Spinal instability (overview)

Last revised by Yuranga Weerakkody on 22 Aug 2021

Spinal instability is a broad term with no generally agreed-upon definition but can be thought of the potential for or actual abnormal segmental spinal motion. 


Spinal microinstability refers to abnormal segmental movement without bony changes 1


Spinal instability is best thought of due to its etiology due to different clinical presentations, pathogenesis and management. Broadly, the three most important types are 2:

There are other causes of spinal instability including infectious, inflammatory and iatrogenic 1.

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