Spondylolisthesis – Low Back Pain

The reasons why so many people suffer from low back pain are extensive, however, one of the more common reasons can be a spinal condition called spondylolisthesis. The condition occurs when the lumbar vertebrae have shifted forwards.
A spondylolisthesis can happen at any of the lumbar vertebral levels, but the place between the fifth (lowest) vertebrae and the sacrum, the triangle-shaped bony base of your spinal column, is usually the most common.

Why is spondylolisthesis so painful?

Having a spondylolisthesis causes your spinal vertebrae to be misaligned and it also causes your spinal ligaments, which run up and down your spine, to stretch out. The stretching of your ligaments can cause low back pain.


What causes a spondylotic spine?

There are so many different causes for spondylolisthesis that medical professionals have developed a classification system to help explain which type you may have.
The classifications range from congenital conditions (born with it), spondylolisthesis caused by multiple spinal vertebral fractures – this can be caused from wear and tear in performing gymnastics, weightlifting, and other sports, to the impact of accidents and injuries.

The five main causes of spondylolisthesis are
• birth defects
• fractures
• degeneration
• tumors
• surgery

What are the symptoms of spondylolisthesis?

A very large percentage of the population live their lives with this condition without even knowing they have it until they obtain an X-ray for a different issue.

The signs someone may have this are:

Lower back pain after physical activity
Swayback (lumbar lordosis)
Weakness and pain in one or both legs
Difficulty with control over bladder and bowel functions
Over-tight hamstrings

In quite severe cases of spondylolisthesis, sufferers may change the way that they walk and stand creating a waddle and a protrusion of the abdominals further forwards. Your trunk can also appear shorter and there can be muscle spasms in the low back region.

What is the best non-surgical treatment for spondylolisthesis?

More often than not this condition is stable and patients will not require surgery.

Physiotherapy is the best non-surgical treatment for a spondylotic back pain. This may consist of low impact exercises such as swimming and core control exercises, dry needling, soft tissue manual therapy and joint mobilisations above the affected area, avoiding activities like strenuous sports, heavy lifting, excessive bending, etc. to avoid muscle going into spasm and appropriate medication to decrease pain and control inflammation.

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