Spondylolisthesis And Low Back Exercises

spondylolisthesis low back exercise

Whether you have spondylolisthesis, spondylolysis, back spasms or the all too common back ache, having back pain can be frustrating and stressful.

This pain often leads to desperate actions in an attempt to relieve the pain.

One of the most common misconceptions about back pain is the thought that the pain is caused by a weak back.

This misconception often leads to multiple trips to the gym and a hail-mary approach at exercises designed to strengthen the back.

Exercises traditionally thought to strengthen the back and surrounding areas such as back extensions, crunches, back bends, and various other movements shouldn’t be attempted until you achieve proper movement and exercise technique.

Most people who suffer from back pain perform these exercises with poor mechanics and end up making the pain worse.

One thing many fail to realize is that if you have low back pain you should perform exercises to PROTECT the low back…….not strengthen the low back.

Give the low back a much needed break and perform exercises to strengthen the support system of the low back, especially if you suffer from a spondylolisthesis or spondylolysis.

The back is often blamed for things it should be rewarded for. When you play sports, sit at work, exercise with friends or just go for a long walk you are using muscles, tendons and ligaments to accomplish all of these movements.

The hips, core, hamstrings, quads and most importantly glutes are working together like the gears of a finely tuned machine.  When one of these gears becomes tight, weak, or stops working on all cylinders, the back usually steps up to help out.  And for some, not long after that the back gets tired, stressed and overworked.

The result is inflammation, tightness and discomfort.

Going straight to the gym and performing exercises designed to put stress directly on the back simply leads to added stress on an overworked area.

Instead you should focus on strengthening and stretching the support system of the back.  Give the gears of your machine the stretching and fine tuning they need to stay strong so they can continue to work correctly. This will help you to increase your chances of avoiding back pain all together.  Instead of blaming the back, give it a thank you and some relief by focusing on the following.

  • stretching the quads and hip flexors
  • strengthening the glutes
  • strengthening the core using nuetral spine exercises
  • stretching the various muscles of the hips especially the internal and external rotators
  • stretch and improve the mobility of your thoracic spine (upper to mid-back)

There are multiple ways to go about stretching and strengthening these areas. In SpondyInfo.com’s Home Exercise Program we provide the reader with step-by-step progressive exercises, stretches and movements to strengthen the entire body and assist the back with the daily rigors and stressors that it faces. You can learn more about this one of a kind spondy specific home exercise program by clicking HERE.

As always, leave a comment to let us know what has worked for you. Your tips may just help another spondylolisthesis sufferer.

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Leave A Reply (12 comments so far)


  1. Lindy Swimm
    2 years ago

    Wondering if the bridge posed in the picture is good or bad??


    • SpondyInfo
      2 years ago

      Hi Lindy.

      In general, when done correctly, this exercise helps to engage core and glute muscle activity for both stability and strength. For many, this is a very helpful exercise as these are common areas of weakness. Thanks for the question.


  2. Antionette
    2 years ago

    Looking forward to these stretches. Nice read and makes sense. I always have pressure in my lower back


    • SpondyInfo
      2 years ago

      Thanks Antoinette!


  3. Norma
    2 years ago

    I was told by a therapist not to do the bridge exercise if I have spondyolistesis. She said to lay on my back and tilt my pelvic and press my back into the floor and hold for 30 seconds. I did that four times night and morning. It felt much better. The bridge was hurting my back.


    • SpondyInfo
      2 years ago

      Thanks for sharing Norma. Every exercise is not meant for everybody. And the bridge exercise you mention can very easily be performed incorrectly. It sounds like your therapist was on top of things by helping you by focusing on your pelvic region and providing you with an exercise that focused on your weaknesses. Keep progressing and best of luck!


  4. Dianne
    2 years ago

    I found the bridging most helpful. If I am having a painful and wriggly night sleep I often do the bridging exercise a few times while in bed and my muscles settle down again. I have also taken up Tai-chi and am finding this is very gentle and working on many different aspects like strengthening and also balance which my condition has upset, I can free stand at times while doing some of the exercises, where as at other times when I am feeling a little sore I have to lean on the kitchen bench for support just to stand up!


    • SpondyInfo
      2 years ago

      Thanks for sharing your tips Dianne! One thing that is very important with the bridge is technique. It is very easy to perform incorrectly (some people want to use the low back to help bridge and not the glutes), but it sounds like you have the technique down and are having nice results!


  5. Brenda Parish
    1 year ago

    Hi Justin

    As you might remember I have other problems with my back, which are being addressed ( I am not sure I want to go ahead with this) I am convinced that the pain and tightness which has increased over the past four weeks, as I have tried to increased my walking. The pain and stiffness has increased. I have been told I should strengthen my core.
    I have always exercised but the home exercise program seems to be what I am in need of

    As I live in the U.K. I am not sure how to go about paying for the book. Hope you can help

    Brenda


    • SpondyInfo
      1 year ago

      Hi Brenda. I am not sure I fully understand your comment, but it sounds like you are having increased pain and discomfort with your current rehabilitation work? If that is the case you need to discuss your current state of pain with your therapist or who ever is working with you. Make sure they understand that the pain is progressively getting worse. If you still see or feel no improvement, it may be time to search for an alternative option. Unfortunately, this does happen and it is within your right to search for alternative options. As far as our home exercise program goes, you should be able to order the program even though you are in the U.K. If I misunderstand your comment or you would like additional feedback, just let me know…Thanks!


  6. Barbara
    4 weeks ago

    This makes so much sense!!! Its what my body is looking for but I couldn’t put into words. Thank you!


    • SpondyInfo
      4 weeks ago

      No problem Barbara! Thanks for posting!

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