Spondylolisthesis is the forward or backward displacement (slippage) of one of the vertebral bodies of the spine in relation to the alignment of the vertebrae above and below.

It most commonly occurs after a heavy impact to the spine from a fall or direct trauma resulting in a break or fracture.

The displacement of the vertebral body results in a deformity to the spine affecting overall posture. The mal-alignment causes narrowing of the vertebral canal (where the spinal cord passes) resulting in severe pain, numbness and tingling in areas below the displacement.

Risk factors:

Repetitive strain or overloading of the spine can cause this condition. But however, since the most common cause of spondylolisthesis is in trauma to the spine, greater exposure to accidents and trauma leaves you at greater risk of getting spondylolisthesis.

Clinical signs:

Pain, tingling, numbness especially during long periods of over activity to the spine eg: sitting, walking standing or repetitive trunk movements


Pain, Numbness, Weakness, Tingling

Treatment: (post and pre surgical management)

Ice therapy, heat therapy, isometric strengthening of core and lower back, traction, ultrasound, interferential therapy, Transcutaneous electrical stimulation.


Most cases are treated with surgical management. Post surgical rehabilitation is standard protocol to improve quality of life, reduce pain and increase strength and range of motion. The prognosis is good with rehabilitation taking up to anywhere between 3months to 1 year.

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Christian Theseira

Christian Theseira

Physiotherapist at Physio Savvy
Christian Theseira qualified with a bachelor of physiotherapy from Manipal University India after completing a 3 year diploma locally at MAHSA university. His keen interest in the human body began when he served Celebrity Fitness as a personal trainer. Wanting a better understanding of the human physiology and mechanics, he explored the science of physiotherapy where his interests lead him in to the field of neurological rehab. In addition, he has also written a thesis in the field.
Christian Theseira

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Posted in Musculoskeletal Disorders.