Avoid These Exercises if You Have Spondylolisthesis: In-Depth Guide

Avoid These Exercises if You Have Spondylolisthesis: In-Depth Guide

In today’s health landscape, the problem of Spondylolisthesis is on the rise, reflecting an alarming trend. This condition, characterized by the displacement of one vertebra over another, is becoming increasingly prevalent, signalling a growing concern within the medical community. It can cause discomfort and significant limitations in mobility and lifestyle. 

Exercise is crucial to managing symptoms and improving the quality of life for individuals diagnosed with this condition. However, not all exercises are beneficial; some can exacerbate symptoms and hinder progress. 

At Proremedy Physio in Mississauga, We specialize in physiotherapy services, focusing on personalized care and rehabilitation. Our expert team is dedicated to treating conditions like spondylolisthesis, offering tailored exercise programs that enhance mobility and alleviate pain.

Our services include manual therapy, targeted exercise regimens, and education on safe practices to manage symptoms effectively. You can trust our physical therapists for compassionate, expert care that prioritizes your health and well-being.

Which Exercises Increase Lower Back Stress?

When managing spondylolisthesis, it’s crucial to tailor your exercise regimen to avoid exacerbating symptoms. Here are the top 7 exercises to avoid,

  • Heavy Weightlifting: Lifting heavy objects can strain the lumbar spine and multifidus muscles, risking further displacement of vertebrae.
  • High-Impact Sports: Activities involving sudden impacts or jolts can exacerbate lumbar and radicular pain, affecting daily activities.
  • Double Knee to Chest: This exercise can increase pressure within the spinal canal, aggravating symptoms in lumbar spondylolysis and cervical spondylolisthesis.
  • Toe Touches: Bending to touch your toes can stretch the spinal nerve too much, leading to neurogenic claudication and increased stress on the facet joint.
  • Sit-Ups/Crunches: Full sit-ups or crunches can pull on the belly muscles and push the lumbar spine against the nerve roots, worsening conditions like traumatic spondylolisthesis.
  • Leg Presses: The pressure on the spine when pushing heavy weights can cause segmental-level stress, especially in the cervical spine, leading to severe pain and discomfort.
  • Single Knee to Chest: While less intense than the double knee version, this exercise can still stress the spinal structures, including the facet joints and spinal canal, potentially leading to increased discomfort and impacting the management plan for spondylolisthesis.

Which Exercises can you do in Spondylolisthesis?

While it’s essential to avoid specific exercises, staying active is crucial. Focus on low-impact, spine-friendly activities such as:

  • Pelvic tilts: These are gentle exercises that help strengthen the abdominal muscles and stabilize the spine. First of all, Lie on your back with your knees bent, flatten your back against the floor by tightening your abdominal muscles, and tilt your pelvis slightly.

  • Partial Crunches: Strengthen your core without putting too much pressure on your lower back. To perform the exercise, lie on your back with your knees bent, cross your arms over your chest, or place your hands behind your neck. Contract your stomach muscles and lift your shoulders off the floor. It is recommended to exhale while lifting your shoulders. Lastly, avoid using your elbows or neck to pull yourself up.

  • Hamstring Stretches: Tight hamstrings can exacerbate the symptoms of spondylolisthesis. Firstly, lie on your back, one leg bent and the other straightened. Lift the straightened leg and gently pull it towards you, keeping it straight.

  • Bird-Dog: Start on your hands and knees and extend one leg and the opposite arm simultaneously. This exercise improves balance, strengthens the core, and supports the lower back.

  • Bridging: First, lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Lift your hips towards the ceiling, forming a straight line from your knees to your shoulders. This strengthens the lower back and buttocks.

  • Wall Sits: To properly perform a wall sit, position yourself about 10-12 inches away from the wall and lean back until your back is flat against it. Then, Slide down until your knees are slightly bent, pressing your lower back into the wall.

  • Pilates and Yoga: With modifications and under the guidance of a knowledgeable instructor, these practices can strengthen the core, improve flexibility, and reduce stress on the spine. Focus on low-impact, gentle poses and avoid deep twists or bends.

Conclusion

Managing spondylolisthesis requires a careful approach to exercise, focusing on activities that strengthen and stabilize the spine without exacerbating symptoms. Individuals with spondylolisthesis can maintain an active lifestyle while minimizing discomfort by avoiding high-impact sports, heavy lifting, and exercises that involve excessive flexion, extension, or twisting of the spine. Consult with physical therapists before starting any new exercise regimen is essential to ensure safety and effectiveness.

Physiotherapist Arpan Hundal

Physiotherapist Arpan Hundal

Arpan has been practicing as a physiotherapist since 2010, starting her career in a trauma center in India where she worked with post-traumatic and post-operative cases. She moved to Canada and continued her independent practice, specializing in musculoskeletal, orthopaedic issues, sports injuries, and pelvic health physiotherapy. She has experience dealing with MVA and WSIB clients and has been working in the Mississauga community since 2015.

Physiotherapist Arpan Hundal

Physiotherapist Arpan Hundal

Arpan has been practicing as a physiotherapist since 2010, starting her career in a trauma center in India where she worked with post-traumatic and post-operative cases. She moved to Canada and continued her independent practice, specializing in musculoskeletal, orthopaedic issues, sports injuries, and pelvic health physiotherapy. She has experience dealing with MVA and WSIB clients and has been working in the Mississauga community since 2015.

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