptoms

  • Appear swayback with a protruding abdomen

  • shortened torso

  • waddling gait

Some people are symptom free and find the disorder exists when revealed on an x-ray.

To learn more about this condition, download the printable PDF