Spondylolisthesis symptoms depend on how far the vertebra has moved out of position and if other structures or nerves are affected. In the vast majority of cases, spondylolisthesis does not cause symptoms. It can cause low back pain and stiffness. Muscle spasms can cause the hamstring muscles at the back of the thighs to tighten. The tightened hamstrings may feel stiff and can affect posture, making it difficult to walk.
A vertebra that has slipped significantly or caused the spinal canal to narrow can press on the spinal nerves. The spinal nerve compression can cause low back and leg pain, leg weakness, lower body numbness or tingling, and reduced or absent leg reflexes.
Prolonged standing or walking may increase your symptoms. Bending forward or sitting may relieve symptoms because these positions increase the room in the spinal canal, taking pressure off the spinal cord.
If the spinal nerves in the lower end of the lumbar spine are compressed, a condition called Cauda Equina Syndrome may result. Cauda Equina Syndrome can cause loss of bladder and bowel control, as well as low back pain, leg pain, leg weakness, lower body sensory deficits, and reduced or absent leg reflexes. If you suspect you have Cauda Equina Syndrome, seek emergency medical treatment immediately.