The Last of us
The Last of us
The Last of us




Spondylolisthesis (spon + dee + lo + lis + thee + sis) is a condition of the spine whereby one of the vertebra slips forward or backward compared to the next vertebra. Forward slippage of an upper vertebra on a lower vertebra is referred to as anterolisthesis, while backward slippage is referred to as retrolisthesis. In children, spondylolisthesis can occur as the result of a birth defect, such as having thin bones in that area of the spine, or can be due to a sudden injury.

In adults, it is most commonly caused by age-related wear of the spine or a degenerative disease, such as arthritis. Bone disease and fractures can also cause spondylolisthesis. Certain sport activities, such as gymnastics, weight lifting, and football, put a great deal of stress on the bones in the lower back. They also require that the athlete constantly overstretch (hyperextend) the spine. This can lead to a stress fracture on one or both sides of the vertebra. A stress fracture can cause a spinal bone to become weak and shift out of place. Other possible causes in adults are:

  • a bone disease – such as Paget's disease of the bone
  • a fracture as a result of a sudden injury
  • a fracture as a result of sustained pressure on the spine – commonly seen in gymnasts and weight lifters

Spondylolisthesis can lead to a deformity of the spine as well as a narrowing of the spinal canal (central spinal stenosis) or compression of the exiting nerve roots (foraminal stenosis). Spondylolisthesis is most common in the low back (lumbar spine) but can also occur in the mid to upper back (thoracic spine) and neck (cervical spine). Many people with spondylolisthesis may not realise they have the condition, because it doesn't always cause symptoms.


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