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Q: Medical ( Answered,   3 Comments )
Subject: Medical
Category: Health
Asked by: guyana-ga
List Price: $5.00
Posted: 24 Jan 2005 09:00 PST
Expires: 23 Feb 2005 09:00 PST
Question ID: 462478
What is Spondylulythesis, L4 or L5?

Request for Question Clarification by tutuzdad-ga on 24 Jan 2005 09:22 PST
The condition is called "Spondylolisthesis" and it affects L4 and L5
among others. What more specifically would you like to know?

Subject: Re: Medical
Answered By: librariankt-ga on 24 Jan 2005 11:44 PST
Hi Guyana,

Spondylolisthesis is the technical term for a slipped disk in the
spinal column, and can affect any of the three disks around lumbar
vertebrae L4 or L5.  This generally happens in adults when one of the
vertebrae cracks and slips out of position.

I went to the MedlinePlus consumer health database
( from the US National Library of Medicine to find
you some good websites that discuss this problem.  Here they are:

North American Spine Society - Adult Isthemic Spondylolisthesis
"In about 5 percent of the adult population, there is a developmental
crack in one of the vertebrae, usually at the point at which the lower
(lumbar) part of the spine joins the tailbone (sacrum). It may develop
as a stress fracture. Due to the constant forces the low back
experiences, this fracture does not usually heal as normal bone. This
type of fracture (called a spondylolysis) is simply a crack in part of
the vertebra (Figure 1) and may cause no problem at all. However,
sometimes the cracked vertebra does slip forward over the vertebra
below it. This is known as adult isthmic spondylolisthesis.
Isthmic spondylolisthesis may not cause any symptoms for years (if
ever) after the slippage has occurred. If you do have symptoms, they
may include low back and buttocks pain; numbness, tingling, pain,
muscle tightness or weakness in the leg (sciatica); increased sway
back; or a limp. These symptoms are usually aggravated by standing,
walking and other activities, while rest will provide temporary

American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons: Spondylolysis and Spondylolisthesis
"The most common X-ray identified cause of low back pain in adolescent
athletes is a stress fracture in one of the bones (vertebrae) that
make up the spinal column. Technically, this condition is called
spondylolysis (spon-dee-low-lye-sis). It usually affects the fifth
lumbar vertebra in the lower back, and much less commonly, the fourth
lumbar vertebra.
If the stress fracture weakens the bone so much that it is unable to
maintain its proper position, the vertebra can start to shift out of
place. This condition is called spondylolisthesis
(spon-dee-low-lis-thee-sis). If too much slippage occurs, the bones
may begin to press on nerves and surgery may be necessary to correct
the condition."

MedlinePlus Health Encyclopedia: Spondylolisthesis
"Spondylolisthesis is a condition in which a vertebra slips forward on
the vertebra below it. In children this normally occurs between the
fifth lumbar vertebra and the first sacral vertebra and is often due
to a congenital malformation of that region of the spine.
In adults, the most common cause is degenerative disease (like
arthritis) and the slip usually occurs between the fourth and fifth
lumbar vertebrae.
Other causes of spondylolisthesis include stress fractures (caused by
repetitive hyper-extension of the back, commonly seen in gymnasts),
and traumatic fractures. Spondylolisthesis may occasionally be
associated with bone diseases."

If you're interested in ongoing clinical trials for the
treatment/management of spondylolisthesis, this link to got me three:

As I mentioned above, I searched the MedlinePlus database for the
above websites.  You're guaranteed that these sites are high quality
and trustworthy because they've been chosen for MedlinePlus by health

Please let me know if you need further information about this
condition, or if I can help you further!

Subject: Re: Medical
From: drcristellodc-ga on 26 Jan 2005 09:19 PST
The answer given by librarianktn is not correct. The answer given
states that "Spondylolisthesis is the technical term for a slipped
disk .."  In fact the correct answer is: "Spondylolisthesis is
traditionally defined as an anterior displacement of a vertebral body
in relation to the segment immediately below." Therefore, it is the
vertebra itself, rather than the disc that has displaced, although it
is possible for both to occur simulataneously. This reference is from:
ESSENTIALS OF SKELETAL RADIOLOGY, Terry Yochum and Lindsay Rowe, 2nd
ed., vol.1, p.327

Dr. Cristello, Chiropractor, NYC
Subject: Re: Medical
From: librariankt-ga on 27 Jan 2005 05:59 PST
I'm sorry, I mistyped - should have read "technical term for a slipped
vertebra."  My mistake.  Thanks for catching it, Dr. C.  LKT
Subject: Re: Medical
From: drcristellodc-ga on 27 Jan 2005 06:46 PST
No problem,

thanks for your great service.

Dr. Tom

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