When a disc becomes degenerated, the two bones in the spinal column are misaligned, or one is slipped in front of the other. When this misalignment occurs in the lumbar spine, it is referred to as spondylolisthesis. 

Spondylolisthesis can cause significant back and leg pain. Back pain is likely the result of an unstable spine, possibly from arthritis of the facet joints. Patients may experience buttock or leg pain due to abnormally compressed nerves. Many patients with spondylolisthesis have minor back pain or no back pain at all, and do not require any treatment. Others, however, may have severe back and/or leg pain caused by an unstable spinal segment. 

Most patients who experience spondylolisthesis will improve with non-surgical treatment and never need a surgery. The most common non-surgical treatments include:

  • Patient education
  • Rest
  • Weight loss
  • Medication
  • Brace treatment
  • Physical therapy
  • Acupuncture
  • Chiropractic care
  • Massage
  • Injections

Most patients’ symptoms resolve or improve by the end of three months of non-surgical treatment.

Disclaimer: This content is for educational purposes only and does not replace having a conversation with your doctor.