Dr. Kamal Thapar, MD., PhD., FRCSC., FAANS
1200 Oakleaf Way, Suite A, Altoona, WI 54720

Lumbar Spine Instability

Lumbar spine instability occurs when the vertebrae in the low back do not line up properly and move further out of alignment when an individual bends forward or backward.


– Degenerative disc disease

– Arthritis of the spine

– Disc herniation

– Previous traumatic injury to the low back

– Congenital abnormalities


– Back pain

– Leg pain

– Numbness and tingling

– Pain is aggravated with certain movements (bending forward and bending backward)


Diagnosis of instability in the lumbar spine is based on imaging studies which may include x-rays, MRI, and CT scans.


Depending on the severity of instability and the level or part of the spine affected, conservative management may or may not be an option for an individual. Conservative management may include physical therapy, interventional pain management, and medications. Surgical treatment of lumbar instability may include an anterior lumbar interbody fusion with a posterior lumbar fusion. Other approaches may be used based on each individual patient and may include transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion or an extreme lateral interbody fusion.