The spine specialists at the Swedish Neuroscience Institute are well known for treating degenerative spine diseases such as spondylolisthesis. This condition involves one of the bones in your spine sliding forward over the bone below it, causing compression of the spinal cord and spinal nerves. You may feel pain, numbness and tingling in the affected region.

There are five major types of spondylolisthesis:

  • Congenital spondylolisthesis: This is an abnormal bone formation that a person is born with.
  • Traumatic spondylolisthesis: This occurs when an injury such as a fracture leads to bone slippage.
  • Isthmic spondylolisthesis: This can occur when there is a defect of the pars interarticularis that leads to bone slippage.
  • Degenerative spondylolisthesis: This is a common type of spondylolisthesis and frequently associated with arthritis and aging.
  • Pathologic spondylolisthesis: This typically occurs as a result of damage to the posterior elements of the spine from metastases or metabolic bone disease.


At Swedish, we don’t consider surgery as the first treatment option. It’s the most invasive treatment with possible complications. Instead, we often recommend starting with conservative care, which can include one or more of the following:

  • Physical therapy
  • Massage therapy
  • Aquatics
  • Epidural steroid injections
  • Acupuncture
  • Chiropractic treatments
  • Pain management options


If conservative care doesn’t resolve your symptoms, your doctor may recommend surgery. Based on your condition, physical exam, imaging studies and lifestyle, your surgeon will go over options that could include:

  • Laminectomy. During this procedure, a surgeon removes the lamina, a bone at the back of each vertebra, from the affected part of the spine.
  • Spinal fusion to join two or more bones with the use of supplementary bone tissue and spinal instrumentation

To have a spinal condition assessed by a Swedish spine specialist, schedule a consultation online or call 206-320-BACK (2225).

Diagnosing and treating spine conditions