Spondylolisthesis happens when a vertebra goes out of alignment with the spinal column, usually because of degenerative diseases, injuries, unstable joints or spinal abnormalities.

This condition is very common for people who always arch and bend their backs and mostly happens in the lower back known as the lumbar spine.


There have been a lot of cases where patients do not know they have spondylolisthesis until after a few years, because during the early stages, this condition may sometimes have very minimal or have no symptoms at all. But similar to most spinal conditions, common spondylolisthesis symptoms include:

  • Back pain
  • Pain that goes along the legs
  • Difficulty in body movements
  • Pain when bending over or twisting
  • Muscle spasms
  • Leg weakness
  • Limping

After conducting detailed medical history and physical exam (muscle strength, flexibility), Burak Ozgur, MD will look at X-rays taken from the back to show if there are any damage to the vertebrae. In many cases, looking at X-rays should be enough to determine whether a patient has spondylolisthesis or not, but other imaging tests may be requested in order to accurately find the location of the damage:

  • X-ray – used to detect herniated discs, osteoarthritis and other causes of trauma.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) – used to show detailed images of nerve damage or tumors that cannot be seen on an x-ray.
  • Computerized Tomography (CT) scan – used to create the spine’s three-dimensional (3D) image

Patients with this spondylolisthesis are usually advised to stop heavy physical activities that could cause more damage to the vertebrae. Patients are asked to take anti-inflammatory medication and other prescribed medication in order relieve the pain. Doctors also often suggest physical therapy, bracing or weight loss exercises for overweight patients.
In severe spondylolisthesis conditions, patients undergo surgery to install instruments that would put the vertebra back in place. Patients could also get surgery in order to remove parts (bones, tissues) that are causing pressure on the spinal cord.

The best way to treat spondylolisthesis is by simply preventing it from happening. This can be prevented by keeping a good posture and by having a healthy lifestyle (good diet, regular exercises).

Burak Ozgur, MD treats spondylolisthesis with minimally invasive, outpatient surgical procedures that are designed to help you find relief from pain. Learn more about our minimally invasive procedures or request an appointment for consultation by calling (949) 383-4190 or toll free 888-64-SPINE or Contact Us ➲.