Spondylolisthesis is pathological condition of the spinal column affecting primarily the lower vertebrae. This is a condition in which a lower vertebra tends to slip towards the bone immediately underneath it.(1) This results in severe low back pain. Spondylolisthesis can be caused due to various reasons. It tends to run in families in some cases while age of an individual and the lifestyle also plays a role in whether an individual will develop this condition. Spondylolisthesis may also affect children as a result of some type of birth defect or injury at the time of birth affecting the spinal cord.
However, in majority of the cases, excessive strain on the spine is the primary cause of Spondylolisthesis. This is seen normally in athletes who participate in events where repetitive and excess pressure is exerted on the spine like football, weightlifting, gymnastics, long jump and high jump.
Spondylolisthesis is definitely a preventable condition if proper training and the right technique is used for exercises, especially in athletes. If left untreated, Spondylolisthesis can result in numerous complications some of which may be potentially serious.
Can Spondylolisthesis Cause Paralysis?
The answer to this question is yes. Spondylolisthesis is a condition which requires prompt medical intervention to avoid any potential complications.(2) If Spondylolisthesis is left untreated it may cause permanent damage to the vertebrae of the lower back which will cause immense pain such that the affected individual may not even able to do normal activities of daily living.
An untreated Spondylolisthesis may cause permanent damage to the nerves of the lower extremities. When this occurs, in most of the cases it leads to paralysis of the lower extremities.
In conclusion, Spondylolisthesis is a condition which if left untreated may lead to significant nerve damage to an extent that the affected individual may become paralyzed in the lower extremities. Thus, it is highly recommended that once a diagnosis is confirmed that the individual seek immediate medical attention to start treatment for Spondylolisthesis.
Additionally, for athletes who are involved in events like track and field, weightlifting, or gymnastics it is prudent that proper training mechanisms and techniques be utilized to prevent an extremely painful and disabling condition like Spondylolisthesis.