Lumbar spondylolisthesis is a condition that causes lower back pain. It occurs when the stability of your lumber vertebrae is compromised and the vertebrae slips forward out of position. This can cause minor pain that quickly progresses if left untreated.
Lumbar spondylolisthesis is diagnosed with a physical exam and an X-ray to confirm a crack or fracture in the vertebra. Your doctor will also look for the telltale movement of the vertebra (usually seen on an MRI). In addition to these tests, your doctor will ask you to describe your symptoms.
For you, this may only be lower back pain. Many patients may not experience many spondylolisthesis symptoms in the beginning stages. If the fracture is small and the patient is in general good health, they may only feel pain similar to a muscle strain in the low back.
Over time, though, symptoms may progress and include the following:
Pain radiating to the buttocks and back of the thighs
Pain that gets worse with activity and improves with rest
Stiffness in the lower back
Tight hamstrings (muscles at the back of the thighs)
If the condition remains undiagnosed and untreated, symptoms can progress to sciatica pain as the vertebrae apply pressure on the sciatic nerve. Pain can radiate across, down the hip, and into the leg. It may be accompanied by weakness or numbness. It can eventually make sitting or standing for prolonged periods of time very uncomfortable.