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The lower back is often a point of pain and discomfort relating to spinal issues. This is because the lower back supports a large amount of weight and is also responsible for high levels of motion too. The wear on the lower back can cause vertebra to contact the nerve roots or spinal cord. The severity at which the bone or vertebra slips forward onto the bone below is measured by the Meyerding grading classification. This grading system includes grades I through IV with IV being the most severe level of slippage.
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The Meyerding classification system is a radiographic system based on the severity of vertebral slippage. Slips are classified as grade 1 through grade 4 based on the percentage of translation of the cranial vertebra on the caudal vertebra. The superior end plate of the caudal vertebra is divided into quarters, and the percentage of slippage is recorded. Slippage of 100% or more is referred to as spondyloptosis. This classification system is frequently used because it is simple and reliable.¹
¹R. Vaccaro MD, Alexander. Orthopaedic Knowledge Update. Rosemont: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, 2005.