What Are the Causes of Retrolisthesis?


Retrolisthesis is a problem occuring in the lower back where the vertebra or bone slips backward onto the bone below it. There are several causes for this problem. There are different reasons for this condition in children and adults.

Causes in Children

In children, the most common cause of retrolisthesis is a birth defect. The most likely place for the retrolisthesis is between the fifth vertebra and the sacrum, or the lowest part of the spine.

Causes in Adults

In adults, retrolisthesis usually occurs between the 4th and 5th vertebra. Arthritis or another degenerative disease is often the cause.


Another common cause is stress fractures that may occur doing activities such as gymnastics.

Traumatic fractures may also be the cause of this problem. Accidents are the most common cause of traumatic fractures.


Infections of the blood or bone are known causes as well as malignancies from certain types of cancer.


A less likely cause is bone disease.

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