Spondylolisthesis is the anterior or posterior displacement of a vertebra or the vertebral column in relation to the vertebrae below. These “slips” (aka “step-offs”) occur most commonly in the lumbar spine. This disease is the main cause of lower back pain in adolescents and young athletes.
This disease is essentially benign, but it tends to advance over the years and be a cause of instability to the lumbar spine. The first step is clinical diagnosis, although several tests may need to be carried out in order to confirm this diagnosis, an X-ray of the lumbosacral region is typically the most supportive of these tests.
In the most advanced cases, listhesis can cause stenosis, resulting in nerve compression and symptoms radiating from this area. Conservative therapy is preferred and consists of strengthening exercises that reduce the sliding movements of the vertebral body, increasing the retroversion of the pelvis and decreasing the lumbar lordosis.