Simple Solutions To Sitting Less And Helping Your Spondylolisthesis

spondylolisthesis solutions

By now you probably know that excessive sitting can place a real toll on your spondylolisthesis, spondylolysis and overall health.

In our last post we discussed all the negative effects sitting has on your overall health in addition to your spondylolisthesis or spondylolysis.

But what if you have a job that requires sitting all day behind a desk?

How do you possibly break up all of those hours when you have deadlines to meet, projects to finish and goals to achieve?

I recently stumbled across a great article that listed a few creative ways to reduce the amount of time you stay seated during the day.  This article comes from the website and lists 6 tips to move more and improve health.

For those with either a spondylolisthesis or spondylolysis sitting plays a major game of “tighten this” and “weaken that” with your body.  This can lead to imbalances, compensations and poor nueromuscular timing issues. All of which lead to more spondylolisthesis or spondylolysis pain.

I personally try to stay as active as possible and avoid long periods behind a desk, in front of the tv or in the car. But sometimes you have to work, sit or travel for extended periods of time.

Besides following a few of the tips in the article mentioned above, I add timed breaks when I am spending time behind the computer or traveling in the car and work on a few stretches to help compensate all of the sitting.

Below is my personal 3 step approach to combating excessive sitting.

1. Set a timer and get up periodically.

This obviously depends on the individually, the work conditions, and the situation, but I like to use websites that offer free timers to set a countdown clock.

I like to use this online-stopwatch site.

I simply set the timer to 20 minutes and hit start. The time is then shown counting down and is visible on the tab when my browser is open. You can turn your sound up a little and set it to make noise when the time hits zero. There are multiple options with this site which is why I like it.  Plus, its super easy to use and it’s free!

Now we could sit here and go back an forth on the time that should be set, but I believe it honestly depends on the individual. I like 20 minutes because it gives me ample time to get in the “work” zone and complete a few blog articles, etc.  It also gets me up 3 times during an hour which I feel really combats the sitting and keeps me fresh mentally as well.

2. Stretch the hips.

One of my big problems is tight hips (a real general statement). Unfortunately, sitting makes this issue worse so I try to combat it all I can. When I do spend extended time behind a computer and I break every 20 minutes this is one of the two areas I focus on .

My breaks are not very long (3 min max) This includes getting a drink of water, walking for a bit, changing what I look at,  etc.  Within these 3 breaks an hour I stretch for at least 2 of them (all 3 if my spondylolisthesis is acting up).

I try to perform stretches that accomplish not just the targeted area, but others as well. No sitting down and focusing on one area. I want big bang for my buck.

Here is the first stretch I perform with the targeted area being the anterior hips/quad region.

Spondylolisthesis hip stretch start

Correct starting position

Correct Starting Position

  • The down leg is straight through the hip
  • Notice the elevated surface for the front leg. This does not need to be accomplished, but it does make the stretch easier and more intense. However use caution and BE CAREFUL. We suggest holding onto something for extra safety!
  • The spine is straight with NO BACKWARDS LEANING/BENDING!
  • The same arm as the down leg (left arm in this picture) can be overhead for an even greater stretch…..but don’t lean back.
Spondylolisthesis hip stretch finish

Correct finishing position

Correct Finishing Position

  • The down leg moves into extension (you may feel the body “leaning foward”)
  • The spine remains straight
  • The arm overhead will create an additional stretch

I perform this simple stretch for a few seconds at a time until I feel my hips loosen. This can be different for everybody so play with it and do what feels best. Of course, if it hurts or you feel you are doing it wrong…….don’t do it!

3. Stretch the lats.

This is another personal favorite as the “hunched” over position your body naturally succombs to during sitting creates excessive tension on the upper and mid back.  The lat muscle is one of the larger muscles you have in the back and you will often feel relief from stretching it.  However, it must be stretched correctly!

Spondylolisthesis stretch

Correct starting position

Correct Starting Position

  • Its hard to tell in this photo (sorry!), but I am holding onto the rail of a treadmill. Any door knob, railing, etc will work.
  • Keep the back as straight as possible and avoid hyperextension.
  • You should feel the weight in the upper half of your body, not on your heels.
Spondylolisthesis stretch

Correct finishing position

Correct Finishing Position

  • While you continue to hold on to the object, place the leg of that arm that is holding on back without sacrificing your back position.
  • Your weight then shifts back and you are trying to stick your butt back (this helps to shift the weight) .

Again, I am tight here so I feel a tremendous stretch. Others may not due to good mobility or flexibility in their thoracic spine or upper and mid back area.

I also perform this stretch for a few reps and then get back to the computer or seated position.

There you have it!

A link to a good article with 6 ways to combat prolonged sitting along with my own personal 3 step approach.

Basically it comes down to staying focused, staying dedicated to improving your problems, and finding your troubled areas and working on them CONSISTENTLY.

Hopefully these tips help you out in your battle against the dreaded seated position……I would love to hear what you do to combat the long days behind a computer desk or just sitting in general. Place your comments below to chime in.

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Leave A Reply (6 comments so far)

    8 months ago

    What do you do when driving and you can’t stop?

    • SpondyInfo
      8 months ago

      Hi Carl. I really do not think there is much you can safely do in the moment. Altering your position is one option, but again safety is always an issue when driving and I really do not think this will help too much. The best compensation or approach to take if you do have to travel multiple miles or sit for extended periods of time is to increase the amount of movement in the form of stretching and exercise both before and after the sitting period. The more you can focus on your specific weaknesses, the better.

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