Spondy Knowledge: Understanding How The Body Works Together

Spondylolisthesis Knowledge: Understanding How The Body Works

One of the main reasons I have been able to control my grade 1 spondylolisthesis related pain and flare ups has been the increase of my spondy knowledge.

When I was a teenager and diagnosed with a spondy I quickly found out that the people I was working with (doctors, therapist and chiropractors) were not going to teach me much about this condition.  This may have been because I was diagnosed in the late 90’s when little information was present or perhaps because I was from a very small town with limited resources in the form of therapy,doctors and chiropractors.

But whatever the case I was forced to learn about my spondylolisthesis on my own.

Not long after that I discovered the field of exercise science and was quickly fascinated with the human body and how it worked. The more I learned about the body in combination with what I learned about my spondylolisthesis the better I found myself moving and feeling.

Soon my nights of limited sleep followed by days of needing help out of bed were being replaced with exercise and activities. Not long after that I was also on my way to working with and helping others with this condition as well.

During these past few years I have read several websites, articles, books and attended seminars and clinics that have helped to improve my knowledge about the human body.  One of these books or moments that really opened my eyes and is worth sharing is titled “Anatomy Trains” by Thomas W. Myers.

To most this book would not be their idea of a great read.  It has no mystery, twisting plot, wild characters or shocking ending. But it did change the way I looked at the human body.

Growing up as a kid I was always under the impression that you had a muscle here and a muscle there. Each muscle was separate and performed certain movements. However the book “Anatomy Trains” showed me how the body really works and operates.

The human body is full of fascia that intertwines and connects itself. You have fascia connecting muscles and ligaments in your feet winding all the way up to your shoulders.

It really is an amazing thing.

You may be wondering how this can help your spondylolysis or spondylolisthesis and the answer is simple:

Everything is connected and issues you have may be stemming from somewhere besides where pain is present.

For example…Those tight ankles and the fascia and muscles surrounding them may affect the movement and fascia in the calves and hamstrings which may affect your movement and fascia connecting up towards your hips and spiraling around to your low back.  All of this tight fascia leading up your legs into your hips and low back may be creating some of your tightness. Or worse, it may be causing movement issues leading to an increased amount of stress on the tissues surrounding your spondy.

I know, this sounds like a lot of “may’s” and “might’s” but the possibility is there.

I have seen numerous cases of individuals who suffer from spondy’s who found relief by improving movement, strength, mobility and stability in areas other than the site of pain. Often times areas such as the shoulders, ankles, and hips were focused on and this led to a decrease in spondy pain even though the focus was not directly on the site of the pain.

So remember this. The body works together.

There are no individual parts that are performing solo acts. That old song “The toe bone is connected to the foot bone, the foot bone is connected to the ankle bone” etc. etc. is spot on. Everything is connected.

And when painful problems arise such as a spondylolysis and spondylolisthesis you want to make sure and rule out any movement related issues above or below the site of pain.

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Leave A Reply (2 comments so far)

  1. Sandy Smith
    4 years ago

    Thank you for all the info, it has put my mind more at ease. I have grade 1 spondylolisthesis. Do you think yoga is helpful and what about an eliptical machine. If I do eliptical 3 times a week and yoga 2 times a week, but I am very careful, not too fast or hold poses too long. I have some extra pain but doing a lie down after exercise on the floor with legs up on a chair helps a lot. Will doing these exercises help?

    • Spondy
      4 years ago

      Thank you for the kind words and comments Sandy. I am glad our site has helped you. Personally, I have not tried Yoga, all though it is something I would like to try in the future. My suggestion would be to make sure your teacher is aware of your condition. Yoga can be very beneficial when performed correctly but you have to be cautious of certain positions. Those with spondy’s often have additional movement related issues and achieving certain poses may force you into various compensation patterns.

      The eliptical can be a good way to get some activity without pounding your joints, but it can also put you in a very unorthodox position for long periods of time. Most elipticals force a ton of hip flexion and and odd feet positioning. This can cause certain tightnesses and compensations if used too often. Without applying a mobility/stretching program to help compensate, it may lead to issues down the road (again, depends on the amount of use). Also, keep in mind that these are just thoughts and opinions about these exercises and without knowing how YOU move and what your weaknesses are it is impossible to say if this is a good plan for you.

      Your best plan of attack would be to see a rehab specialist for a personal movement screen to help you determine how you move and what your best plan of attack would be. We have more information on our “spondy toolbox” page on ways to find a rehab professional in your area that can provide a movement screen. I hope this makes sense, thanks again and best of luck!

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