How Poor Movement Can Affect Your Spondy – And How To Fix It

spondylolisthesis movement

Here at Spondyinfo.com we emphasize the importance of the quality of your movement. If your goal is to find a way to move and feel better from your spondylolisthesis or spondylolysis, you need to give yourself the best opportunity of long-term relief by establishing a solid base of quality fundamental movement. This can be difficult if you don’t know what to look for.

But after reading this article you will have all the information you need to get on your way to improving how you move. Pay close attention to these three tips:

Developing a solid foundation of movement takes three things:

1. Finding out what your current movement is like (identifying your personal weaknesses).

2. Learning what you can do to improve your current weaknesses.

3. Consistently working on your current weaknesses until they improve.

Following this simple three-step path will not only help you to improve how your body moves as a whole, but it will provide your body with a solid foundation to build upon.

To explain the importance of establishing quality movement there is an analogy we like to use that helps to explain this concept. We like to compare the human body to a house.

Let’s pretend you have a house with a poor foundation, poor support and overall poor structure. With all of this instability this house becomes almost impossible to build upon.

You cannot add rooms, additional stories or anything else to this unstable house without first improving the foundation.

Spondylolisthesis Analogy

You cannot expect good results when you attempt to build on a poor foundation.

If you tried to build on this house and its poor foundation it may remain intact for a short amount of time before most likely crumbling to the ground. Much like the unstable house, if you have a poor quality of movement you are more than likely unstable.

And if you attempt to add strength to your body without first addressing your movement, you are performing a task similar to adding an extra floor to your already unstable house. This is a recipe for disaster and many cases: more spondy pain!

If your house has a solid foundation (quality foundation of movement), the chances of this additional floor staying intact and solid over several years increases greatly.

spondylolisthesis analogy

Building onto a solid foundation leads to a much greater chance lasting changes.

The solid foundation allows for an optimal structure of support that can provide a solid base for the additional layers built on top. As long as you have a contractor and construction team (rehab professionals) who know what they are doing, your solid house and new add on should be stable, strong and safe. If you maintain your house and keep up with maintenance, it should be solid and safe for years to come.

This is an analogy I often used with spondy patients, specifically those with grades 1 and 2 spondylolysisthesis.

Now, the question turns to “How do I go about developing a solid foundation or fixing my poor movement?”

First you need to find a good construction team (or rehabilitation professionals) to help you follow the three steps I listed in the beginning of this article.

Again, they are:

1. Finding out what your current movement is like (identifying your personal weaknesses).

2. Learning what you can do to improve your current weaknesses.

3. Consistently working on your current weaknesses until they improve.

If you are confused on where to begin, make sure you take a look at our Step-By-Step Spondy Improvement Path.

Action #1: Find out your current movement

One way to do this is to make sure and find a rehab professional who uses full body screening to analyze your overall movement. This will help you to answer question #1 and determine what your current movement is like, along with what weaknesses you have. We list several helpful resources on our Spondy Toolbox page.

The method we use and mention often is a combination of the FMS and SFMA. We also use other methods, but these two are a great start for many.

Our Spondy Toolbox page also provides links to help you locate professionals in your area who carry these certifications.

Action #2: Learn what you can do to improve.

Next, you need to communicate and talk openly with your rehab professional about what your current weaknesses are. Do not just sit back and perform exercises and stretches without knowing why you are doing them.

A big beginner mistake that many spondylolisthesis and spondylolysis patients make is to run to the internet and grab random core exercises and various stretches without first understanding their specific condition and needs. 

Ask the professional why you are doing what you are doing and what you are aiming to improve. This will help you to develop an understanding of how your body is working and what the areas of weakness are.

Action #3: Consistently work on your weaknesses

Lastly, consistently work on these weaknesses. Even when your treatment comes to an end. I cannot express this point enough.

In today’s world we are programmed to get anything we want at the drop of a dime.  If we do not get instant results, we search for a faster way to get those results. We simply try to bypass good old-fashioned hard work in an attempt to find some easier way to accomplish our goals.

Improving movement and thus decreasing spondy pain does not happen overnight.

More than likely it took years to develop this poor movement and pain and more than likely it will take a while of consistent, hard work to improve upon it. So discuss with your rehab pro what you can do on your own to work on your weaknesses.

Or, if you have been cleared by your doctor, start a safe spondylolisthesis or spondylosis exercise program designed to attack some of these weaknesses.

As you can see, your movement plays a vital role in how you move and feel. If you have spondylolisthesis or spondylolysis pain and have yet to address your movement, I highly encourage you to do so. It can greatly improve your chances of moving and feeling better.

Now I have a question for you: Have you addressed your movement yet?

Please comment below to let me know about your experiences or any thoughts you have about this article. I would also love to hear any questions you may have.

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Leave A Reply (33 comments so far)


  1. Brian
    3 years ago

    Thanks for the article.
    For several months I have been trying to move to get relief.
    I am working with a orthopedic surgeon, a PT, pilates instructor and a chiropractor, and haven’t found anything to help my pain. Obviously, everyone’s body is different, but when can you see some relief?


    • SpondyInfo
      3 years ago

      Hi Brian. Thanks for the comment and I am glad you enjoyed the article. You ask a great question….and it is one that many spondy patients share. However, there is no set in stone path for each spondy patient and therefore everyone has a different time table for noticing improvement. This time table is mainly dependent on your personal situation in combination with the approach your team of rehab professionals are taking. Remember…..Every spondy patient is unique. They are each presented with a unique set of situations that help to determine the path that will provide the best percentages of improvement. For example, the kind of spondy you have, the grade of your spondy, your current movement skill sets, other conditions or past injuries that are playing a role, etc. And with so many different variables it is important to start with some kind of movement screen or analysis that will help determine where you are at and where you need to go. Has any of these rehab professionals addressed your overall movement? Have you had a chance to improve how you move as a whole? The one thing to keep in mind is that improving movement is not as easy as performing one or two exercises over a few sessions. More than likely (for most grade 1 and 2 spondy patients) it has taken years to develop these bad habits and it will take consistent effort to improve upon them. Everyone is different, but the first and in our opinion best place to start is by addressing your overall movement with a certified professional. Then you can work on improving that and seeing some improvement. I would love to hear if you have any further comments on this or additional questions. Thanks again!


  2. fred loewebaum
    3 years ago

    Brian, I feel your frustration. Here’s something that that might help you. While at a PT session several weeks ago my instructor asked me to walk across the room and back. After completing
    the stroll she informed me that I was walking incorrectly. Needless to say I was taken back a little.
    What do you mean I was walking wrong? She informed me that there was very little movement in my hips and my arms were glued to my sides. I had no fluid movement. We talked and worked on a
    style that utilized more arm and hip action.
    I think that over the years I was developing defenses that I used to protect myself from injuring my spondy. The arm movement seems to help keep my spin mobile. And I have noticed a slight decrease in pain. Best of luck Fred


    • SpondyInfo
      3 years ago

      Great points Fred. The bodies natural defense against pain is to guard against it. The body will compensate in anticipation against pain and do what ever is necessary to avoid that painful feeling. Often times – and over time – these compensations turn into habits and lead to poor movement. Your body is trying to help avoid the pain, but it actually can lead to additional issues due to the compensations that are created. Great tip Fred and it shows how important it is to have an open relationship with your rehab professional to talk about these various issues. Thanks for the post.


  3. Sue
    3 years ago

    Thanks for your ebook and your articles. It’s a journey dealing with spondylolisthesis and each day I learn something new. I am so thankful that my physiotherapist is so knowledgeable. He keeps me on the right path to better posture and strengthening the weak spots in me. I walk and breathe poorly! Who knew!?


    • SpondyInfo
      3 years ago

      Hi Sue. Thanks for stopping by and dropping a comment. It sounds like you have some great help on your side. I have been learning more and more about the role breathing plays in human movement and it really is an eye opening thing. So many people who are in pain breathe incorrectly. Stay in touch and let us know how you improvement goes as you continue to work on these things.Best of luck moving forward!


  4. Linda
    3 years ago

    i did not know the name of my condition which I’ve had for 8 years until my recent MRI. I looked up spondylothesis and found your site. From there I found a movement specialist SFMA and have had 5 or 6 sessions. I know I’m going to have to work hard for many months but I have a huge amount of confidence in this person. Today he explained how I’ve got to get my core stabilized. And I’ve been working on my extremely tight hips and lower body. It’s costly, but I’m worth it. I’m 72 and figure I’ve got a lot of living to do. I bought Move Your DNA and from that book I bought The Roll Model:A Step by Step guide to Erase Pain by Jill Miller. Ordered the balls she has developed. Back ordered until end of January though.
    Thanks for your site and ease of corresponding with you.
    BTW, what does website mean under name and email?


    • SpondyInfo
      3 years ago

      Hi Linda. Thanks so much for sharing your story! It sounds like you are on a great path. You have located – what sounds to be a very qualified individual – that most importantly, you trust. This is a HUGE component in moving and feeling better. It sounds like you also have a great attitude. I encourage you to keep moving forward, stay positive, and keep enjoying life. Please keep me updated along your journey. I love hearing personal stories from our readers.
      The “website” under name and email is to help us know if people are commenting simply to comment or to post what is called “spam” or they may be trying to promote their website. Unfortunately, some people just look for websites that relate to what they are selling and post advertisements in the comments sections. Sometimes they post links to their website in an attempt to get readers on our site to visit their site. We are trying to keep our comments sections for spondylolisthesis and spondylolysis readers only. Thanks again!


  5. Noreen
    3 years ago

    I have been working on my movement while getting epidural injections. My PT diagnosed all of my weakness, mainly hips, ankles and glutes. He has been a god-send and I can’t say enough good about him. I have a good exercise plan and it is making me stronger. I feel a lot better after exercise. My first epidural gave me about 50% pain relief, the second hardly any more and I get the third tomorrow. I still have a problem with sitting comfortably and still ice my back regularly.

    If I don’t get any more relief from this third epidural, I plan to see my chiropractor and go on her DRX therapy. Do you have any opinions on that? It took away all my pain 7 years ago when I had my first flareup, but it wasn’t as bad as this time.

    Thanks,
    Noreen


    • SpondyInfo
      3 years ago

      Hi Noreen. Having a PT that is knowledgeable about the human body and understands how it works in a big part of the improvement process. Trusting and believing in them is also a component that many can not find. It sounds like you are on the right path! As far as decompression therapy or DRX goes (it is involves traction), I do not have any personal experience with it. So it is hard for me to comment on it. However, I did work with Spondyinfo.com co-creator and licensed physical therapist Todd Bitzer on this topic for a blog post. You can read more about decompression therapy here: https://spondyinfo.com/spondys-and-traction-what-should-you-do/

      Best of luck!


  6. Karen Moss
    2 years ago

    I saw an interview about how Angie Harmon had a steroid shot in her back and her doctor told her she does not have a butt. Whether he was kidding or not, I do not know, but my mouth dropped at the comment. I have always thought about the dynamics of this because I do not have any butt muscles either, totally straight, but I do have Anterolisthesis now. I never had a butt and would always bend over to pick stuff up with my back and not my knees since childhood. It sounds laughable but is there any research or truth to this?? I am 48. Should I be trying to strengthen my core and tone and develop butt muscles this late in life? Is it possible to change these dynamics to create a better posture? Could being butt-less have been the cause of my back slip over time? I don’t know who else to ask and where to research this farther? Thank You, Karen Moss


    • SpondyInfo
      2 years ago

      Hi Karen,

      Thanks for reaching out and you ask a fantastic question.

      I do not think the doctor was kidding, but there is much more to the answer than just not having a butt.

      Personally, I have a very weak glute muscles as well. And I also believe poor firing, weak glute muscles can contribute to back pain. Studies have shown this. If you are interested in learning more about this a quick google search for Stuart McGill will bring up tons of work.

      Whatever the reason for the weakness – things such as anatomics, injuries, genetics, etc – gluteal amnesia (a term coined by the famous back pain doctor I mentioned above) can play a major role in altering how people move on a day to day basis.

      The glutes or butt as everyone calls it is the largest muscle in the human body. It plays a HUGE roll in movement. From helping to keep the body up against gravity to providing support and movement. Without a properly working backside many things are altered in an attempt to compensate and help out. One such area can be the back.

      This of course is a simplified answer, but I hope it helps and makes sense.

      My suggestion is to make sure you have your overall momement addressed. Simply trying to strengthen it on your own may not help (and sometimes can make it worse) due to whatever issues may be present that lead to the weakness.

      I hope that helps and best of luck!


  7. David L. Baxter
    2 years ago

    Inaddition to some bulging discs (not HNP), foraminal stenosis on both sides, and central canal stenosis, I have spondylolisthesis (L4 on L5). In addition to playingl fast pitch softball, baseball
    (even at age 51), tennis, etc., at age 37 I became a runner and ran for 22 years. I am 72 years old and it’s driving me crazy to not be able to do cardiovascularl workouts. Would it be dangerous for me to try and do some walking on a treadmill? Thank you very much.

    David


    • SpondyInfo
      2 years ago

      Hi David. I understand your frustration. The inactivity is one of the hardest things to deal with. As humans, we are built to move and when pain takes over and prevents this, it can be very hard. Walking is something that I have recently focused on more and more. I try to take 30 min a day a walk around 2 miles (outside). This has been going great and I feel it has really helped me. I however, only have a spondy. And due to the various differences in your body and mine, I cannot tell you if walking is safe for you. This is a question that would be best suited for your doctor or therapist. They know your body along with the other factors that may be producing you pain. I would make a quick call to your doctor or therapist and run this question by them if you are concerned David. It would save you a trip and provide you with a quick answer. Best of luck and sorry I could not be more specific.


  8. Rebecca
    2 years ago

    Question for you….I have had spondy for atleast 13 years, probably much longer and am 29 now. I just came to realize what this meant after all these years by randomly stumbling upon this info. I am thankful I have not had more problems than the occasional flare up (which I am just now realizing that the pain Ive had was a “flare up”) I was told I have a break at the Pars interarticularis noted at the L5 indicative of a Grade 1 Spondylolithesis. Also spina bifida occulta at S1! (Im still shocked over this)
    So on to my question….I was told by another spondy that with certain types (congential, par defect, etc) it does NOT matter if you strengthen your core or not. Slippage will happen regardless. This is disheartening to me. Do you have any further info about this? I am just now getting started on my preventative journey and its all so overwhelming. Thank you!


    • SpondyInfo
      2 years ago

      That is great question Rebecca! I asked spondyinfo.com co-creator and board certified physical therapist Todd Bitzer this question and here was his response:

      The change in stability of the vertebrae over time is something that has the potential to affect anyone with a spondy. From what I have seen in the research, further slippage is most likely at young ages — like teen-age years — before the bony growth and development are complete. By the time most individuals are in their mid-20’s, the risk of further instability of the vertebra has drastically reduced.

      However, I do agree that “core strengthening” may not have much of an impact on improving stability of the spine. But my argument here is basically just semantics. Not all core exercises are equal. The types of exercises usually associated with “core strengthening” really only address a PERFORMANCE need, which does little to provide stabilization of the spine from one vertebra to the next. For rehab purposes in those with spondy’s, the initial exercise should address a MOVEMENT CONTROL need.

      For example, HOW your core muscles activate — meaning the specific order in which they become active in relation to other muscles, and how long and how intensely they activate — is essential for proper stabilization of the hips, pelvis, spine, shoulder blades, and shoulders. There are deep muscles that control translations (slides and glides) of a joint by creating tension and these muscles respond to the most sensitive of sensory information. These are the muscles that are theorized to truly provide stability from one vertebral segment to the next (of course structures such as ligaments and joint capsules provide passive stabilization of the spine). These muscles are adapting to the forces around them as you move, allowing slight gliding of the vertebrae. Traditional core strengthening doesn’t directly address these deep muscles, and instead focuses on creating maximal muscle contraction to “brace” the spine. That is all fine and dandy if you are going to need to lift a heavy weight once in a while. But it isn’t natural for your muscles to be braced throughout the day, so specific activities are required to help the body relearn to adapt in low load every day activities. A knowledgeable physical therapist or chiropractor can help you rediscover this function.

      But be aware — the vast majority of exercise discussed in the rehab world unfortunately deals with a performance need, even when prescribed by a physical therapist or chiropractor. It’s my opinion that there are just too many professionals who do NOT address the control of deep muscles. This is why we stress so much for readers to find a rehab professional who utilizes the Selective Functional Movement Assessment (SFMA), since it is our opinion and experience that this person would be more likely to be knowledgeable of utilizing exercise to stimulate reflexive stabilization and control rather than performance-based core exercise.

      So, yes, I believe that using the appropriate exercise to address controlled movement of the spine (and the rest of the core — hips, pelvis, shoulder blades, and shoulders) is effective in stabilizing the spondy. Hopefully when you find the right professional you’ll be a believer in that as well.


  9. Maria
    2 years ago

    Thank you so much for this wonderful website full of great info. I was wondering if poping sounds in the back specially during a flare up has anything to do with instability and/or weaknesses? Thank you


  10. Melissa
    2 years ago

    I went to my chiropractor a few months ago and found out I have spondy of L5 and S1. He said he wouldn’t touch my back for fear of causing more problems. Ended up at the ER a month or so later and was told it was a grade 2. The ER set me up with PT and they started with stretching, massage and TENS treatment. I just read your newsletter re: movement, which took me to this article. I’m on Medicare and BCBS supplemental and I was wondering if Medicare would pay for a movement SFMA? I know I don’t move properly because I can feel it.


    • SpondyInfo
      2 years ago

      Hi Melissa. Thanks for sharing your story and you ask a great question. The answer depends on the professional and the company they run. Some professionals run a clinic that accepts Medicare and BCBS and some simply do not. You have two ways of finding out. 1) Search for a medical professional who is certified in the SFMA and give them a call asking them this specific question. Or 2) Search for clinics who accept Medicare and BCBS and ask them if they perform or know of anyone who performs the SFMA on its patients. I wish there was a faster or more direct way, but this is the only way I know of to find out for sure. Best of luck!


  11. elias
    2 years ago

    A year ago i started feeling numbness in my left foot whenever I walked more than 50 meters. After going to the doctor, he told me to take x rays and a CAT scan. When i went back, he told me I have a spondy grade 2 and a nerve impingement. He told me i needed surgery (fixation with titanium nails, ($18,000). Later, i visited 5 more neurosurgeons and all of them wanted to operate me in the same way. After googling, i found Justin´s page, and i decided not to go through surgery but therapy and exercises. After 7 months, i can say that i am living my normal life, doing sports and swimming and have no more the spondy. This i know because of a second CAT scan. My spondy went from 2 to 0.5. and i didnt have surgery. I can deal with my nerve impingement. Also, after youtubing, i watched tens of people that went through surgery and didnt have good results, the majority of them were complaining of the surgery. And to finish, i watched the surgery in youtube and it was so bloody that…i´d better leave it here.
    Thanks again Justin!!


    • SpondyInfo
      2 years ago

      Awesome stuff Elias!!! Thanks so much for sharing!


  12. Gabby
    1 year ago

    Hello
    I have grade 1-2 spondy and been to 2 surgeons, both agreed my spondy is unstable and need level 2 fusion on L4-S1
    I have PT For 6 weeks with pelvic tilts, bridge and planks but it did not help much
    My biggest issua are numbness in feets and toes, pain is not severe
    I Also had 4 months of acupuncture treatments and it helped a lot on the pain
    However i know i need to strengthen my core to stablize my spine
    I was told by surgeons not to get chiropractic adustments or traction table
    Would you think i am too unstable for chiropractic treatments?
    Also I really like to learn the deep muscle exercises that some spondy patients have done that had helped stablize their spine.
    Do i start by finding a Sfma? Would a SFMA is also a PT?
    Any feedbacks and advices would be appreciated


    • SpondyInfo
      1 year ago

      Hi Gabby. There really is no accurate way I can tell if you are too unstable for chiropractic treatments. If you are not confident in your doctors advice I would recommend either A.) getting another opinion from another doctor or B.) contacting a few chiropractors and discussing the situation with them. Mention to them your situation and get their opinions. You can then use all of this information to make an informed decision on your own.

      I would recommend starting with an SFMA. If I am understanding your comment correctly your last therapy session did not take your entire body into consideration and you just performed some of the standard movements for back pain. Sometimes this will help but often times you have an underlying movement issue that makes performing exercises like these difficult. Compensations occur and back pain can often times increase or not improve at all. An SFMA will take everything into consideration and will help the professional come up with a detailed plan to attack YOUR weaknesses. To be certified in the SFMA you have to have a therapy license, so yes the person administering the SFMA will be a therapist. Use our Spondy Toolbox to help locate a professional near your.

      I hope this helps!


  13. Maureen
    1 year ago

    Think I sent wrongly – sent as reply to email. So resending via comments. Would appreciate your thoughts.
    Sort of stuck here. I was discharged from Rehab because (score) I didn’t improve and Medicare won’t pay if you don’t – which I really don’t think applies here. Here being: Ortho sent me there for them to work up an exercise program for me based on my conditions (below). Once they increased the equipment (Nustep recumbent linear cross trainer) from a 3 to 4, the pain in my hip worsened. After about into 4th week, the therapist finely listened to me. I was walking with a limp. He checked my right leg; found extreme tightness, particularly in the IT band; in fact had knots where it meets the knee. Both legs were affected. He stretched my right leg and did electric stim and heat on my lower back. This was done twice and then I was told I would be discharged after that day. He did do the electric stim and heat.

    I don’t get why I did not get therapy first or with exercises from the get go.

    Ortho sent me because of the spondo. However, I also have osteophytes in my hips, arthritis in all facets in my spine, 2 compression fractures from osteoporosis, mangled feet with loss of cushion (making much standing and walking difficult and painful), cervical stenosis, chronic epicondylitis in both elbows and tenosynovitis in my left wrist. Add fibromyalgia and some days, I could just scream. Trying to keep my house and yard work up is getting harder and harder. I do have someone cut my grass. Tried yesterday to clean up all dead leaves around roses – didn’t do much.

    I will be 83 in December.

    MRI results:
    Old compression fractures of T5 and 12, similar to previous study of 7/18/2014.

    Multilevel generative changes of the lumbar spine, most prominent at L4-5 and L5-S1.

    At L4-5, advanced bilateral facet arthrosis with 4m anterolisthesis [1] of L4 on L5.

    A 4mm synovial cyst at the anteromedial margin of the right facet joint with minimal displacement of the right L4 root (nerve) before its exist through the neural foramen. Mild bilateral recess stenosis[1] without encroachment on the L5 roots. Bulge and annular fissure of the disc.

    At L5-S1, advanced right facet arthrosis with 4mm anterolisthesis of L4 on L5. Bulge and annular fissure of the disc. Small right foraminal disc protrusion without neural displacement or encroachment.

    Mild right convex scoliosis centered at L2. (Additional scoliosis in thoracic spine).

    Chronic lumbar spinous process impingement[1] at L1-2 and L2-


    • SpondyInfo
      1 year ago

      Hi Maureen. Thanks for reaching out. I got your email and I sent you a detailed response, please check your inbox for my answer to your question. Thanks!


  14. Tapsy
    1 year ago

    According to this article, FMS is something one might want to be a little more skeptical about.
    https://www.painscience.com/articles/functional-movement-screen.php


    • SpondyInfo
      1 year ago

      Hi Tapsy.

      I had a great discussion with SpondyInfo.com co-creator Todd Bitzer and owner of Modern Athlete Physical Therapy on this article and he had some great thoughts. I like picking Todd’s brain on topics like this because he is constantly involved in the field and currently runs a therapy clinic and works with tons of patients. Instead of just paraphrasing our conversation Todd sent me an email with his most important thoughts that I thought would be useful for the reader’s:

      I actually like reading a lot of the articles Paul Ingraham posts on PainScience.com — his thought process is more like ours than it is different. I’m a big fan of concepts that he touts such as trigger point dysfunction, altered neurosensory input and its effect on movement quality, and the complexity of pain. He posts a lot about the problem (in the U.S. anyway) of how doctors, therapists, chiropractors and others care for the musculoskeletal system. I agree that more often than not — and this is in my personal experience based on the things I hear, see, and read — musculoskeletal care provided by “mainstream” practitioners isn’t effective.

      So it’s my opinion that there are very few “good” options for receiving good treatment out there. If you’re from a big city, you’ll likely have a few great options for wonderful and effective care getting lost in the crowd of all the “bad” options that just result in wasted time. If you’re in a small town or rural area, then you unfortunately have very little options at all. We want our readers to test out what options they have, and if they have too many options making it difficult to choose then an FMS practitioner may be a good place to start.

      But the FMS is in no way a gold standard for assessment of the body. I like what its founder Gray Cook has said — “as of right now it’s the best we’ve got”. The FMS gets a bad rap more from how “trained” practitioners use it rather than the way its inventors portray it. The FMS is taught to be a tool to alert you to a potential problem. It is a “screen”, not a tool to provide diagnosis. Its results place the participant in a category for “risk” of injury — not stating they will get injured or that they are bullet-proof. If you’re a reader and you’re in significant pain, then there’s no reason to even go through an FMS because you already know what it’s going to tell you — pain is dominating your movement, get pain reduced, then let’s try again. If you’re a reader with occasional pain, then the FMS can bring to your attention that other patterns of movement may need attention even though they don’t seem directly linked to your symptoms. In that manner, the FMS can be very powerful in shifting the mindset of the individual.

      It’s our opinion at SpondyInfo.com that in a large majority of cases the spondy isn’t THE problem. The real problem is the altered movement your body has adopted that has lead to the spondy (and potentially other issues) and symptoms of pain.

      We suggest the FMS simply because we feel that — more often than not — it will provide our readers with a STARTING POINT that will lead to more effective treatment than if they had just picked Random Therapy Incorporated because it was 2 minutes from their home.

      The FMS preaches about patterns of movement vs. simple structure of bones and muscles. That in itself is profound because too many doctors, chiropractors, and therapists out there still approach treatment as a construction project. The “mainstream” approach in rehab is still to make something stronger, or make something longer, and if that doesn’t work inject a medication until that doesn’t work and the “only” option is to cut it out or screw it down.

      Here’s my take using a bad analogy! Hammer’s hammer and screwdrivers screw. Two different tools doing two different things. The “mainstream” view of rehab is that when pain is present or a “pathology” is seen on x-ray/MRI, then the hammer must need some work. They can give it basic strengthening to make the hammer bigger and stronger. They can stretch the hammer to make it longer. They can do surgery on the hammer to adjust its structure.

      However, Justin and I are of the mindset that maybe the problem is that the body is using the hammer to try to screw in a screw! How about we just teach your body to put down the hammer and use the screwdriver and see if that doesn’t fix the pain? That is the theory of thought behind any of the “brands” of treatment we suggest. Let’s just get your body doing more of what it’s designed to do, and less of what it is stressing it out — like using a hammer to do a screwdriver’s job.

      Our commitment is to provide the best opportunity for our readers to find someone to help them that will look at their body and their problem not as a “spondy problem” but as a “movement problem with a history of spondylolisthesis”. Over the past couple of years we’ve suggested FMS and SFMA practitioners because they are the easiest to find and they are more likely to look at your problem the way in which we might. It’s just a place to start.

      We like any practitioner or school of thought that recognizes the complexity of the body, the movement system, and the integration of all the sensory information your brain is addressing behind the scenes without your knowledge! If you are skeptical about FMS or SFMA providers, then may I suggest finding a provider with any of the following certifications or studies: Postural Restoration Institute (PRI), Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization (DNS), NeuroKinetic Therapy, Muscle Activation Techniques, Gray Institute/Applied Functional Science, Neuro Orthopaedic Institute/Explain Pain, Anatomy in Motion/FlowMotion Model, Kinetic Control, trigger point therapy. And I’m probably forgetting some other great ones, too.


  15. Tapsy
    1 year ago

    Another thing to keep in mind is that most people with spondylolisthesis, and I think I read somewhere that the figure is more than 80%, have no symptoms or pain symptoms at all. Which makes you wonder of the people that do, how many of them are having pain that is due to the spondy and not something else, but the spondy is blamed because it is found on xray.

    Here is an interesting article about “structuralism”:

    https://www.painscience.com/articles/structuralism.php


  16. Tapsy
    1 year ago

    Thanks for the great response and the link!


    • SpondyInfo
      1 year ago

      Anytime Tapsy. I hope the info. is helpful.

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