» What causes spondylolisthesis?

What causes spondylolisthesis?

Physical Therapy in San Jose, Los Gatos, Foster City and Burlingame for Lower Back

Q: My father was diagnosed with spondylolisthesis which is causing pain in his lower back. What causes this condition?

A:  Lumbar spondylolisthesis is a condition where one vertebrae (spinal bone) in the lower back (the lumbar area) slips over the one beneath it. It could be caused by degeneration, such as with arthritis, or by a trauma to the back. In children, this is the most common cause, while in older patients, it is most likely caused by degeneration of the spine.

When the vertebrae slips, it can cause chronic back pain and/or damage to the nerve roots because of the compression. This could result in numbness, loss of feeling, difficulty walking and weakness.

Reference: Patrick J. Denard, MD, et al. Lumbar Spondylolisthesis Among Elderly Men. In Spine. May 1, 2010. Vol. 35, No. 10. Pp. 1072-1078.

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