What Is Grade One Retrolisthesis?

Updated April 17, 2017

Retrolisthesis is a back condition in which one vertebra is pushed out of place, usually due to injury. A grade one retrolisthesis is the most minor kind.


Four different grades are used to measure the severity of a retrolisthesis. Grade one is the most minor, with the vertebra only slightly misaligned (up to 25 per cent), while grade four is the worst, with the vertebra completely misaligned.


A blow to the spine can knock vertebrae out of alignment, causing retrolisthesis. The instability that results can press a vertebra further out of position, worsening the condition.


Because grade one retrolisthesis is a relatively minor condition, symptoms are usually mild. A patient may experience back instability or pain. In more severe cases, which can develop if the condition is not treated, spinal damage can occur.


For grade one retrolisthesis, non-surgical treatment is usually possible. Physically realigning the vertebra should allow the condition to heal.


Surgery is rarely needed to correct grade one retrolisthesis. However, if the retrolisthesis poses a significant health risk, surgery may be used to realign the spine.

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About the Author

Abe Robinson has been a freelance writer since he graduated from college in spring 2009. He has written for a variety of websites and has provided content for the University of Chicago's "Ceremonial Words – Ritual Acts." He also holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from that university, receiving honors for his B.A. Thesis "Anglo-American Perceptions of Japanese Imperialism in Taiwan."