Spondylolisthesis occurs when one of the spinal vertebrae slips out of
the proper position onto the vertebra below it. The word spondylolisthesis
comes from the Greek words
spondylo, meaning spine, and
listhesis, meaning to slip. Spondylolisthesis occurs in both pediatric and adult
patients, for different reasons. The condition varies from patient to
patient, and the severity will determine the treatment plan.
There is misalignment of the vertebra in spondylolisthesis. It can occur
alongside a herniated disc, but is not the same thing, as the slippage
is of the bone not the cushion between the bones.
What Causes Spondylolisthesis?
When spondylolisthesis occurs in kids, it is usually due to a birth defect
or a trauma to the spine. It is the most common cause of back pain in
teens. In adults, the most common cause of spondylolisthesis is normal
wear due to aging and arthritis.
The types of spondylolisthesis are:
Congenital spondylolisthesis: A birth defect that causes the bones of the spine to grow outside of what
is considered normal. The misaligned spine then puts pressure on the disc,
which creates slippage. This type occurs moatly in children and teens,
especially during an adolescent growth spurt.
Isthmic spondylolisthesis: A disorder condition called spondylosis puts pressure on the spine, causing vertebral
slippage. The condition can be caused by certain sports that put large
amounts of stress on the back, such as football, gymnastics, and weight lifting.
Degenerative spondylolisthesis: A condition that occurs when the normal spinal wear of aging and arthritis makes a vertebra
slip out of place. This form of spondylolisthesis usually occurs in people over 40.
Traumatic spondylolisthesis: An acute, traumatic injury such as a car accident or severe fall can cause
Pathological spondylolisthesis: A condition of the spine, such as tumors or infection, that weaken the vertebrae,
which increases pressure and slippage.
Post-surgical spondylolisthesis: An extremely rare condition that occurs when a disc slips due to back surgery
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