Spondylolisthesis is a condition in which one bone in your back slides forward over the bone below it. It most often occurs in the lower spine. In some cases, this may lead to your spinal cord or nerve roots being squeezed, causing back pain and numbness or weakness in one or both legs. In rare cases, it can lead to a loss of bladder or bowel control.


Some people have no symptoms. Other may experience:

  • Back or buttock pain
  • Pain, numbness or weakness that runs from the lower back down one or both legs and gets worse when you bend over or twist
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control (rare)


The first thing your doctor will do is to have you stop any activity that is causing damage. For pain, he or she may have you take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. You may also have physical therapy to strengthen your stomach and back muscles and you may be asked to lose weight if appropriate.

When pain is extreme or bones continue to move, surgery may be an option. The surgeon may fuse the bones or remove bone or other tissue to take pressure off your spinal cord or nerves. Sometimes both decompression and fusion are performed. After surgery, you may have to wear a cast or brace and later complete rehabilitation therapy.