What Is The Best Kind Of Spondylolisthesis Rehab?

Before we go into detail about answering this question first let’s define the term rehabilitation or “rehab” for short.  This way we are all on the same page going forward.

I like the definition I picked up from thefreedictionary.com. They define rehabilitation as “to restore good health or usual life, through therapy and education”.

So when we refer to rehab we could be referring to:

  • Chiropractic care
  • Physical therapy
  • Massage therapy
  • ART (Active Release Therapy)
  • Dry needling
  • Acupuncture
  • Various forms of exercise and movement training

And I am sure I have left out a few along the way.  The point is rehab is not just limited to one thing.  

So this brings us to the question in the topic of this post.  What is the best kind of therapy for your spondylolisthesis or spondylolysis?

The quick and straightforward answer would be simply…..Whatever works!

I know that is not what you want to hear, but with the various factors that make your spondy unique such as grades, types, causes, background history, personal weaknesses and strengths, etc. it is impossible to say which one is the best for YOU.  

I wish we could just provide you with a simple answer, point you to the best rehab specialist and guarantee relief, but that is not realistic. The reason why we provide answers such as this is to open your eyes, educate you and help you understand that everyone is different.

I am sure there are some studies out there providing statistics for both the positives and negatives of each kind of rehab mentioned above, but when it comes to spondy’s and their unique characteristics I truly believe you can throw most of those stats out the door.

We have received hundreds of emails since creating this site a short time ago and everyone has had different experiences with rehab.  Some people love their chiropractic care and some have had horrible experiences.  Some have had great success with physical therapy and others not so much.

manual physio and therapy techniques performed

Finding the right type of rehab for you is an important step to moving and feeling better.

Personally, I know what works for me and my spondy and the key for you is to find what is right for you. For me it took a combination of physical therapy, chiropractic work, and various forms of movement training and exercise to finally get over the hump of constant pain. But that did not come with my first experience with each of these methods. It took multiple visits, and various different professionals helping me. 

The main point to take away from this article is to find someone within the area of rehab you are going with that has experience with spondy’s, has care for their patients and is great at what they do. 

Some rehab professionals have certifications in various forms of rehab to provide you with multiple ways of improving upon your weaknesses. This greatly increases your chances of having a quality experience with whatever rehab option you choose.

My advice would be to keep an open mind, search for the best in whatever area you are searching and ask questions about your specific situation in relation to your spondy. This will provide you with the greatest chance of a successful rehab!

And do not be scared to try something new or try something twice. Often times visiting different rehab professionals in the same field will give you different results. Do not give up after a few visits.

What successful or negative experiences have you had with the various forms of rehab? We would love to hear about it….We encourage you to comment below to share your experiences. The more information you share, the more people you may help in the process. 

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Leave A Reply (9 comments so far)


  1. Bette Vidrine
    2 years ago

    I am using a combination of physical therapy, pilates, egoscue, walking, swimming with a snorkel, and a brace when needed. It all helps when I keep it balanced. I have not had to take pain meds in over a year. Not that I am pain free all the time, but it stays at a level I can live with without the mind numbing meds.


    • SpondyInfo
      2 years ago

      Thanks for sharing your story Bette!


  2. Bette
    2 years ago

    I forgot the most important: prayer. Many of my friends and my Bible study group prayed for me a lot! And I also forgot to mention massage, which I didn’t start for about six months after diagnosis and after approval from my physical therapist.


    • SpondyInfo
      2 years ago

      Thanks Bette!


  3. larry
    2 years ago

    Hi, I love coming on here and have got some really helpful tips, since my spondy I have tried everything possible, but the only relief I recieved was when I attened a Myo therapy clinic in my local area, which consisted of Skennar (check spelling) along with Shiatsu and deep tissue massage, and I am back nearly good as new doing regular training albeit modified. this is after I was told the only option for me would be surgery


    • SpondyInfo
      2 years ago

      Thanks Larry! I am also a fan of deep tissue massage. I just received one yesterday and am feeling a little sore today, but in a good way. Thanks for posting and sharing your tips.


  4. Tina
    2 years ago

    In addition to spondy, both of my SI joints are “shot” (I tell people that’s the medical term, as that is what doctors tell me when they see my MRIs). After trying nerve ablation, multiple injections in multiple places, traditional chiropractic, acupuncture, deep tissue massage, and physical therapy, the only thing that keeps me mobile is ART. I have a standing appointment once a week with a chiro/therapist who does ART and sometimes Graston on the worst of the knots I get in my legs from compensating. He not only helps me stay mobile, but also helps me understand what’s going on with the rest of me (like my feet) because of my messed up back. I am still in daily pain (and still take a moderate does of a narcotic and Meloxicam so I can keep working), but I can walk and go shopping again without crying.


  5. Claribel Shumway
    1 year ago

    I have struggled to find treatment / at first the physical therapists I went to wanted me to bycycle and they pulled my leg about in a most painful way! Being on a gym bike is so painful but I found I could move in WATER / so water bicycling on a styrofoam noodle keeps the back straight esp good for lower 4 and 5 lumbar that are out/ but the legs are moving ! This paddling as if I were on a horse has saved me! And I found Hendrickson body work a gentle but deeply helpful approach. And tens electric work . And ART AS IN PAINTING AND MUSIC help as they lift one up and over. But it’s a constant struggle and mysterious to most doctors and therapists as to what to do ? It great you have an anchor for people struggling with this diagnosis ! Thank you


    • SpondyInfo
      1 year ago

      Hi Claribel. Thanks for sharing and the kind words about the site. You right, it is a constant struggle. Unfortunately I have had MANY more negative experiences when looking for help than positive ones. My only thought is that this condition is so fluid and has so many different layers to it the conventional doctor/therapy approach of a one size fits all rehab prescription is usually not successful in any way.

      For example if you and I both suffered from a broken arm and we went to two different doctors they would ask us what happened, look at our arms, x-ray the area, diagnose us, then treat us (probably a cast and recovery time). We would both be on our way to improvement. Spondy’s are so different. Your spondy could be so different than mine. Between the spondy grade and type, your past injury history, etc. there are so many layers to the condition. On top of that, your bodies movement is different than mine and it plays such a vital role in the improvement process. All of these things need to be addressed in the rehab process. Thanks again for the post!

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