About Spondylolisthesis

What is it and what are your treatment options?
Anchorage: (907)562-2277
Wasilla: (907) 357-2267
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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, 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.
  • Types of Spondylolisthesis: This type of displacement only occurs as a result of certain, very rare, metabolic bone diseases.

Symptoms you should look for are:

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

When diagnosing spondylolisthesis, OPA Spine Specialists do the following:

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

Common Treatments:

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

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs)

Decrease inflammation and pain.

Physical Therapy

One of OP’a onsite physical therapist prescribes and monitors strengthening and stretching exercises.


A removable back brace.


An injection of steroid and anesthetic medications.

Activity Modification

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 Surgeons are Fellowship Trained and Board Certified and among Alaska’s most experienced leaders in Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery.
At OPA, our Board-Certified and Fellowship-Trained Spine Specialists, Dr. Mark Flanum, Dr. James Eule, and Dr. Curtis Mina are experts in treating spondylolisthesis.

To receive an accurate diagnosis and effective treatment plan, please make an appointment to see one of our Spine Team Specialists at our offices conveniently located in Anchorage and Wasilla.

Schedule An Appointment

To receive an accurate diagnosis and effective treatment plan, please make an appointment with one of our Orthopedic Team Specialists at our offices conveniently located in Anchorage and Wasilla, AK.

Anchorage: (907)562-2277
Wasilla: (907) 357-2267

OPA Spine Team

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Dr. James Eule

Orthopedic Spine Specialist

Dr. Mark Flanum

Orthopedic Spine Specialist

Dr. Curtis Mina

Orthopedic Spine Specialist

Sean Taylor, MD

Pain Management

Our Mission

To provide the finest orthopedic surgery and musculoskeletal care in North America, offering general and specialized adult care to all Alaskans and visitors.

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Barbara Chambers


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