What Causes Spondylolisthesis?

What Causes Spondylolisthesis?

Your lower back consists of five vertebral bones precisely stacked one on top of the other. These bones make up the base of your spine (also called your lumbar spine), and their job is to stabilize and support your entire upper body.

Because the lumbar spine holds much of the weight of the entire body, it’s prone to injury, damage, and pain. In fact, 4 in 5 people are disabled with low back pain at least one day in their lives, in fact, it’s the leading cause of disability in our country.

One of the more common causes of severe, chronic lower back pain is a condition called spondylolisthesis. As we said, it’s when one of your vertebrae slides forward from the vertebra below, sometimes pinching a nerve that shoots into your buttocks or leg.  

The good news is that if it’s treated properly by experts such as Peter Le, DC, Rick Morris, DC, and the team at Spinal Stenosis and Disc Center, Inc. the likelihood of returning to your life pain free and without surgery is very high. In fact, nearly one in four of their patients come to them for this condition.

Possible causes of spondylolisthesis

The causes vary based on your age and other factors. Some of the most common causes of spondylolisthesis are:


Your spine naturally deteriorates over your lifetime while the vertebral discs that cushion your spine become weak and less stable. Together with arthritis of the spinal facets, spondylolisthesis is more likely. Most experts believe that about half the cases of Spondylolisthesis occur just this way.


Participating in strenuous, repetitive activity at work or as a hobby that causes many repetitions of bending forward and backward, may predispose to this condition as well or make it worse if you have it.  

Falls As A Child or Young Teenager

Athletes of any age are at an increased risk of spondylolisthesis, but it’s particularly common in children and teens who participate in sports like football, gymnastics, and weightlifting. As our bones are still developing and often not fully calcified, a significant fall on one’s buttocks may hinder a growth center in the spine leading to a Spondylolisthesis.  Half of the cases are believed to occur in this fashion.

Treatment options for spondylolisthesis

If you have lower back pain, it’s time to make an appointment with a specialist. Our experienced physicians specialize in nonsurgical spine care, and we’re here to diagnose the cause of your pain and recommend a treatment plan that fits your needs.

We do a comprehensive physical exam and review your medical history and your symptoms to inform our diagnosis. If necessary, we order medical imaging to get a better look at your spine.

If you’re diagnosed with spondylolisthesis, our team offers a range of treatment options specifically to address this condition. The most effective treatments for spondylolisthesis include specific exercises, joint alignment and correction methods and nonsurgical spinal decompression with DRX9000®.

Lower back pain shouldn’t limit your life especially due to a Spondylolisthesis. Schedule a consultation at Spinal Stenosis and Disc Center, Inc. to find out if you have spondylolisthesis and what your treatment options are. Call our Santa Monica, California, office at 310-451-5851 or request an appointment online now.

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