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What is Spondylolisthesis?

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The word Spondylolisthesis originated from the Greek words spondylos meaning spine or vertebra and listhesis meaning slipping or movement. This slipping of the vertebra causes spinal instability. The vertebra moves out of its place more than it does normally. It causes low back pain that can be severe or moderate depending on the condition.

An overview of Spondylolisthesis is explained in this article by India’s best spine surgeon Dr. Kalyan Bommakanti.

Spondylolisthesis can be a very painful condition depending on the cause and the severity. A vertebra slips out of its place more than usual affecting mainly the one vertebra that is beneath it. Spondylolisthesis can be graded by Meyerding Classification which tells the degree of slippage of the vertebra. It can be caused by spondylosis or any degenerative condition. Adults and especially female and obese are found more prone to this. The facet joints grow posteriorly causing instability of the vertebra. This instability leads to the slipping of the vertebra over the underneath one. It occurs mostly in the lumbar spine.

When the vertebra slips over the other vertebra, it puts pressure on it hence it also causes narrowing of the spinal canal. The pressure exerted on the spinal canal causes impingement of the nerves passing through it. This compression or pinching may lead to low back pain or leg pain. It can cause several symptoms such as low back pain, muscle stiffness, pain radiating to the legs, buttock pain, and hamstrings tightness which can lead to difficulty in walking. The symptoms may aggravate upon activity.

As this condition is quite painful, it can be treated in therapeutic or surgical ways. Precautions and exercise can also help in acute cases. If it is not diagnosed and treated on time, it may cause some serious complications such as sensational loss or loss of bladder or bowel movement.

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