Cervical Spondylolisthesis Treatment

Cervical spondylolisthesis is a painful condition where the vertebra within the neck slide forward over the bone beneath it.

At Vitalis Physiotherapy, we specialise in cervical spondylolisthesis treatment to:

What is cervical spondylolisthesis?

Spondylolisthesis is a term referring to spinal instability, where bones within the spinal column are prone to slide forward over the vertebra below. This often causes pain and pressure in the neck and back. The condition is often painful and can reduce general mobility and movement. The slippage often compresses nearby nerves.


There are several types of cervical spondylolisthesis:

  • Congenital spondylolisthesis (Type I) – occurs at childbirth, where the spine is misaligned and not fully formed, placing higher risk of slippage in adulthood
  • Isthmic spondylolisthesis (Type II) – occurs as a result of spondylosis, where the crack or fracture causes bone weakness
  • Degenerative spondylolisthesis (Type III) – the most common, occurs due to aging, which in turn increases the likelihood of thinning discs prone to slippage
  • Traumatic spondylolisthesis (Type IV) – caused by fractures in other parts of the spine (e.g., facet joints), typically though trauma like a motor vehicle accident
  • Pathological spondylolisthesis (Type V) – caused by a pathological disease (e.g., osteoporosis, osteoarthritis) or tumour
  • Post-surgical spondylolisthesis (Type VI) – where slippage occurs due to spinal surgery
  • Retrololistheis (Type VII) – where the vertebrae slides backward over the bone below it
Question mark

What are the causes?

The cause of cervical spondylolisthesis greatly varies depending on age, lifestyle and a family history of the condition. It can present at birth/childhood through to rapid growth in adolescence and general aging in adulthood.


Other factors may affect susceptibility to developing cervical spondylolisthesis, including:

  • Certain sports which may overstretch and stress the back (e.g., football, gymnastics, track & field, weightlifting, etc.)
  • Physical labour, with repetitive bending, twisting, pulling and pushing actions
  • Sudden injury or trauma to the spine
  • Pre-existing pathological conditions (e.g., osteoporosis, arthritis)
  • Spinal surgeries

What are the symptoms?

  • Neck pain
  • Referred pain in the shoulders and/or back of the head
  • Pain and/or weakness in the arms, hands and/or legs and feet
  • Worsening pain after periods of activity
  • Nerve pain (tingling, numbness, pins & needles)
  • Muscle spasms
  • Reduced balance and stability
Wry neck

Treatment for cervical spondylolisthesis

As vertebral bones in the neck are small, as is the relative area of the neck itself, any disc herniation or vertebral slippage should be seen and treated immediately at a medical clinic or hospital. Physical therapy aids in optimising recovery and rehabilitation from conditions like cervical spondylolisthesis.


At Vitalis Physiotherapy, we tailor a treatment plan to best fit your recovery goals through:

  • Soft tissue mobilisations (massage)
  • Stretching exercises
  • Strengthening, conditioning and balance techniques
  • Restoring range of movement
  • Postural improvement
  • Dry needling
  • Taping
  • Shockwave Therapy
  • Home exercise and self-management techniques
  • Graded Exposure to load program

Your physiotherapist may also advise heat or ice application, rest and if necessary, pain medication. Additionally, they might recommend for you to use neck or spinal support (braces) or a Therapeutic Pillow.

If you think you have cervical spondylolisthesis, or are looking for a physiotherapist near me, the team at Vitalis Physiotherapy can assess your condition to tailor a unique rehabilitation plan to aid in your pain relief and recovery.

All you need to do is just give us a call on 0410 559 856 and request an initial appointment. Please let our friendly reception staff know the background and severity of your condition.

You can visit our FAQs for more information about appointments at Vitalis Physiotherapy.


Need Help?

Are you in pain caused by cervical spondylolisthesis? Contact Vitalis Physiotherapy now to book in your treatment.

Call our friendly team on 0410 559 856. We’d love to help.

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Sinnamon Park Village

3/58 Oldfield Road, Sinnamon Park Qld 4073


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