Anterolisthesis: Definition, Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Anterolisthesis in other terms is called Spondylolisthesis, in Latin, SPONDYLO means “Spine” and, LISTHESIS means “Slippage” which together infers us  Spine slippage.

Anterolisthesis means the abnormal forward placement of a vertebral body in relationship to another vertebral body.

It is more than just a “slip of a disk”. To make that concept easier, if you place two same-sized rings on top of each other, that would be considered a normal orientation. When you look at the rings through the top or the bottom opening, you’ll see a circle. You can see an object can pass through the center of the two rings, and space itself is round and uniform.

To demonstrate Antithesis, have one of those rings placed out of alignment to the other ring, therefore causing that opening hole to narrow in size. The once circular hole is now more oblong. Displacing the rings further will narrow the oblong space.

That is the analogy of the effect of the Antithesis. The vertebra, or the bones of the spine, in the back, consists of a ring that also allows the spinal cord or nerves to pass through its center.

Well, if these vertebral rings shift on top of each other, just like the two rings shifting on top of each other – this is that process of Antithesis.

It causes a potential narrowing of the space for the spinal cord or the nerves.

Related Post: Need for Meditation for College Students

What Causes Anterolisthesis?

Anterolisthesis can be caused by a fracture of the back of the vertebra in the area of the pars intra-articular. This results in the shifting of the vertebral rings onto one another.

Anterolisthesis can also be the result of a congenital development, in other words, you were born that way, or a degenerative development, in other words, as you age, your ligaments stretch out and the discs become more mobile, or as we stated above, a traumatic event to the pars intra-articular. This is a very important finding and can be a cause of back pain.

What are the Symptoms of Anterolisthesis?

The symptoms of Anterolisthesis depend on the amount and the area of slippage in the spine.

It can cause invariable and relentless localized pain, and it can worsen over time. Pain can be persistent and often affects the portions of the lower back or the legs. Mobility issues due to pain can lead to immobility and weight gain. It also results in the loss of bone compactness and muscle potency. Flexibility in other regions of the body may also be affected.

Other symptoms of anterolisthesis include:

  • muscle spasms
  • tingling sensations
  • inability to sense hotness and coldness
  • pain and deprived posture
  • severe weakness

Some severe cases symptoms are –

  • difficulty walking and partial body movement
  • loss of bladder or bowel function

Related Post: Childhood Fear and Anxiety: Help your Child

Diagnosis of Anterolisthesis

Anterolisthesis is usually examined by a physician by physical examination and symptoms.

For confirmation, X-rays, CT Scan and MRI scans are utilized. They are very helpful to identify bone defects and evaluating injuries and nerve damages.

What are the different gradings in Anterolisthesis?

To know the severity of the condition, the Anterolisthesis is measured using different scales.

  • GRADE 1 – When the slippage is less than 25%
  • GRADE 2 – When the slippage is between 26 to 50%
  • GRADE 3 – When the slippage is in between 51 to 75%
  • GRADE 4 – When the slippage is more than 76%

The rare case scenario is 100% i.e. when the upper vertebra falls off completely.

Treatments for Anterolisthesis

The physicians give treatment to the patients based on their Grades. 

The GRADE 1 and 2 patients will receive mild treatments to overcome the pain and discomfort. To relieve pain, physicians usually prescribe complete rest, gentle exercise, and pain killers.

GRADE 3 and 4 will most often undergo surgery. These patients undergo chiropractic therapy and surgery in the utmost scenario.

Decompression and spinal fusion are the two common surgeries done to cure Anterolisthesis.

What are the Risk Factors Associated with Anterolithesis?

This disease commonly occurs in older people especially women above their fifties. The aging process leads to osteoporosis and the weakening of bone. This makes them susceptible to spine slippage easily.

Not only them but people indulging themselves in vigorous activities like weightlifting or high jump can also be prone to Anterolisthesis.


Ques. What is meant by GRADE 1 Anterolisthesis?
Ans. The slippage of the upper vertebral body one below the other for about 20% is known as GRADE 1 Anterolisthesis.

Ques. How can we avoid Anterolisthesis?
Ans. Reducing stress under the lumbar spine, like weightlifting or gymnastics, or any other activity which can involve strenuous movements.

Ques. How to sleep with Anterolisthesis at night?
Ans. The reclining position serves to be the best position to lie down for a person suffering from Anterolisthesis.

Ques. Can we become paralyzed when we have Anterolisthesis?
Ans. Yes, if it is left untreated for a long time, the spinal nerves get severely damaged and this can lead to paralysis.

Ques. What are the exercises useful to overcome Anterolisthesis?
Ans. Mild exercises like, crunches, hamstring stretch, pelvic tilt, and multifidus activation cab work out well.

Leave a Comment

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

Scroll to Top