The vertebrae are the bones that protect the spinal cord. Each vertebra has a thick drum-shaped area in front called a vertebral body. Between the vertebrae are spaces that allow nerves (nerve roots) to go from the spinal cord to other parts of the body.
In anterolisthesis, the upper vertebral body is positioned abnormally compared to the vertebral body below it. More specifically, the upper vertebral body slips forward on the one below.
The amount of slippage is graded on a scale from 1 to 4. Grade 1 is mild (20% slippage), while grade 4 is severe (100% slippage).
Symptoms can vary depending on whether the slippage is enough to pinch the nerve roots (the portion of the nerve that leaves the spinal cord to connect to other parts of the body) that go from the spinal cord to other parts of the body. In this case, the symptoms will differ depending on where the affected area is.
Symptoms can involve movement or problems feeling sensations (such as heat, cold, pain, position in space, etc.), loss of control of bowels or bladder, pain and poor posture.
Causes and Risk Factors
The slippage often occurs as a result of bone fractures.
A doctor will take the patient's medical history and do a physical exam, including checking the patient's reflexes.
X-rays and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) will also show the slippage.