What is Spondylolisthesis?

Spondylolisthesis is a term used to describe a vertebra shifting forwards or backwards relative to an adjacent vertebra. This is most common in the lower back, but can happen anywhere in the spine. It can be related to age-related degenerative changes, trauma, spine fractures, and some people are just born with it (congenital).

How does Spondylolisthesis affect the body?

This shifting of the bones of the spine can result in compression of nerves in both the central spinal canal, as well as the neuroforamen where the large nerves leave the spine. If these nerves are compressed, it can cause pain, numbness, tingling, and weakness in the back and extremities.


  • Age-related degenerative changes
  • Spine fractures
  • Trauma
  • Congenital (born with spine abnormalities)


  • Pain in the back and/or extremities
  • Numbness, tingling, cramping, coolness in extremities
  • Extremity weakness


  • Imaging of the spine would be performed first; usually X-Rays and/or MRI
  • Injections can be done to minimize symptoms
  • Sometimes surgical fixation may be required to stabilize the spine
  • Indirect Spinal Decompression

Treatment for Spondylolisthesis in the Greater Austin Area

Spondylolisthesis treatment includes treating the symptoms, and sometimes, the actual alignment of the spine needs to be stabilized surgically. Common treatments include medications such as Tylenol, NSAIDs, muscle relaxers, gabapentin, and sometimes opioids. Injections can be performed near the nerves or joints to help with symptoms of leg or low back pain. If the spondylolisthesis is significant, you may be sent for evaluation with a spine surgeon to see if surgical intervention is warranted.

Woman at elevators in front of San Antonio Eye Specialists sign.

Am I at Risk of Developing Spondylolisthesis?

Spondylolisthesis can occur in anyone for varying reasons. Common causes include degenerative changes due to age, trauma from falls or car accidents, or for no clear reason at all.


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Frequently Asked Questions

Is spondylolisthesis preventable?

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No. Patients can develop this condition for a variety of reasons, some of which cannot be prevented. However, there are multiple treatment options.

What are the most common symptoms of spondylolisthesis?

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Most commonly reported symptoms include low back and leg pain, tingling of the legs, and occasionally weakness of the legs. Patients may also experience pain in the arms or weakness of the upper extremities if they have spondylolisthesis of the neck.

Can it be treated?

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Yes - common treatments include medications, physical therapy, and interventional procedures. Occasionally, patients will require surgery if there is significant instability of the spine.

Lunch & Learn With Our Doctors

Curious about spine pain treatments in Austin, TX? Join our doctors for an in-person lunch and learn session to find out more about these treatments and ask any questions you may have. This event will be 12–1pm, sign up below to receive more details and RSVP.

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Treat Your Spondylolisthesis at Greater Austin Pain Center

Are you experiencing pain caused by Spondylolisthesis? Want professional treatment? Choose Greater Austin Pain Center to see the best doctors for Spondylolisthesis in Austin, Kyle, Dripping Springs, and San Marcos!

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