Menu Spine Care Upper Back Cervical Spinal Fusion Cervical Spine Surgery Cervical Spine Surgery and Recovery Cervical Stenosis Medtronic O-Arm Imaging System Neck Pain Neck Pain and Balance Neck Pain and Sudden Weakness Spinal Cord Injuries Spondylolisthesis Your Cervical Spine Spondylolisthesis in the Cervical Spine Spondylolisthesis occurs when one vertebra slips out of place in the spinal column. It may slip forward, back or press down on the vertebra below, causing pain and pressure in the neck or back. If one of the first seven vertebra in your neck (cervical spine) are affected, your doctor may refer to your condition specifically as spondylolisthesis in the cervical spine. What is spondylolisthesis? When one of your vertebrae slips out of place, it can cause the back or neck to gradually bend or the spinal canal to narrow. Some individuals feel pain as soon as the disc slips out of place, but others may not experience any symptoms. There are many types and causes of spondylolisthesis, including: Degenerative spondylolisthesis: As we age, our discs lose water – making it harder for them to hold vertebra in place. This is the most common type of spondylolisthesis. Congenital spondylolisthesis: An abnormal arrangement of vertebrae, present since birth, creates a higher risk of slipping out of place. Isthmic spondylolisthesis: Small stress fractures in the vertebrae weaken the bone and allow it to slip out of place. Traumatic spondylolisthesis: A sudden, serious injury causes a spinal fracture or vertebral to slip out of place. Pathological spondylolisthesis: Certain diseases (such as osteoporosis, tumors or infection) can weaken the spine and increase the risk of slippage. Post-surgical spondylolisthesis: Rarely, spinal surgery can cause slippage. What are symptoms of cervical spondylolisthesis? Spondylolisthesis that affects the neck generally causes neck pain. Pain often radiates to the shoulder blade or back of the head. The condition may even cause pain and numbness in the arms or legs. Serious symptoms also include loss of bladder or bowel control. If you are experiencing a difficult time controlling body functions, contact a back and spine specialist immediately. How is cervical spondylolisthesis treated? Spondylolisthesis that affects the neck calls for experienced care to help address the cause of the condition and help you manage pain and symptoms. The team at St. Elizabeth Spine Center, and our affiliated surgeons, are committed to providing cutting-edge care that helps you feel whole again. Treatment options may include pain management, physical and occupational therapy, steroid injections and surgery. Pain management Effective pain management can help you relieve symptoms and enjoy your favorite activities once again. Your doctor will discuss which pain management options are right for you, including over-the-counter or prescription pain relief. Therapy A physical therapist can help you strengthen your neck and share exercises that help increase your range of motion. A therapist can also help you adapt every day activities – from sleeping, driving and washing dishes – to minimize pain and reduce your symptoms. Corticosteroids Steroid injections, directly in the affected area, can help reduce swelling and relieve pain. Corticosteroids offer temporary relief. Your doctor will discuss if this approach is right for you. Do I need surgery for cervical spondylolisthesis? Physical therapy and a conservative treatment approach can often address the cause and symptoms of cervical spondylolisthesis. If your symptoms and pain do not improve, your doctor may recommend surgery, such as: Microdiscectomy Hemilaminectomy Anterior cervical discectomy with fusion Laminectomy Spinal fusion How is cervical spondylolisthesis diagnosed? Cervical spondylolisthesis can be diagnosed with a complete examination and imaging tests, such as X-ray, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computerized tomography (CT) scan. These imaging tests allow your doctor to see if any vertebrae have slipped out of place. Contact Us The team at St. Elizabeth includes surgeons and specialists with unmatched experience in diagnosing and treating injuries, conditions and diseases that cause lumbar and sacral spine pain. Physicians and accredited providers offer their insight on how to best treat your back pain. Meet our providers. Call the Spine Center at St. Elizabeth at (859) 212-7000 and get started on the road to recovery. A physician referral may be necessary to make an appointment. If you need surgery, our experienced affiliated surgeons will map out a plan that’s tailored to your health history, condition and symptoms. Meet our surgeons.