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19th September, 2022: Dr. Duy Duong




Lower back pain may be due to various different causes both pathological and biomechanical. Imbalances in the lumbar spine and hips as well as its surrounding musculature are common causes we see at Spinal Health and Co. Chiropractic.


Spondylolisthesis is another cause to lower back pain and is found to be three times more common in females compared to males. Affect 3-11.5% of the general population, Spondylolisthesis is the term used to describe the forward slippage of a vertebrae in comparison to the segment directly below.


Spondylolisthesis is more common to involve the 5th vertebrae of your lumbar spine (L5). As illustrated in the images, the human vertebrae is made of of a body, pedicles, laminas, transverse process and pars interaticularis.


The pars interarticularis are the structures which allow the top and bottom vertebrae to connect to each other, forming the spine. A defect in these structures, whether it may be pathological of biomechanical, will weaken to the joints, causing the vertebrae to slip/ slide forward.


The slipping forward of the vertebrae may bring on early symptoms such as:

  • Muscle spasms in the hamstring (muscles in the back of the thighs).

  • Back stiffness.

  • Difficulty walking or standing for long periods.

  • Pain when bending over.

  • Numbness, weakness or tingling in the foot.


The most common complication of Spondylolisthesis if left unattended is nerve root compression and disc degeneration.




There are six types of causes to Spondylolisthesis:

  1. Dysplastic: Due to absence of certain structures at birth (neural arch or upper sacrum).

  2. Traumatic: Slippage is caused due to a fracture at another structure other than the pars interarticularis. 

  3. Pathological: Bone disease can also cause sponylolisthesis

  4. Iatrogenic: It is common for post surgery complications to cause spondylolisthesis 

  5. Isthmic: After a stress fracture, often the pars interarticularis itself.

  6. Degenerative: Wearing and tearing of the spine


How can Chiropractic care help?

There are multiple causes to spondylolisthesis. It is important to determine what the cause of this slippage is. Depending on the finding, different treatment approaches ranging from simple exercises to surgical treatment may be advised. 

It is common for patients with lower back pain due to spondylolisthesis to be advised pain relief medication, cease of aggravating activities and/ or surgery. Cases studies have also found that a range of Chiropractic modalities may help relieve pain, increase range of motion and offer beneficial impacts on Spondylolisthesis.  

The diagnosis of your Spondylolisthesis will involve the doctor doing a physical examination, palpation, orthopaedic tests, muscle tests, range of motion assessment, functional tests, neuromuscular exam, and diagnostic imaging such as an ultrasound.


Your chiropractor will assist in:

  • Carefully and accurately diagnose your condition

  • Perform soft or deep tissue massage to alleviate muscular tension and pain

  • Implement spinal manipulative techniques to enforce joint movement and ease disc-related symptoms

  • Prescribe stretches and rehabilitative exercises

  • Recommend advice and lifestyle changes

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