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General Spine News

Back X-rays Can See if Your Slip Is Showing

Spondylolysis is a back condition that occurs most often in children and teenagers. Spondylolysis is a defect in one of the vertebra in the low back. The defect is present within the ring of bone that protects the spinal nerves.

In spondylolysis, the ring has a crack in it. It can get worse or progress. When this happens, the vertebra above may begin to slip forward on the one below. This spine slippage is called spondylolisthesis. This can put a big stress on the structures of the spine.

Until now, it was thought that the increased slipping happened up to age 16 years, but not later. Now, doctors have reported more cases of slipping in adults. This is an important finding. Any adult who has spondylolysis and starts having back, buttock, and leg pain should see a doctor. New X-rays will be taken to look for slippage.

Early diagnosis and treatment of this condition can prevent pain and loss of function. An exercise and posture program from a physical therapist is sometimes enough to hold the spine steady. Surgery to fuse the area is needed in some cases.


Addison T. Stone, BA, and Clifford B. Tribus, MD. Acute Progression of Spondylolysis to Isthmic Spondylolisthesis in an Adult. In Spine. August 15, 2002. Vol. 27. No. 16. Pp. E370-E372.

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*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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