Lumbar Spondylolisthesis 

Lumbar spondylosisthesis occurs when degenerative changes become severe enough that one vertebra begins to abnormally slip forward upon another. Terms such as subluxation or anterolisthesis are also used to describe spondylolisthesis.


Spondylolisthesis is usually caused by the degenerative effects of aging or a stress fracture from childhood. Spondylolisthesis can narrow the spinal canal and cause symptoms of lumbar spinal stenosis, or pinch a nerve and cause symptoms of lumbar radiculopathy.

SymptomsX-ray of a spine with a red arrow and a yellow arrow pointing to the two areas that are affected during lumbar spondylosisthesis.

  • Low back and/or buttock pain
  • Radiating leg pain, numbness, weakness
  • Cramping leg pain and numbness
  • Difficulty standing
  • Difficulty walking
  • Heaviness in legs


In adults, lumbar spondylolisthesis is initially treated by medications, physical therapy, and/or injections. Spinal fusion surgery is often necessary if conservative treatments fail.

Schedule an Appointment

Please call 984-974-6800 to schedule an imaging appointment at the UNC Hospitals Imaging Center or 984-974-4200 to schedule a clinic appointment at the UNC Hospitals Spine Center.  Referrals are not necessary

Fax: 984-974-6740

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