5 Ways To Reduce Spondylolisthesis Inflammation

spondylolisthesis inflammation

When it comes to spondylolisthesis and spondylolysis, pain inflammation is often the culprit. If your goal is to find long-term relief, it is important to learn how to reduce and control inflammation.

This post will give you a few exact ways to help you take the important step of reducing inflammation and relieving pain. You will not only understand what inflammation is, but you will also have some exact steps and contacts to help you with your pain.

Stretching, strengthening and improving mobility are all great for keeping spondy-related pain at bay, but little will help if severe inflammation is present. Inflammation is a common cause of many uncomfortable days and nights associated with spondylolisthesis or spondylolysis.

What is Inflammation?

Inflammation is not a bad thing.  Without it, many of your injuries would never heal. However, too much inflammation over time can be a very bad thing.

Inflammation is simply a protective step by your body to help start the healing process.

As we have discussed in the past, your body’s repetitive poor movement in combination with tight and weak muscles may force extra stress and strain on the low back. For those with a spondylolisthesis or spondylolysis and an already vulnerable spine, this may cause additional slipping in the area of the fracture.

Once this additional slipping occurs, the body goes into repair mode. It begins its recovery process by using inflammation as the main source of help. Ideally inflammation would run its course, healing would occur, and none of us would be reading this site because everyone would feel great. But many spondy patients have areas that are very tight and weak, which can lead to poor movement and repetive stress. Instead of the healing process taking course, the body makes adjustments so you can perform daily functions while you deal with the pain caused by the inflammation at the site of the slip.

You may alter the way you walk, sit or stand. All of these adjustments then put stress and strain on muscle groups that are not meant to handle the stress.  Muscle spasms along with inflammation in soft tissue may occur. You are left with inflammation at the site of the spondy and inflammation of soft tissue and surrounding muscle groups, not to mention a ton of pain.

1. Anti-Inflammitory Medsmagic spondylolisthesis pills

This is one of the most popular choices.  They are quick to take, fast-acting and most of the time they work. Basically, the medications block the pain receptors from communicating the pain to your brain.

The medications will never correct any of your issues; they will only help to mask the pain.

When you have a major flare-up, taking an anti inflammatory might be one of your better options to give some immediate relief, but they are not the long-term answer to helping you rid the pain.

In the past, during my most painful bouts with my spondylolisthesis, I did get relief by taking Naproxen that was prescribed by my doctors.  I tried to only take the medication if I was having extreme pain. I have also had some relief from taking Aleve, which is also a form of Naproxen.

Personally I do not like medications unless they are absolutely needed and I try to stay away from pills if I can. I try to limit them to my most severe flair ups and fortunately, I have not had one in a long time.

There are several types of medication you can take, both over-the-counter drugs and prescribed medications. Talk to your doctor and go over the side effects and risks to arm yourself with all of the information about each drug.  You can then make an educated decision based on your personal needs.

The decision to take medications is ultimately up to you. These are just my past experiences and personal beliefs combined with a few facts. Always seek professional guidance to get advice on what is best for you.

2. Ice and Rest

Ice to help reduce spondylolisthesis inflammationIce and rest are commonly prescribed for swelling.  Ice is most effective if used within 48 hours of the injury.  It has been shown to slow down blood flow and reduce the swelling.

The one problem with using ice for spondylolisthesis is the amount of ice that would be needed.  You might feel some relief from the ice, but soon after you are up and
moving again, your poor movement can cause the inflammation reaction all over again. You would then need more ice and process repeats itself with no end in sight.

Ice can still be effective in minimizing the pain. I personally have never had success using ice with any of my painful bouts.  To be honest, the ice makes me stiff and I feel worse. However, ice might be of help to you and it certainly has little to no side effects (just don’t freeze your skin!)

Resting gives the body a chance to perform its recovery process. Be cautious with too much rest. Staying seated for too long can make issues worse. Even when resting, make sure to get up every half hour or so and move around to get some blood flowing.

3. Chiropractors

Some people swear by the chiropractor and some don’t care for the chiropractor. It really depends on the individual and their personal experiences. Again, I am not telling people what is right or what is wrong, I am just explaining some of my personal experiences with each of these methods to help you increase your knowledge.

The chiropractor uses manipulation to help re-align your body, so it can perform at its optimal level. Sometimes your body can become misaligned, which can lead to a chain reaction and inflammation of soft tissues and muscle spasms. Different strategies are used by different chiropractors from manual realignment to tables that help with realignment.

Chiropractors take into consideration your injury, your body, and your history to make the necessary adjustments to help re-align and counterbalance anything that “gets out of whack.”

If you do see a chiropractor, make sure they are aware of your spondylolisthesis or spondylolysis.

Unfortunately, I have seen more chiropractors that made my issue worse instead of helping me. This does not mean chiropractors do not work; it has just been my personal experience. The one chiropractor that I would HIGHLY recommend resides in Lincolnshire, IL. His name is Dr. Robert Scott.

He is the only chiropractor I have visited who took time to explain my misalignments and help reduce some of my inflammation from my last episode. Dr. Scott did a phenomenal job and if you are fortunate enough to be in his area, I would recommend giving him a call. He can help reduce the inflammation with some of his techniques. Dr. Scott is also a big believer in proper exercise and proper movement, and I have been lucky enough to help out a few of his patients as well.

Some chiropractors do a great job in reversing the effects of misalignment and imbalance, and others not so much. I wouldn’t come to a conclusion after working with one chiropractor, unless of course it worked.

Your best bet is to avoid setbacks and flare-ups by getting stronger and more flexible in the right areas. Sometimes accidents do happen and you need to relieve the swelling fast and effectively. The help of a chiropractor might just do the trick for you.

4. Massage Therapy

When I say massage, I am not referring to the type of massage you would receive at a day spa or chain massage clinic. I am referring to active release therapy or A.R.T.

A.R.T. is a type of massage that focuses on overused areas of muscle, tissues, and ligaments.  The soft tissue and muscles surrounding the low back, hips, IT bands, and glutes are just a few of the areas of the spondy community that become overworked and inflamed.

An A.R.T. specialist can dig around and work out these knots and inflamed tissues.  I have experimented with different forms of A.R.T. along with personally knowing someone who is certified. The results can be amazing. Not only can it help to eliminate and reduce scar tissue, it can help to improve range of motion and flexibility.

If you have inflammation and overuse, give a certified A.R.T. specialist a try. You can visit this website for more information and a way to find someone certified near you.

5. Dry Needling

Dry needling a method many are not familiar with. I personally have not yet had the technique used on me, but SpondySolution co-creator Todd Bitzer recently received his certification with dry needling and I am sure to experiment with it in the near future.

Some confuse dry needling with acupuncture, but the techniques are different. Dry needling works by initiating a muscle twitch in areas of overuse, also called  “trigger point.”  Inflammation is sometimes caused by these “trigger points.” Overused and stressed tissues can become inflamed and irritated, dry needling helps to is to achieve a local twitch response to release muscle tension and pain.

You can read more about dry needling by visiting this website.

You can also find a certified individual by searching across the tabs at the top of the page and clicking on “find a therapist.” If you have tried other ways of reducing inflammation and have not found great results, give dry needling a try. I have heard fantastic things about the results.


These are just a few ways to help reduce the inflammation associated with your spondylolisthesis. Many people make the mistake of eliminating the inflammation and carrying on with their lives, only to have a setback a few weeks later. Get the inflammation under control and then begin a proper program to help you gain proper mobility, stability, strength and flexibility. That way you can avoid inflammation all together.

We would love to hear anything that has helped you control your spondylolisthesis or spondylolysis inflammation. Chime in below and let us know.

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Leave A Reply (39 comments so far)

  1. jo sustek
    5 years ago

    Thank you for all this great information.I had a spinal series that shows spondylothesis without fracture.I have a lot of pain.I see my MD at present,and the anti inflammatory meds he wants have way too many side effects.One being heart attack.I do have a good chiropractor, but at this time perfer to let it resolve with rest, mild stretching,and aleve.Thank you again.I look forward to more newsletters.

    • Spondy
      5 years ago

      Hi Jo. Thanks for the comment. I was in a similar boat. I hated the side effects of the anti inflammatory’s! Stay tuned because we will be providing much more information that can be of use. As always, chime in if you have any questions. Best of luck!

  2. David Armstrong
    3 years ago

    Awesome reading…one additional thing that helps me is pilates reformer exercises. They really help with core strength and flexibility….try that in conjunction with diet and exercise and you’ll most likely feel much better….not perfect but better.

    • Spondy
      3 years ago

      Thanks for the tip David! I am glad you enjoy the information and I hope it helps you in your spondy battle.

  3. Salo
    3 years ago

    Hello and thanks again. Very clear and informative. I found very beneficial NeuroKinetic therapy together with stability and strength exercises, as well as minimize inflamatory food like white sugar, etc.

    • SpondyInfo
      3 years ago

      Thanks for the tips Salo. I could not agree with you more on the foods comment. Since I have improved my food quality over the years in combination with improving my movement, I have noticed a significant drop in flare ups. Thanks again for the tip!

  4. Donna
    3 years ago

    Wishing you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. vera
    3 years ago

    Thank you for the information. I am so happy to find a website that addresses this painful issue. I see a chiropractor that I gave access to my MRI’s so that he knows specifically how to do my alignments – especially no twisting! Its been a big help. I still have to take lots of meds in the morning just to get up though. Trying to change my life so that I stop doing so much for others which is also can wear down our spine. Love this site!!!!

    • SpondyInfo
      3 years ago

      Hi Vera. Thanks so much for the comment. I am glad the site is helping you and I hope you can learn even more about your spondy as you continue to read the site. Best of luck!

  6. Rhiannon
    3 years ago

    Thank you for the article.

    Since I am severely intolerant to NSAIDs—I go into organ failure now—and nearly every pharmaceutical, finding natural products that worked was important. My diet is quite healthy so I was able to notice that processed sugar caused instant inflammation to my spondy area.But for extra help, there is a product by ~~ Webber Naturals~~ Osteo Joint Ease for chronic pain with InflamEase.

    I strongly recommend researching all the ingredients to find out if this product would be compatable. In combination with all other life tools and helpers, this stuff works. I am an herbalist so I understand the skeptism that follows using plants for health–however considering what NSAIDs do to the insides of the body, it’s really worth a try. One container will last you 5 weeks which is enough time for it to get to work and show you the difference when that container runs out.

    • SpondyInfo
      3 years ago

      Thanks for the information Rhiannon. I agree with you on the sugar comment as well. Since drastically reducing my sugar intake I have noticed big differences in how I feel.

  7. rushik
    3 years ago

    Thanks for all this info.

    Getting hot or cold shower will help.

    I suggest to eat eggs daily, get protein & nutrition powder, & 2-3 times exercises will help a lot.
    Also your stomach must be good, if you have any issue with stomach, pain will occur.
    So try to get food little low and stay active.

    • SpondyInfo
      3 years ago

      Thanks for the tips Rushik!

  8. Susan
    2 years ago

    For some reason, when I do my deep glute exercise I learned in physical therapy, I get major relief immediately! Mostly all of my pelvic exercises help as well. But be super careful with exercising during a flare-up!!!!!

    • SpondyInfo
      2 years ago

      Hi Susan. Thanks for the tip. I am in a similar boat as you, glue exercises – when performed correctly – provide me with a big relief.

  9. David Pattenden
    2 years ago

    I must say that since finding this website it has helped my Spondy but perhaps more importantly it has helped with my depression as it is one of the few places run by people who understand Spondy, IE we are all different.

    The movement information has been especially beneficial as I have been reading ‘Move your DNA, restore your health through natural movement’, which was recommended by Spondy.com, a great book that the more you read, the obvious faults in my movement have become. I have one thigh bone 1 inch longer than the other and a congenital hip that has caused me to walk with a waddle since birth so I cant fully follow the advice.

    Since walking with my feet pointed straight forward the ache in my right knee (cartilage damage) has almost gone and the ache in my lower back has also diminished.

    I also have an appointment for a Full movement assessment prior to physiotherapy.

    Regards and thanks Dave

    • SpondyInfo
      2 years ago

      I am glad the information is helping Dave. Having this condition can be very tough. Both mentally and physically. Having resources to discuss situations with can really help. Let me know how your assessment goes!

  10. David Pattenden
    2 years ago

    Hi Justin,

    Had my Functional Movement Assessment today and what an eye opener.

    It mainly showed me how imbalanced my body is comparing left and right side and also just how several muscles compensate for others that either are weak due to not being used (I thought I used them all).

    I am due another couple of sessions were I will be show exercises that hopefully will help re balance my body.

    I am grateful that you suggested a FMA and would recommend such to everybody prior to an exercise programme, especially those with Spondy.

    • SpondyInfo
      2 years ago

      That’s awesome David! I am glad you are seeing how important movement really is. It is so easy to overlook compensations. I hope your future sessions will help to improve upon these weaknesses and get you moving and feeling better. Keep me updated, I would love to hear about your progress!

  11. Anna McDonnell
    2 years ago

    Thanks for the post. It was really useful to hear your opinion on the anti-inflammatories. I have just been diagnosed with mild Spondy and my doctor prescribed me a real artillery of meds. I really didn’t feel happy about taking so much medication, especially the cortisone shot, which I took once for a shoulder injury and it really didn’t seem to help. That’s good to hear that it isn’t completely necessary unless you are in a lot of pain. Regarding dry needling, I had a bad experience with a shoulder inflammation, which it aggravated considerably. I strongly recommend people to seek a practitioner who is experienced in this technique. I have found that Pilates has helped me. I am a professional acrobat and circus performer so this diagnosis has been devastating news but this website has been extremely helpful and reassuring. I’d love to hear more from you about experiences of other professional athletes or dancers.

    • SpondyInfo
      2 years ago

      Hi Anna. Thanks for sharing. The thing about medications when it comes to spondy’s is that they help to mask or cover up the pain. They do not fix or address the cause of the pain. This can lead to a never ending cycle or more and more meds. The key is to address the cause of the pain, not cover it up. I agree with you, make sure anyone practicing any time of medicine is properly certified and knows what they are doing. Dry needling is simply a tool in a practitioners toolbox. Combined with proper exercise and stretching it can be very powerful, but again, it depends on how it is used. Don’t let this diagnosis slow you down. Learn about your personal weaknesses, improve them and continue to get better. Best of luck!

  12. Dianne
    2 years ago

    I am allergic to naproxen and derivatives so just have to battle through. I always found my heated wheat pack gave me relief and each morning when my husband got up he would reheat my discarded pack, now on the floor, and reapply it to my painful area. Even in sleep I would feel the warmth and mutter my thanks!!

    • SpondyInfo
      2 years ago

      Thanks for sharing Dianne!

  13. Armand
    2 years ago

    Thanks for the info. My last episode caused by an awkward lifting and turning motion for about 30 minutes resulted in the my most severe and dibilitating 4 weeks. My PT has worked on me before and back to no pain and slowing trying to get back to training for tri-athlons, just started swimming again. Wondering if you or anyone has thoughts on recovery times, and alternate exercise options going forward. Thx

    • SpondyInfo
      2 years ago

      Hi Armand. Thanks for the post. In my opinion estimated recovery times are very tough to predict. The main reason is because everyone deals with pain so differently and the exact extent of injury is unknown (unless you had an MRI, doctor visit, or x rays following your accident). When it comes to me personally, I tend to listen to my body. I always take getting back into things slowly and steadily and use a progressive form of exercise as my main method. Meaning I start on the easier side of things and progress to more difficult things every time I have a setback. This ensures a safe and pain free recovery.

  14. Nancie
    2 years ago

    Every time I get in my car and drive anywhere, my back goes into spasms to the point I can’t stand up or walk. It has gotten to the point I don’t go anywhere. I spend a lot of time laying around because it is that bad. What can I do??? Sitting is my major trigger!

    • SpondyInfo
      2 years ago

      Hi Nancie. The question you need to figure out is WHY is sitting causing so much pain? Is it because the sitting position shortens muscles in your hips – thus tugging on the connected muscles in the low back causing spasms? Do you have a core weakness or imbalance that leads to more stress and strain on the low back? Unfortunately I cannot answer these questions for you over the internet, they are best left up to a professional who can observe and see you in person. I encourage you to read this article as I explain this more and I also talk about which direction you can go to find help:


      I hope the article helps!

  15. Pam Merten
    2 years ago

    Great site! Dry needling is wonderful. While it make take a massage therapist 20 minutes to release a trigger point, it takes about 10 seconds or so to release one via dry needling. Some of the major trigger points cannot be reached at via massage. Dry needling releases those very deep knots that, in my case, had needed to be released probably for years. I highly recommend it.

    • SpondyInfo
      2 years ago

      Hi Pam. Thanks for the kind words and advice for others. I agree that dry needling is a great way to attack trigger points. Thanks again!

  16. Rachel Roth
    10 months ago

    Dear Justin, do you know if a diagnosis of stage I to II Spondy is considered a disability?

    Also do you know of any support groups for Spondy ppl in New York City, not surrounding burroughs but in the city itself, nothing shows up.

    Surgeons just want to operate and pain doctors anxious to use Epidurals. However, I need some help living with this I use grabbers, cushions, cane, and every day movements are a struggle always on the verge of an onset of what I call episode you call flare ups. Its like living in constant fear.

    Justin, what are the experiences of those with Transformidal Epi’s I have read you experience numbness, some pain at time of injection, and many scarey scarey side effects. None of these are told to you by Spine Specialists they just urge you to have the shots. Also Epi’s are not good if people have any Osteo as they increase brittle bones by over 20% each injection and the spine drs never even have you do a bone density test before sending you for eipidurals, anyone’s experience on this is much appreciated.

    Thanks ever so much
    Rachel NYC

    • SpondyInfo
      10 months ago

      Hi Rachel. You ask a great question in regards to a spondy being a disability. I am assuming you are referring to Social Security? And I have to be honest, I am not really for sure of the answer as the definition of disability by the social security website is pretty broad. This would be a question you would need to run by someone who works in this area.

      I am sorry, I do not know of any support groups in the NYC area. But keep an eye on our Facebook page as we are making some improvement here in the near future and we hope to get some groups started.

      I understand your pain and frustration with Surgeons. In my experience they seem to be biased towards surgery. I was told once by a doctor that I really trusted that cortisone shots had a 50/50 chance of helping. Sometimes they did and sometimes they did not. It really was a coin flip. The downside is obviously the cost. Without insurance they can be very expensive. Personally I have no experience with Transformidal Epidurals and I have not discussed with other if they have had any success. Perhaps a reader of the blog can comment if they have any experience with them.

      Sorry I cannot be of more help and if you have any further questions, feel free to reach out to me…Best of luck!

  17. sides
    10 months ago

    I have had these symtoms for two years:Shooting pains in the left leg, discomfort in the left hip, tightness or muscle pain in the low back (L3-to L5,/S1, inability to move due to pain and the overall feeling of weakness.
    I had back surgery last June 2016 to fix these symtoms (L3-L4); unfortunately, I was uneducated about SPONDY which was left alone (L4-L5). Thanks to your “website”, I signed up and have quickly got up to speed on your 3 PATHS to REHABILITATE MYSELF”! I had my main “Sports Doctor” complete your SPONDY questionnaire, which was extremely helpful for my own (and his) knowledge
    of my perpetual condition and a year of little progress . Upon completion of the FLEX X-RAYS of my lower back area, my Doctor (finally) has my diagnosis: SPONDY; Grade I, Unstable- worsened with flexion and improved with extension: Also Stenosis throughout. And moderate to severe “facet anthropathy” @ L4/L5. He has recommended P.T. again for the SPONDY area (L4/L5)….and “NO
    Flexion” exercises. I have started with a new P.T. firm and hope for the best. Incidentally The new P.T. conducted a SFMA recently; and the SFMA did NOT diagnose the SPONDY “Unstability” ( and therefore missed my particular flexion WEAKNESS. KUDOS for the XRAY diagnosis. Hopefully, I will now start to better understand “How to live with a unstable SPONDY, get well, and rehabilitate my life to the best that I am capable.
    Thanks for your continued insight.
    I welcome your thoughts, advise and counsel.

    • SpondyInfo
      10 months ago

      Hi Sides. Thanks for sharing your story. It’s important to understand that the SFMA does not diagnose conditions. It is simply a tool for the clinician to use to help pinpoint possible areas of weakness. These weakness areas may or may not be contributing to your symptoms, but it is important for the clinician to observe the entire body, which is what the SFMA does. Hopefully this will give your therapist a great idea of where you may have some movement related issues/weaknesses that could be contributing to the symptoms you mention. Keep learning and striving to improve! Stay in contact in regards to your journey and best of luck!

  18. kit
    9 months ago

    I have tried to get access to your Ebook without success. Please help!

    • SpondyInfo
      9 months ago

      Hi Kit,

      Sorry for the issues.

      I encourage you to visit this page and and try signing up again. If you continue to have a problem after entering your information again, please contact me and I will get this resolved. You can reach me at info@spondyinfo.com


  19. kit
    9 months ago

    Have had epidural steroid injection for my spondy and sciatic nerve pain.
    It was expensive and did not help at all.

    • SpondyInfo
      9 months ago

      Hi Kit. Thanks for sharing your information. Unfortunately, I hear this often. The injections really seem to have a 50/50 chance of effectiveness. I once had a doctor that I really trusted tell me this. Hopefully you find the site helpful and can find improvement in other ways.

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