How To Find The Right Spondylolisthesis Exercise For You (Video)

How To Find The Best Spondylolisthesis Exercise For You

As our spondylolisthesis website continues to grow we are starting to see an increase in email questions. And don’t get me wrong this is a great thing!

We often receive the same question multiple times and we wanted to start answering some of these specific spondylolisthesis questions in a blog format so others can learn from them.

Without a doubt, the most popular email question we receive in regards to spondylolisthesis exercise or exercises are readers wanting to know if certain movements, activities, or more specifically, certain spondylolisthesis exercises are safe for them.

For example, we receive questions like the ones below on a weekly basis:

“I have a grade 1 spondylolisthesis, is it safe for me to do squats?”


“I have a spondylolysis along with some leg pain, is it beneficial to do crunches to strengthen my core?”


“I go to the gym often and have a strong mid-section, however when I do ab exercises it hurts my back. Is it safe to do sit-ups to strengthen my core?”

or the most common question:

“What is the best exercise to do to help my spondylolisthesis?”

Before I go any further with this article keep in mind that we ALWAYS suggest and recommend you get evaluated by a medical professional FIRST. There is nothing that can replace getting evaluated by a doctor. If you have not been diagnosed or evaluated please do so FIRST.  This article is intended for those who have been evaluated by a medical professional and have been cleared to perform therapy or participate in physical activitiy.

Also keep in mind we are not doctors and the answers to our questions may contain further questions. There are certain questions that we simply cannot answer due to the fact we cannot physically see or screen you and we are not doctors.

But we will always respond to your emails. So keep the questions coming!

With that being said, if you have wondered what the best or right spondylolisthesis exercise is for you keep in mind the answer is much more complicated than you may think.  In the video below we will discuss 3 questions that may help you answer  this spondylolisthesis exercise question that has been alluding you for all these years.

Watch the video below for more information……

So to recap remember the following:

  • To find the right spondylolisthesis exercise you need to understand why there is no “universal” spondylolithesis or spondylolysis exercise.
  • You need to find an exercise that addresses your personal needs and improves upon your weaknesses or movement restrictions.
  • You need to make sure you perform the spondylolisthesis exercise safely. Any exercise performed incorrectly can be dangerous or ineffective.

Once you understand these three simple points and you want to find the exercise or stretch that may help your spondylolisthesis or spondylolysis you need to answer these 3 questions.

1. What is your background?

2. Have you had a screen?

  • Know the difference between a screen and an evaluation.
  • Perhaps you have an underlying movement issue that may affect your spondy?
  • Screen can point you on an area to focus/work on.

3. Is the exercise/stretch or movement safe to do on your own?

  • Do you know how to correctly do the movement?
  • Is your technique perfect?
  • Doing exercise/stretching incorrectly can make things worse.

Now you might be thinking, “this did not answer my question!” It only made me ask myself a few questions.

You can simply chalk up that frustration to mysteries of the spondylolisthesis or spondylolysis. Every case can be so unique there really is no universal answer to simple questions when it comes to this condition. Once you can understand that, you can begin making strides to moving and feeling better!

We would love to hear your thoughts on this article. Simply comment below to let us know how you feel or if you have any questions.

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Leave A Reply (10 comments so far)

  1. Christine
    4 years ago

    Hi, I’m in New York close to NYC. My Spondelolysthesis, inactive for years, was reagravated by a chemical exposure and subsequent digestive issues, and the physical stress that came along with traveling while I was sick, etc.

    Im not sure how that aggravated it, but it did.

    Could you please reccomend a knowledgable physiotherapist to perform a screening for me here and work with me here? I need to return to work badly.



    • Spondy
      4 years ago

      Hi Christine.

      Thanks for finding the site and I am sorry to hear about your setback. Off the top of my head I do not personally know of any therapists in the NYC area. I suggest using our “Spondy Toolbox” page located on this site to review the various screens and certifications that we have found to be very effective in locating areas of assymetries, weakness, tightness etc. that may be feeding your spondy. Personally, I love the FMS screen and would recommend searching for therapists in your area that have this certification and use this screen as a starting point. Simply click on the link we provide and you will be taken to the FMS page where you can locate a therapist near you who has this certification. I would look for a therapist who is certified in both the FMS and SFMA. Hopefully this helps and best of luck!

  2. Christine
    4 years ago

    Hi, the only therapists I could find with this certification are far away from where I’m currently staying. What can I do? Will I just have to accept and pay for worse treatment for my spondy? My job depends on this. I found a rehabilitation center close to where I’m staying, its Northeast Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. I would have to drive an hour and a half to find anyone from your site.

    • Spondy
      4 years ago

      Hi Christine. Remember, our site is simply to help people understand and learn about their condition and we do not employ individuals across the country. The certifications I mentioned are various testing methods to help determine possible movement related issues that may be aiding in your spondy pain. Just because a therapist has one or all of these certifications does not mean you will be getting the best therapy. It simply means they have taken similar courses that have a philisophical approach that we have had success with. And just because a therapist does not have these certifications does not necessarily mean you are settling and accepting “worse treatment”. There are great therapist out there that probably have none of these certs. and it is possible to find relief by using them. I took a brief look at the FMS website and found several individuals with this certification in New York City. I am not for sure of your exact location, but you said you were close to NYC. One suggestion is to call someone with the FMS certification and ask them if they know or suggest any local therapist that use the FMS or other movement related screening methods. This may get you on the right track. Best of luck!

  3. Kathy
    4 years ago

    Hello. I was diagnosed with Spondelolysthesis about 11 ago. I suspect I’ve had it since birth as I found I had difficulties with some of the things we had to do in P.E at school and was told that I might have lumbago when I was younger as at times I was in such pain. Before the diagnosis, (from an MRI scan) I had all sorts of treatment for my back pain including cold lasers. acupuncture, weights, chiropractic treatment, personal training, physio, something that was rolled down the spine which was supposed to even out the spine. A lot of this treatment made me feel worse!

    I have always had a stiffness in my spine and ever since I was young, I’ve not been able to lie flat as I have a very pronounced lumbar spine curve. For years I’ve struggled walking up slopes. I’ve also been diagnosed with osteoporosis.

    It’s not a severe disc slip, but it causes me a lot of pain. I am never free from back pain and I find it so hard to sit for any length of time and feel the need to move around. But my movements are limited.

    I so much want to be able to be able to lose some weight and strengthen the core and feel more mobile and flexible as I’m sure that would really help my back.

    Do you have any advice?

    Many thanks,

    • Spondy
      4 years ago

      Hi Kathy,

      It sounds like you have quite a bit going on with your back. Providing you with any specific exercise or stretch would not be beneficial for you an anyway without knowing how you move, bend and function as an individual. It sounds like you have taken the big first step and visited a doctor and a proper diagnosis so your next step is finding a therapist that fits your needs.

      With that being said I would highly suggest you seek out someone in your area that is certified in the FMS or SFMA screening methods. We provide links to the websites of these certifications on our spondy toolbox page on this website. Once there read about them and click on them to visit their site and search for a certified individual in your area. Look for a therapist who has one or both of these certs. and not just a personal trainer. If you cannot find a therapist close, call whoever is certified in your area and simply ask them if they have any therapist that they would recommend that have similar philosiphies as them and the screening methods they use.

      This may lead you to a path of successful therapy.

      Remember, not all therapy is the same. Some is TOTALLY different and not in a good way. I went through several therapy prescriptions before I finally was given some great info, treatment and ultimately a path to freedom from pain. So just because you have been to therapy before and it caused more pain, does not mean the next therapy clinic will be the same. Trust me, I know how frustrating it can be, but looking for a therapist or clinic that looks at total body movement can really make a difference.

      Hopefully that helps and best of luck in your recovery! Please stay in touch and let us know about your progress.

  4. Alicia
    3 years ago

    I was recently told I had Spondylolisthesis after a car accident that seems to have caused my spine to become inflamed. So, I’m in the middle of the waiting game with the Insurance companies and the doctor trying to get my inflammation down before he will send me to physical therapy. But I am finding it nearly impossible to sit down more than 15 minutes also the pain is just a little improved with exercise, but I am afraid of making it worse. However, it is summer and the pool feels great! Are there strengthening/aerobic exercises you can recommend for doing in a low impact setting like the pool while I am in this limbo (and for others who may be in similar situations)?

    • Spondy
      3 years ago

      Hi Alicia. Sorry to hear about your accident. To be honest, it is risky for me to provide you with any kind of specific exercises to perform without knowing anything about your personal movement related issues (tightness’s, weaknesses, etc.). On top of that the car accident makes things even more complicated due to the additional issues that may be lingering from the accident. The best piece of advice I can give you at this time is to continue to do what provides relief until you can see a professional to further evaluate your exact situation. I agree with you, the pool is a great tool for low impact exercise that can provide some relief from the pain. Just yesterday I went for a swim and performed some basic static stretching while in the pool as part of my workout. I really wish I could help you out, but due to the accident the risk of me providing you with some random exercises out weighs the benefits without knowing anything about you physically. Here are some inflammation tips that may help you in the meantime:

      There are some things you should keep in mind once you begin your rehabilitation. Stay in touch and let me know once you find your therapist (or start your search) and I would love to provide you with some more guidance then. Until then, stay positive and best of luck!

  5. Andrew Marks
    3 years ago

    Hey, good to see that spondy got a mention on the Sopranos, made my day (little things). 🙂

    • Spondy
      3 years ago

      Very nice!

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