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Spondylolisthesis is a condition in which one bone of the spinal
column (vertebra) slips forward over another. This is caused by a deformity or
weakening in part of a vertebra.
This condition results in a misalignment of the vertebrae. In some
instances, this may lead to spinal cord or nerve root compression, back pain,
and numbness or weakness in the legs.
Certain types of athletes (particularly weight lifters, football
players, gymnasts, and javelin throwers) are at increased risk for developing
this defect, as are Inuit (Eskimos).
A doctor diagnoses spondylolisthesis from a person's symptoms and
the results of imaging tests, such as X-rays or an MRI.
Treatment usually includes a combination of bracing, exercises and
stretching, and pain medicine. Sometimes surgery is also needed.
Current as of:
May 22, 2015
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & Robert B. Keller, MD - Orthopedics
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