Diagnosis is by an Orthopaedician. Physical examination and other tests are conducted.
Consult an Orthopaedician
Explain the onset and duration of symptoms
Discuss your daily activities and physical stress
Inform if you had any spinal injury.
Your doctor will conduct a Physical examination to confirm the condition. It includes,
Observing your posture to get an idea of the severity of the disease
Observing movements of the back, which maybe limited and painful
Palpation of the affected area, where the muscles are tight, which may cause pain on touch.
Special test You will be asked to raise your leg while keeping it straight; if uncomfortable and painful, this test will confirm the presence of spondylolisthesis.
X-ray, CT, MRI and Bone scans are other tests that your doctor will probably order to confirm the diagnosis.
Here is some helpful medical jargon!
The pars interarticularis is a portion of the lumbar spine joining the upper and lower joints. Trouble occurs when this portion cracks or fractures resulting in spondylolysis. An X-ray, giving an angled or oblique view, would confirm the condition. Next, your doctor will trace around the vertebral body and the bony ring on the X-ray film. The normal outline looks like a small dog; whereas, when a fracture occurs, the dog will appear to have a neck collar! This image substantiates the diagnosis of Spondylolysis.
When the fracture at the pars widens it shifts the fifth lumbar vertebra forward onto the sacrum of the pelvic bone. This results in spondylolisthesis. Your doctor will determine the amount of forward slippage by measuring the standing lateral spine X-rays.