Spondylolisthesis should not be confused with spondylolysis, which refers to osteoarthritis in the vertebrae.
Types of Spondylolisthesis
There are various types of Spondylolisthesis: congenital, isthmic, degenerative, traumatic, pathological and post-surgical.
- Congenital Spondylolisthesis occurs due to birth defects or when the body vertebra doesn’t form properly before birth. The misaligned vertebra increases the risk of slippage later in life.
- Isthmic Spondylolisthesis happens because of spondylolysis (cracks that weaken the bone structure).
- Degenerative Spondylolisthesis is the most common type mainly attributed to aging. The spinal disc loses water and becomes thin over time, making them more likely to slip out of place.
- Traumatic Spondylolisthesis is less common and occurs due to injury such as falling.
- Pathological Spondylolisthesis is rare and is caused by diseases like osteoporosis and tumors.
- Lastly, post-surgical Spondylolisthesis is a result of spinal surgery.
Causes of Spondylolisthesis
Spondylolisthesis can result from several causes, including congenital disabilities, rapid growth during adolescence, lifestyle, aging and hereditary. The condition affects people of all ages. Children may suffer Spondylolisthesis due to birth defects or injuries from a fall. Isthmic Spondylolisthesis is the prevalent cause of back pain in teens, while degenerative Spondylolisthesis is common among older adults above 50 years. This condition can also be hereditary. Participating in aggressive sports such as football, gymnastics, weightlifting and track/field sports can also contribute to this condition.
Severe cases are characterized by persistent lower back pain and can cause radiating low back pain, stiffness in the back and legs, thigh pain, lower back tenderness and tight buttock and hamstring muscles.
The causes of Spondylolisthesis vary depending on the type. Congenital disabilities, rapid adolescence growth, aging, and sports are the leading causes. Spondylolisthesis can also occur from a traumatic blow to the spine. Degenerative diseases compromise the spine’s integrity, causing the vertebrae to slip down. A pain management doctor or chiropractor will diagnose the cause to determine the ideal treatment option.
Spondylolisthesis Risk Factors
Some people have a higher likelihood of suffering Spondylolisthesis than others. Young athletes who engage in gymnastics, football and other sports that stretch the lumbar spine can easily develop Spondylolisthesis. Genetics also plays a significant role. Some children are born with a thinner pars interarticularis (the bone connecting facet joints), making them vulnerable to slippage. Old age and degenerative diseases also wear down the cushioning and weaken the vertebrae.
Pain Management for Spondylolisthesis
If you’re experiencing persistent lower back pain and other symptoms of Spondylolisthesis, you should visit a reputable pain management clinic like St. Louis Pain Consultants. We are a leading and trusted facility that specializes in treating the cause of chronic pain. Our team includes experienced and compassionate pain physicians ready to make you whole again.