OPA treats a wide variety of back conditions and offers comprehensive treatment options — including many non-surgical solutions.

What is Spondylolisthesis?

Spondylolisthesis is a condition where a vertebra “slips” or becomes displaced and can have varying degrees of severity. This causes the spine to become misaligned and can lead to serious concerns. If left untreated, a neurological impairment may result.

Types of Spondylolisthesis:

    • Isthmic: A congenital disorder that develops in children between the ages of 5 and 17. Nonsurgical treatment is offered unless the displacement is severe, in which case surgery may be necessary.
    • Degenerative: Typically caused by the natural process of aging and arthritis, this form of spondylolisthesis is a gradual wearing down of the various tissues, which eventually leads to a vertebral slip.
    • Dysplastic: A rare congenital defect that derives from developmental issues, usually on the lower spine where the lumbar spine and sacrum (tailbone) meet.
    • Traumatic: Another unusual condition, traumatic spondylolisthesis occurs when fractures occur in the joints that allow the spine to bend and flex.

Symptoms may include:

    • Low back pain
    • Upper leg pain
    • Hypersensitive nerves near the affected area
      muscle stiffness and tightness

When diagnosing degenerative disc disease, The OPA Spine Team:

    • Obtain a complete medical history
    • Perform a physical examination
    • Order and analyze X-rays, CT scans or MRI

Once an official diagnosis is made, a customized treatment plan is prescribed. Treatment plans decrease your symptoms to help you live an active lifestyle.


Common Treatments:

Nonsurgical treatment options effectively treat the majority of cases of spondylolisthesis. Treatments can include:


An injection of steroid and anesthetic medications.

Oral medications decrease nerve inflammation and pain.
Physical Therapy
One of OPA’s onsite physical therapist prescribes and monitors strengthening and stretching exercises.

However, if this condition is causing severe pain or spinal nerve or spinal cord compression, our Board-Certified Orthopedic Spine Surgeons may recommend minimally invasive spine surgery. With minimally invasive spine surgery, you will experience less postoperative pain and have a faster recovery than traditional open-incision spine surgery patients.

Our Spine Team

The OPA team includes Alaska’s leading spine specialists and offers some of the latest, most advanced spondylolisthesis treatment procedures available today.

OPA treats a wide variety of back, neck, and spine conditions and offers comprehensive treatment options — including many non-surgical solutions.

All treatments work to restore pain-free spine function that allows patients to lead active, fulfilling lives, be it walking pain-free or getting back into athletic action.

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