Lumbar spondylolisthesis occurs when one vertebra in the lower spine slips forward on top of another one. This can be caused by degeneration of the joints in the back of the spine (facet joints) or by a bony disconnection of the portion of bone that connects the joints of the vertebrae (pars interarticularis).
Lumbar spondylolisthesis can lead to instability that can cause pain in the back as the muscles have to work harder to stabilize the back. The slipped vertebrae can also cause compression of the nerves resulting in radiculopathy and neurogenic claudication.
The initial treatment for lumbar spondylolisthesis is physical therapy and a home exercise program that builds strength in the lower back. If symptoms continue, your doctor may recommend surgery to stabilize the spine, such as a lumbar fusion, or decompress the nerve roots, such as a lumbar hemilaminectomy or lumbar laminectomy.