Anterolisthesis is a condition that occurs when one vertebra slips forward over the vertebrae below it. This can cause pain, spinal instability and neurological problems like numbness or weakness if the slippage impinges on nerves.
Most cases of anterolisthesis can be treated with nonsurgical methods like pain medication, physical therapy and exercise. Surgery is only considered if conservative measures do not provide relief or in severe cases where nerves are at risk of permanent damage.
A back pain condition called anterolisthesis involves one vertebral segment shifting forward over the vertebral segment below it. Your spine consists of 24 small rectangular-shaped bones, called vertebrae, that connect to form a canal that protects your spinal cord and nerves. Between each pair of vertebrae are flexible discs that work as shock absorbers, allowing movement and flexibility.
Slippage of a vertebra can cause pain or other symptoms in your back, legs, arms and feet. Symptoms vary by the grade of anterolisthesis: a low-grade case with less than 25% slippage is usually painless. A higher-grade anterolisthesis may cause lower back pain and nerve compression.
Nonsurgical treatment options for anterolisthesis include pain medications and physical therapy. Physical therapy helps you strengthen supportive back and abdominal muscles. If pain and other symptoms persist, you might have surgery to reduce or eliminate them. Surgical options may include decompression surgery, which removes pressure on the spine, or spinal fusion, which stabilizes the spine.
If the anterolisthesis is not severe, doctors may treat it with medication (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen), steroid injections into the back and physical therapy. The goal of treatment is to relieve pain, improve strength and flexibility and return to normal activities.
The spine is made up of 24 small rectangular-shaped bones called vertebrae, which are stacked on top of one another. They create a canal that protects the spinal cord, which is like an electric cable running down your body. The nerves that exit the spinal cord in the lower back carry messages from your brain to the rest of your body.
The spine has flexible joints that move to control movement and stability, called facet joints. These joints are between the back of each vertebra, and there is a disk between each vertebra that provides cushioning and shock absorption as you move. If a vertebra slips forward in relation to the vertebra below it, this is called anterolisthesis.
Medications can provide pain relief for some people with anterolisthesis. Over-the-counter drugs like aspirin, ibuprofen and acetaminophen may help reduce inflammation and relieve mild pain. Your doctor may also prescribe stronger pain medications, such as opioids or muscle relaxants, for severe symptoms.
Your spine is made up of 33 bones, called vertebrae, that are stacked on top of each other. These bones have small joints, called facet joints, that work like hinges to control movement. Between each pair of vertebrae is a flat, round disc called an intervertebral disk. The discs absorb shock when you move. Anterolisthesis is a type of spondylolisthesis, a condition in which one spinal vertebra slips forward over the vertebra below it.
People with anterolisthesis often develop low back pain and leg symptoms such as numbness or tingling. Nonsurgical treatment can relieve these symptoms and prevent complications, such as spinal cord compression. Surgery is usually only used when other treatments aren’t effective.
Your spine, or spinal column, consists of 24 vertebrae that hold your body up and allow movement. Each vertebra has discs between them to cushion the load and protect your spinal cord. During the natural aging process, a vertebra can slip forward over the one below it. This misalignment is called anterolisthesis and is a type of spondylolisthesis. Anterolisthesis is most common in the lower back, or lumbar, area of the spine.
Most people with anterolisthesis have no symptoms and do not need treatment. However, some patients with high grade anterolisthesis may develop pain and weakness in their legs because the forward slip of a vertebral body narrows the spinal canal, causing spinal stenosis. These symptoms are exacerbated by walking and standing and improve with sitting and bending. The slipped vertebra can also pinch nerve roots that exit the spinal column in the lateral (side) region of the lumbar spine, causing numbness and weakness in a specific leg.