Anterolisthesis Causes treatment

Anterolisthesis : Causes, Pictures, Symptoms and Treatment

Anterolisthesis! The name itself sounds like a pain. Well, you guessed it right. It really is the pain that can make your life hell. So, pain in the lower back can make you feel uncomfortable. You may have heard the term spondylolisthesis. Anterolisthesis is another term for it that specifies a spine problem. You can feel severe back pain due to the issue. It may affect your daily life in a negative manner. So, you need to know about the issue. It will help you overcome the problem and lead a pain-free life.

What Is Anterolisthesis?

Your spinal cord is the significant part that completes the central nervous system. So, it carries the signal from the brain to the other parts of the body. The spinal column is a tubular structure with thirty-three vertebrae. It has a stack-like structure. The main function of the spinal cord is to support your body weight. It also protects your delicate spinal cord and allows movement. Each vertebra has space between them to facilitate nerves’ movement. Hence, the nerves can exit the spinal column to transfer signals to other body parts.


Several problems can affect the upper vertebral body. The abnormal alignment of the bones present in the spine can cause severe distress. One such condition that occurs when the upper vertebrae slip in front or back of the vertebrae situated below is spondylolisthesis. Your vertebra has a shape like a drum that can either slip in front or on back. Therefore, anterolisthesis is the forward slippage. While the term retrolisthesis means the backward slippage. The severe pain you experience is the first warning sign indicating something is wrong.

Why Anterolisthesis Is A Serious Issue?

The misalignment of your vertebrae can pinch your other nerves. Therefore, you may experience severe pain along with other complications. Anterolisthesis is the main problem that can cause you severe pain and discomfort. It will restrict your movements as well as your daily functions. If ignored, it can affect the other parts of your body. So, you may feel pain in the arms and legs.

You need to seek medical attention for the issue. Ignoring it will only cause more complications. In medical terms, the grade given to the problem directly refers to the amount of slippage of the vertebrae. Hence, your anterolisthesis gets rated on a scale ranging from mild to severe. Depending on it, your doctor will offer you the ideal treatment plans. It can vary from simple bed rest to corrective surgery.

Anterolisthesis Causes

The term Anterolisthesis is the combination of two Latin and Greek words. “Ante” is the Latin word, which means front. While the Greek word “listhesis” means that the front slides through a slippery path. So, together the word refers to the sliding of the vertebrae on its front down the slippery path. The primary causes of the slippage are:

Strenuous Exercises

Strenuous Exercises

Are you into bodybuilding? Then, you are at risk of getting the back problem. The years of strenuous exercise can make the vertebrae slide over the other. It may not happen suddenly. The issue can develop over several years.

Blunt Force Trauma

Another major cause of the issue is a fracture or a blunt force trauma. An auto accident or fall can cause you the trauma. So, you can experience anterolisthesis as a result of it.


When people age, their bones become weak and brittle. It can also weaken the cartilage between the vertebrae. So, it results in the thinning of the structure leading to the issue. You may have noticed that the back pain is a common issue in old people.

Other Diseases

Arthritis, weak bones or tumor can weaken your bones. So, you need to check for the underlying condition that can result in anterolisthesis. The presence of the tumor will force your vertebra to move to a different location. With the displacement from the natural position, you can experience pain.

Birth Defect

Some kids have the genetic birth defect. So, they can experience spinal growth issues. It can lead to anterolisthesis.

Symptoms Of Anterolisthesis

The signs and severity of symptoms depend on the amount of the vertebral slippage. It also depends on the specific part of the spine where you experience the slippage. You will experience the following symptoms with the issue:

Symptoms Of Anterolisthesis


The issue can induce severe pain. You may feel the constant and localized pain that can worsen over the time. Sometimes the pain can worsen causing severe distress in your daily life. It can even affect the other parts of the body like legs or lower back.

Mobility Issues

The pain may lead you to adopt an inactive lifestyle. It restricts your body’s flexibility. Therefore, you may opt to restrict your movement to avoid pain. The restriction of the mobility can make you gain weight. So, it can lead to obesity.

Lower Muscle Strength

Anterolistheis can lead to lower muscle strength. So, it may make you sluggish. It can also result in the loss of your bone density. Therefore, you become more prone to fractures or bone complications.

Other Glaring Symptoms

You may also experience the following symptoms if you suffer from anterolisthesis:

  • Muscle spasms
  • You may feel unable to feel the cold and hot sensations (numbness)
  • It can lead to poor posture and associated pain
  • Tingling or pulsating sensation making you distressed
  • Pain radiating through the legs, toes or feet
  • Overall weakness in the body

It is better to seek medical attention immediately to sort the issue. Ignoring the problem may lead to other severe issues like:

  • Limited body movement restricting your mobility
  • Finding it difficult to walk
  • Losing bowel or bladder function

Diagnosis Of Anterolisthesis

If you have the signs and symptoms discussed above, then you need medical attention. You need to consult a specialist doctor (Orthopedist) to get treatment. Your doctor may perform the following to get the actual diagnosis.

Physical Examination

Your doctor can conduct a thorough physical evaluation to detect the issue of anetrolisthesis. The physical examination will include the reflex check to confirm the problem. So, your medical history and symptoms are also evaluated for better insight.


The orthopedist may order for the X-ray of your spine. It will show the clear picture of vertebrae. So, your doctor can see the cracks, fractures or slippages with precision. So, it will confirm the suspected anterolisthesis diagnosis.

CT Scans Or MRI

More sophisticated imaging techniques can offer better insight into the severity of the problem. Therefore, your doctor may opt for CT scans or MRI scans. It will offer more details about the bone defects. Your doctor can assess the injury as well as the nerve damage better with the sophisticated images.

Grading of Anterolisthesis

Once the diagnosis is complete, the doctor will evaluate the damage’s extent. In medical terms, the problem gets graded. Each grade corresponds to the severity of the condition. So, based on the grade, your doctor adopts a treatment plan best suited for you.

Grade 1

Your doctor may grade your damage in the first category for less slippage. Therefore, your condition comes under Grade 1 for less than 25% slippage.

Grade 2

The slippage of 26% to 50% comes under Grade 2.

Grade 3

If your slippage is 51% to 75%, then it comes under the Grade 3. It indicates that the issue is a bit severe.

Grade 4

The condition is severe if you have more than 75% slippage. In some rare cases, the patients develop 100% slippage. In such cases, the upper vertebra completely slips. So, it slides to the one below causing severe distress.

Treatment For Anterolisthesis

Your doctor may suggest the ideal treatment plan based on the grading. So, the grade of your anterolisthesis is the key to developing an ideal treatment plan.

Mild Slippage

The grade 1 and grade 2 slippages come under the mild category. So, you will have only mild symptoms for the issue. The treatment plan aims to reduce the pain and discomfort. So, the treatment may involve the following:

Bed Rest

Taking complete rest will help overcome the anterolisthesis. It is good for mild cases as the complete rest will heal the pain. Therefore, you need to stop the physically strenuous activity until you get relief from the pain. It is better to avoid sports or other physical activities. The rest will prevent the damage or slippage of the vertebrae.


The exercise is often carried out along with the physical therapy. Including the exercise will improve your flexibility and ensure pain-free movement. It also enhances the strength of the back muscles. Normally stabilization exercises can strengthen the back and abdominal muscles. It also maintains the mobility of your spine. Therefore, it can reduce the painful movement of the bone in the affected spinal region.

Pain Medication

Pain medication like the NSAIDs can treat the inflammation and the pain caused due to anterolisthesis. So, the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs will offer your relief from the mild form of the problem. For acute pain, your doctor will prescribe opioids and steroids. For more severe pain, your doctor may use epidural steroids. Therefore, the medicine is directly injected into your back to overcome pain and inflammation.

Severe Slippage

The grade 3 and grade 4 slippages come under the severe criteria. So, your doctor may suggest chiropractic therapy or surgery. Generally, the surgery is the last resort to alleviate the pain.

Chiropractic Therapy

The severe complication of anterolisthesis gets treated with a combination of physical therapy and exercise program. The chiropractic treatment can stabilize the vertebra. It moves the vertebra to its original position and alleviates the pain. Therefore, your doctor may suggest back support or brace stabilize the back.


Surgical intervention is the last option adopted to alleviate the anterolisthesis problems. It is the step opted for severe complication. Therefore, the invasive procedure is ideal when the vertebra slips continuously. It is the best option once all the treatments fail to relieve the pain. It involves adjusting the vertebrae with screws, rods, wires or plates. Your doctor can opt for the following surgical options to treat the anterolisthesis. It will provide relief from the severe pain and discomfort.


As the name suggests, it reduces the compression. So, the surgery removes the tissue or bone to release pressure. Your vertebrae and surrounding nerves will feel relieved with the removal process.

Spinal Fusion

Spinal Fusion

It is a surgical procedure that transplanting a piece of bone to the spinal area. So, once the bone heals, it fuses together with your spine. It stabilizes the spines as the solid mass can strengthen it.

Your doctor can also opt for the combination of two procedures. Hence, the spinal fusion and decompression can heal the issue of anterolisthesis.

Risk Factors Associated With Anterolisthesis

Some people are more at risk of getting the problem compared to others. So, if you come under the category, maintain caution. You can avoid anterolisthesis by detecting the signs and getting treatment immediately.

People Over The Age Of Fifty

As you become older, your chance of getting the problem is high. It is due to the fact that the natural aging can lead to weaker bones. It makes the bones fragile. So, old people are more susceptible to bone damage.


Women are more affected by anterolisthesis compared to men. It is associated with the decreased back function.

Strenuous Physical Activity

People who engage in strenuous physical activity are at risk of getting the problem. Athletes, bodybuilder, and weightlifters put immense pressure on their spine. It makes them vulnerable to the vertebrae slip. So, they are at risk of getting the immense back pain.

Preventing Anterolisthesis

It is possible to prevent the issue by taking some preventive measures. It will help you keep the pain and distress at bay.

Older Members

With the increasing age, people become more prone to falls and accidents. It is due to the low bone density. So, including daily exercises ensures that people can maintain their overall health.

Good Posture

You need to maintain good body posture. It will reduce the unnecessary strain on the spinal column. Therefore, you can practice yoga to get good posture while sitting, sleeping or standing.

Strengthening The Muscles

You can strengthen the abdominal and back muscles by including exercises in your daily routine. Try to spend some time to perform the exercises that can focus on the specific muscles.

Include Less Risky Sports

To avoid the extra strain on the back due to rigors exercise, you can include low-risk sports. So, include activities like cycling or swimming that can help you keep fit. It also reduces your risk of getting lower back injuries.

Healthy Weight

Your excess body weight can cause many lifestyle diseases. It is also responsible for the high chances of getting anterolisthesis. A healthy weight can reduce the stress on your spinal column. Hence, it reduces the risk of getting injuries in your lower back area.

Balanced Diet

A balanced diet has the right mixtures of carbohydrates, proteins, minerals, fat, and vitamins. It can help you maintain the overall balance in the body. So, you need to worry about the decrease in bone strength. With good bone strength, you are at low risk of getting anterolisthesis.


Once you suspect anterolisthesis, it is better to seek medical help. You can overcome the mild cases of the issue with non-surgical treatment. Getting immediate medical help can prevent the problem from worsening. So, you can prevent the pinching of nerves in the back. It reduces the recurrence of the back pain and permanent damage.

If you ignore the issue, it can become more complicated. Therefore, you may face the permanent risk of nerve damage. The pinching of nerves can lead to recurrent pain. So, the treatment can only offer temporary relief. In such cases, you may have to opt surgical option for permanent relief from anterolisthesis. Hence, take help from the medical professionals to avoid severe complications.

View Article Sources

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *