Acquired Spondylolisthesis is a type of spondylolisthesis that is caused by stresses that you put your body through over a period of time.

Activities such as weight-lifting or just heavy lifting in general put a lot of extra stress on your low back.

Movement required in gymnastics and certain types of dancing where your back is bent far backward in “extension” also cause dangerous stress on the lower back.

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What is Spondylolisthesis?

Spondylolisthesis is a forward slippage of one of the bones in your spine on the one below it. It is most commonly seen in the lower part of your spine. Your low back is under the most stress from carrying all of the weight of your upper body.

What Causes Acquired Spondylolisthesis?

Spondylolisthesis doesn't seem to be congenital (present at birth), but develops during childhood or later in life. The disorder may result from physical stresses to the spine from carrying heavy things, weightlifting, football, gymnastics, diving, pole-vaulting, trauma, and general wear and tear.

Some people are born with back bones that are thinner in certain places than most other people. Some actually have a defect in the back bones that leaves them much more susceptible to a forward slippage of one back bone on another. This is especially true when that person puts extra stress on that weak area of his/her spine with activities like weight-lifting, gymnastics, football, and other physical contact sports.

Other Types of Spondylolisthesis

In addition to Acquired Spondylolisthesis, other types of spondylolisthesis are caused by trauma, degenerative arthritis, tumors, and birth defects.

A type of spondylolisthesis that doesn’t usually occur until after the age of 50 is degenerative spondylolisthesis.This may create a narrowing of the spinal canal (spinal stenosis). This condition is often treated with surgery.

In children, spondylolisthesis usually occurs between the fifth bone in the lower back (lumbar vertebra) and the first bone in the sacrum area. It is often due to a birth defect in that area of the spine. There may be gradual slipping, but the onset of pain can be sudden and severe.

In adults, the most common cause is degenerative disease (such as arthritis). The slip usually occurs between the fourth and fifth lumbar vertebrae.

Other causes of spondylolisthesis include stress fractures (commonly seen in gymnasts) and traumatic fractures. Spondylolisthesis may occasionally be associated with bone diseases.

Grades of Spondylolisthesis

Spondylolisthesis can be described according to its degree of severity. One commonly used description grades spondylolisthesis with grade 1 being least advanced, and grade 5 being most advanced.

The spondylolisthesis is graded by measuring how much of your vertebral body has slipped forward over the body beneath it.

• Grade 1 is 0–25% forward slippage

• Grade 2 is 25–50%

• Grade 3 is 50–75%

• Grade 4 is 75–100%

• Grade 5 is when the vertebral body slips completely off the one below it (spondyloptosis)

Prognosis of Acquired Spondylolisthesis

The outlook for patients with lumbar acquired spondylolisthesis is good. Most people with spondylolisthesis respond well to conservative treatment, without the need for surgery.

A patient who fails to improve with conservative treatment may be a candidate for surgery.

Surgery is sometimes needed to take pressure off the nerves in the lower back, which should relieve back and leg pain. Surgery is also sometimes done to stabilize that part of the spine to prevent further nerve compression.

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Prevention of Spondylolisthesis

People with excessive forward curvature of the lower back ( lordosis) should avoid back hyperextension (bending backwards), weight lifting, and contact sports.

Maintaining a healthy body weight will prevent excessive stress on your lower back.

Many studies find that smoking worsens the symptoms of spondylolisthis, so smoking should be avoided.

Maintaining proper posture while sitting (NO SLOUCHING!) helps prevent unhealthy pressure from building up in your low back.

Lower back pain, although common in preadolescent and adolescent children, should be evaluated by a chiropractor or medical doctor, especially if there is excessive forward curvature of the lower back.

Complications of Spondylolisthesis

• Chronic back pain

• Nerve compression

• Temporary or permanent damage of spinal nerve roots, which may cause sensation changes, weakness, or paralysis of the legs

When to contact a doctor

Call your health care provider if:

• Your back appears to curve excessively

• You have severe or unresolved back pain or stiffness

• You have pain in your thighs and buttocks

To Your Best Health,

Dr. Cliff

Click here for a list of all the pain relief products that I use, or that I recommend to patients,family and friends.

Get My Single Best Idea For Getting Back Pain Relief Without Drugs Or Surgery by watching this Youtube video.

How to Straighten Your Back Video.

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