The condition can easily go unnoticed because it is often symptom free. Some individuals have no obvious pain or symptoms. Their spondylolisthesis is not discovered until they have an X-ray taken for an unrelated injury or medical condition.
Among those who do experience symptoms, the most common spondylolisthesis symptom is lower back pain. Spondylolisthesis can be mistaken for an acute back injury at times; some people develop a lesion when they are younger, but do not experience symptoms until later in life. In these cases, the inciting event for pain is usually bending or twisting.
People with spondylolisthesis also often experience leg pain. This pain occurs when there is narrowing in the area where the nerves that serve the leg exit the spinal canal. Leg pain may include a tightness in the hamstrings, the muscles that run along the backs of the thighs. In some cases, individuals will have difficulty standing or walking.
Additionally, individuals who have a high degree of slippage may experience weakness, numbness, or tingling in one or both of their legs. This is due to nerve compression.