From time to time, patients ask me about a specific topic and have asked me to elaborate of the topic. Most of the time is about a friend or loved on and not themselves. For this reason I decided to start a topic of the week. You can either comment in this blog, comment on our Facebook page, or ask us in the office about a topic you would like us to talk about.

This week’s topic is Spondylolisthesis. This is a forward displacement of the vertebrae. It can occur anywhere in the spine, but it is most commonly found in the lower back AKA the lumbar spine. They are most commonly caused by a repetitive type stress fracture in a child or an acute trauma to the spine. Below is a side view of a lumbar vertebra. The location of the arrow is called the pars interarticularis. This is where we typically find the defect.

How severe a Spondylolisthesis is depends on the grade. The Grading system is from I-IV, with IV being the worst. This are typically diagnosed and graded via X-ray.

Treatment of these depends on the grade and stability. The more stable and the lower the grade, the better it will respond to conservative treatment, like chiropractic, physiotherapy and exercise. The goal of conservative treatment is to relieve pain, decrease inflammation and build the muscle to support the lumbar spine.

If the pain gets worse or the vertebra continues to slip, the surgery may be indicated.

I hope this gives you a brief description of what a Spondylolisthesis is, how it is diagnosed and possible treatments. If you have any other questions, please contact me at the office at 303-678-8555, or through our website at

We would love to hear your ideas for some more topics too!