Spondylolisthesis is a health condition that affects the backbone or vertebral column. It can occur in both adults and children. It develops mostly in older people due to the fractures arising from stressing the back. It can also result when the joints and discs are worn out and cannot keep the vertebrae in place. Teens and children who participate in weightlifting and gymnastics are susceptible to spondylolisthesis. These sports can cause stress fractures in their backbone resulting in the condition.
A vertebra especially in the lumbosacral (lower spine) region, may slide forward from its position in the vertebral column. This situation results in squeezing of the nerve roots or spinal cord. Consequently, an individual can suffer from back pain and weakness or numbness in the legs. A rare symptom of this condition is the loss of control over bowel or bladder. This sign is an indication that you need to visit a physician.
Causes of Spondylolisthesis
This health condition results when any bone of the vertebral column slips out of its place. The thirty-three bones of the human backbone attach to each other to form the spinal or vertebral column. However, any of these bones can shift from its position if a joint is compromised.
The following problems can affect the joints between the vertebrae causing spondylolisthesis.
- Trauma or an accident can result in a damaged joint.
- Constant pressure on a joint can cause a vertebra to experience a stress fracture.
- Arthritis or an infection can damage a vertebral joint.
- A joint with a congenital defect may result in spondylolisthesis.
Symptoms of Spondylolisthesis
It is a defect in the spinal column, which can cause a vertebra to shift forward from its position. This condition of the vertebral column may not show any sign at the initial stage. However, a victim may start experiencing pains in the buttock or the lower back after some years. The muscles of the legs may become weak causing the individual to limp.
The symptoms of this health condition include:
- Pains occur in the lower back or buttock.
- Back, buttock or leg pain that worsens when you twist or bend.
- Pain that starts from the lower back and moves down either one or both legs.
- Limping or difficulty while walking.
- Weakness or lack of sensation in one or both hind limbs or legs.
- In rare cases, a patient may lose control over the bladder or bowel.
X-rays of the backs of persons with suspected cases of spondylolisthesis are helpful in identifying the condition. This analysis can indicate any bone that has shifted away from its position or had cracks. An MRI or a CT scan detects the extent of damage to the bone and the vertebral column.
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