Slipped Vertebra: A trip to the operating room?

Degenerative Spondylolisthesis (DS) is a condition described as a vertebra slipping forward out over the vertebra below it. DS is caused by the weakening of the joints due to degenerative changes such as unstable ligaments. The most common sites are in the lower back at the L4-L5 and L5-S1 levels.

DS typically affects individuals over 50, women more than men. Back pain is the most common symptom, and causes vary. Pain tends to increase with lifting, prolonged standing, and walking up stairs and inclines.

Surgery is rare. More common treatments include activity modification, bracing, physical therapy, and medication. Surgery is recommended if non-invasive treatments fail or if nerve damage is an issue.