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Exercise and Spondylolisthesis


Spondylolisthesis is a condition, more commonly affecting the lumbar spine, that occurs when one vertebra shifts forward above the vertebrae beneath it, misaligning the natural structure of the spine. A degeneration in the spine is the most common cause for spondylolisthesis. Around the age of 50, normal degeneration starts and if left untreated can lead to many issues. By starting with the appropriate exercises as earliest as possible, your symptoms associated with spondylolisthesis can be avoided.



Physical therapy is one of the many non-surgical treatments for spondylolisthesis. Following up with treatment from a physical therapist, a proper routine of stabilization exercises along with flexion and stretching will strengthen the local lumbar muscles, re-establishing your stability and improving the support the spine needs to help you deal with the condition and its debilitating symptoms.

The “Knees to Chest” stretch is one exercise most often recommended for strengthening and stretching the muscles. On an exercise mat, lie down on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor close to the buttocks. Keeping the thighs together, bring both of the knees towards the chest as close to the chest as possible and hold the position for a second by wrapping your arms around the knee. Repeating the movement at least 10 times will stretch your body.


Attempting additional exercises and yoga stretches together with physical therapy will best benefit your symptoms relating to spondylolisthesis and they are a good way to cope with your condition until the pain dimishes. It’s best advised to consult your expert physician before starting any exercise regimen for any painful conditions. 

By Dr. Alex Jimenez

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