Back Pain

What is Cervical Spondylolisthesis?- Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatments, Surgeries

Cervical spondylolisthesis is the rare condition where one of the bones slips forward over the below bone in the cervical spine. This condition is observed in the lower back of spinal cord, but occasionally observed in the neck area. This affects males earlier than females.


If one of the bone slips forward over the below bone it causes trauma, rheumatoid arthritis, defects in the spine or degeneration. Other causes include

  • Carrying excess loads
  • Smoking
  • Dancing
  • Trauma
  • Gymnastics
  • Heredity


The following are some major symptoms of cervical spondylolisthesis:

  • Neck pain
  • Stiffness
  • Pain running from neck to shoulders and arms
  • Muscular pain in shoulders

Cervical spondylolisthesis is associated with spinal defect called spina bifida occulta. This condition is observed when the two parts of the bone fail to connect and leave as an opening in the bone.


Physician may suggest some physical tests for spine. They include:

  • Computed Tomography (CT Scans) Scans:

    This test identifies the specific condition, like spinal stenosis or disc herniation.

  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI Scans):

    This gives details about the discs and nerve roots. These are commonly used for pre-surgical scanning.

  • X-Rays:

    This test gives the details of the bone structure of the spinal cord and also for checking the fractures and tumors.


The following treatments can be used for treating the cervical spondylolisthesis.

  • Anti inflammatory drugs
  • Spinal block injections
  • Corticosteroid injections
  • Muscle relaxants
  • Hot and cold packs can be applied on the affected area for relieving the pain
  • Braces for spine
  • Aerobic exercises
  • Exercises for strengthening abdominal and back muscles
  • Physical Therapy


If physiotherapy and medications fail to give relief from the pain, then the surgery is the best solution or option.

  • Lumbar decompression:

    This is used to prevent the movement at the painful area. This is done by nerve compression.

  • Spinal Instrumentation:

    This uses metallic devices such as plates and screws to stabilize the spinal cord.

  • Lumbar Spinal Fusion:

    This is performed for preventing the pain. This is done by fusing the spine bones.

1 response to What is Cervical Spondylolisthesis?- Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatments, Surgeries

  1. Its been quite some time I am experiencing the above said symptoms. Contacted near by clinic and my physician told me that I am suffering from Spondylolisthesis. After reading this I got completely understand what exactly is this.

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