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Like spondylolisthesis, but up/down not forward/back ??????

Hello, everyone. I am new, and hoping someone is familiar with my most recent diagnosis. The ortho MD said it was rare, I can't find it on the web so I guess so! I knew I had DDD, a herniated disc, spondylosis throughout my spine, narrowing of the spinal canal, blah blah but turns out my "big ouch" is because I have a gap in my spine when I move a certain way- it was alarming to see on the x-ray! Then I move another way and my spine "CHINKS together...it wiggles and it REALLY shouldn't do that!" is how the ortho put it. He said it was very uncommon for the spine/vertebraes to move up and down, usually it is the forward/backward slippage.

I like to read up on my conditions & treatment options so I can be proactive in my care, and it's bugging me I can't do so. Can only be fixed by fusion, I'm only 31 so the plan is to stave off worsening as long as possible by strengthening my body & pain control by epidurals.
Has anyone ever heard of this, or even dealing/dealt with the pain of spinal slippage? I'd really appreciate any input!


  • I have never heard of this condition. I do hope someone here has. I had spondylolisthesis and had horrible spasms, etc. from the instability caused by the slipping of L4 over L5. Treatment of choice is fusion.

    Best wishes,

  • I don't suppose he gave you a name for the condition. I must say I've never heard of it either, and I can't quite imagine how it even happens due to the ligaments that hold the vertebrae in place.

    You may find that you won't be able to wait too long to have surgery. All the conditions you mention can lead to nerve compression, which will continue to cause radiculopathy. When you have a slippage and a narrowing of the spinal canal, the condition is not going to get better on its own. It sounds like you are prone to spinal arthritis, and your body will probably continue to put out "gunk" that contribute to the narrowing of various passages -- central canal, foraminal openings, etc. You can do tons of PT and it is not going to create more space. Injections may or may not help

    Do you currently have sciatic-type pain running down your hip, leg or to your foot?
  • Sounds like significant instability to me.

    I had have retrololithsis (sp) on my lumbar pretty bad (the flexion extension show a huge gap (almost an inch between vertabrae- some also called it almost dislocated) when flexed and backward slippage of 1/2 in. I also had some retro in my neck that was just fixed.

    Try searching retro on the web you may be surprised what falls under that.


  • So happy to have replies here! Marianne, so sorry to hear of your pain. Spasms are like salt in the wound.

    Gwennie17- no, I didn't ask for the name. I'm usually good about that, but seeing the x-rays, hearing I had a rare spinal disorder, and of the fusion shocked my brain into numbness. In the office, of course, then by 6pm Friday my head was all awhirl! While your reply wasn't sunshine and roses, I truly appreciate the realistic input. I'm coming to terms with the fact that I've got an unhealthy back. I am definitely prone, my father has bad DDD, arthritis, many back surgeries. Yet he works every day, at a hard job, and doesn't complain. Very inspiring! But, of course, he is telling me not to be like him, and baby my back all I can. He knows how bad the pain can get, and doesn't want to see me like him. I do have sciatic pain, I think that is the worst of it all because I never know when it will strike, it is like being stabbed in the butt then having my entire leg ripped apart with a huge electrical current. sorry to be graphic, but it does help to vent it! I am getting scared to walk, sit, stand in fear of that pain.

    Julie, thank you, thank you, thank you for giving me a direction to look in! Definitely spinal instability, and like you, the flex/extrension showed a big gap. Like my back was broken, or something! It does sound like what I have, but I still have yet to find a spot that mentions the up/down. You must have been/still be in so much pain. It breaks my heart to read the stories & struggles of so many people, but it is a comfort to know we have others who understand.

    Wishing everyone pain free moments & much gratitude for taking the time to read/reply!!
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