What is Spondylolisthesis ?

Spondylolisthesis is a condition where one vertebra slips forward in front of the one below (there is also retrolisthesis, where one vertebra slips behind, but it’s much less common). It’s often preceded by spondylolysis.

It’s most common in the lower back at L5 and L4. The injury can be bilateral or unilateral. It can also affect the neck, particularly at the most mobile segments. It’s possible in the mid back but rare.


You may experience some or all the following:

  • Lower back pain on activity
  • Worse for standing and walking 
  • Sciatica symptoms if it’s moved enough to press on nerve, usually buttock and back of thighs 
  • Tenderness 
  • Tight hamstrings 
  • Persistent back pain and stiffness 
  • Persistent pain in thighs and buttocks 
  • Accentuated lordotic curve  
  • Complications: pain numbness tingling weakness in legs


  • In some people it can be congenital.
  • Repetitive trauma (gymnastics, weightlifting, rowing).
  • Age. It’s common in young sporting people.

Types of Spondylolisthesis

There are 6 categories.

  • Congenital present from birth in the formation of part of the vertebra, facet 
  • Isthmic defect in pars interarticularis 
  • Degenerative arthritic, unable to keep alignment due to wear and tear loss of height, unstable 
  • Traumatic trauma or injury, fracture i.e. fall off ladder, extreme backward bend
  • Pathologic structural weakness of bone caused by disease or infection, tumour or cyst
  • Postsurgical 


Diagnosis is based on full medical history, physical examination to test muscles strength and reflexes. Images test, will allow the therapist or professional to determining the cause and severity of Spondylolisthesis.

The most common imagery test are:

  • Confirmed by X-ray
  • TC scans
  • MRIs


Home treatment

  • Rest 
  • Avoid trigger activities, like sports with lifting, bending
  • Use anti- inflammatory pills or injections  

Hands on treatment

 Physiotherapy, Osteopathy, Acupuncture

A combination of manual therapy techniques will be selected by our experts after taking into account your past medical history, spinal mechanics, aggravating and maintaining factors, lifestyle.

All treatments are aimed to stabilise the spine and prevent slippage progression, reduce pain, allow the fracture to heal and return to sport gradually and pain free.


If conservative treatment fails or symptoms are severe, high grade or persistent Surgery can be an option. However, it has a long recovery period of many months and carries serious risks. 

We can help you!

Lymphatic Drainage


Osteopathy Clinic


Perea Clinic


Treatments that can help

Here are some treatments that can help with Spondylolisthesis Pain:

  • Massage (Soft Tissue)
    Help decompress the nerve impingement due to tight muscles
  • Osteopathy
    Helps restore normal movement due to misalignment and decompress nerve impingement
  • Physiotherapy/Sports Therapy
    Helps stabilise weak areas and restore normal movement
  • Acupunture
    Helps to loosen up the tissue decompress the nerve impingement in tight muscles

Book a Consultation with

Here are some therapist that can help with Spondylolisthesis Pain:

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